A Dose of Disenchantment
June 24, 2009
A note to all of us:
You knew it couldn’t last. You always knew, right?
Whenever we get our hopes up beyond what is realistic, we set ourselves up for a fall. Nonetheless, it is human nature to get “enchanted” – to think that something or someone is going to help us transcend the flawed and crooked, and reach new heights.
Now that the bloom is off the rose, and greater awareness has brought more undesirable elements (and attitudes) into social media, it’s easy to feel a sense of disenchantment. What happened to our nice little club? Weren’t we latching onto something that would “change everything”? (actually, social networking is changing a lot of things! -just not human nature…)
Whether it’s a significant other who turned you head over heels at first, then turned out to be a heel later, or elected officials who promise the world but won’t keep their word, the reality of our human condition inevitably leaves the taste of disappointment in our mouths.
I’m going to say that that’s a good thing. Not that we are so messed up and selfish that we often seem to have a reverse-Midas-touch, but that we face reality. I’ve run this track long enough to conclude that there are no earthly panaceas. Or if there are, they are immensely well-hidden!
However I, like many of us, remain an idealist. I aspire to higher and better. Yet I’m forced to be a realist as well. Disenchantment (with ourselves and others) is a fact of life. It can drive us down, but it should drive us forward.
Disenchantment means that you haven’t lost your ideals. It means that you want something better. The key is to embrace the discomfort of reality while still pushing ahead. It’s not easy. But let’s allow our temporary infatuations with nirvana to pass without becoming cynical or defeated by the doses of disenchantment. When we no longer have the capacity to be disappointed, we’re truly in bad shape.
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