The Burden of an Idea

swatted mosquito

An idea can be a funny thing: it alights on a leaf of our consciousness long enough for us to comprehend it and appreciate it before it flies off. After that it can remain bright, backlighting our thoughts like the best kind of ideology; it can flash from time to time, a useful but periodically accessed vector of our imagination; or it can disappear into the unconsciousness, a forgotten glimmer now with only an invisible trail of light. An idea can be like that, and I prefer those ideas, but it can also land on us, too close for comfort, erratic in its presence: it buzzes and whines in our mind one moment, but it is silent and then, by its silence, conspicuously absent in the next moment. It leaves us itchy, distracted, because it won’t seem to leave us completely. It isn’t so much good or bad, but it is incompletely realized which leads to us completely losing our minds over it. It is an idea that we keep swatting at, hopefully to kill it, but instead we only end up slapping ourselves (and in some cases, others too). This idea carries the ostensible burden of letting it be, even though it may seem impossibly unbearable to do so. The letting it be is a difficulty when we want the idea realized more and more fervently. We become like the idea itself, and what is swatted is ourselves, lost on a leaf in the shade of other leaves. It seems inevitable that we should crush ourselves, and so it is, but don’t let it bug you: eventually the burden rises up and off us; eventually it flies away.

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