I’ve been searching around for a little while, trying to remember a name that impressed me a lot, back in school while reviewing Greek mythology. After a few questions and google attempts I finally found the man: Tantalus.
According to the legend, Tantalus was a King that was once invited to Olympus, the place of the gods. Apparently he stole some Ambrosia, the food of the deities and source of immortality, not even for himself, but for his people. As a punishment, the Gods sentenced him to stand forever in a pool of water beneath a tree with low branches full of delicious fruit. However, whenever he tried to reach for them, the branches raised the fruit from his grasp. And, though he was immersed up to his neck in water, when he bent to drink, it all drained away. And worst, he wouldn’t die either.
Tantalus, Willi Glasauer, 1864
Pretty torture, huh? Greeks must have thought of this as a special punishment for a special situation, but the way I think of it, average humans have much to relate to this. Lets accept it, humans are completely tantalized (oh I love this word now, real or not). We have the world in front of us, and the brains to admire it, but not the ability to get satisfaction from it. We might get the fruit sometimes, but not the water, or vice versa, or nothing at all. And I can assure you if we had both the fruit and the water, we’d still look for the ambrosia. It’s endless, and it’s not a flaw, it’s part of our design! We evolved into our own torture. At least I think I did.
Thought this could end with lots of optimistical thoughts, encouraging words of how “that’s what makes life worth it” and “the world is beautiful” and songs and poems, I’m sorry to inform that I failed the motivational talk course, and I’d rather stick to the part that really sucks about the whole thing. Maybe I’m just that pessimist, that half-empty-glass-of-water person. I don’t really want to give it more thoughts or try to go the bright side anymore. After being through three different shrinks, pharmacological treatments, guilt, shame, phobias, obsessions, and total insanity, I guess all I can do is keep trying to tell my brain to stop being fucked up and just accept that there are many simple things I won’t be able to have as much as I’d like to. I don’t even know how to feel about this now. Tantalized I guess.