Just as we are inclined to watch the beauty of ripples catching sunlight dancing across the ponds surface as opposed to that which created the ripples, it appears that humanity finds it much easier to explore the mistakes of others rather than the mistakes of oneself. Why are we so afraid of exploring the self? “Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth” as Jung stated. As we grow, we perfect the art of adaptation, adaption being a natural function of the human mind in our quest to find balance… equilibrium. Perfecting the art of change, now that is a higher function which requires self-exploration and self-regulation. Vygotsky believed the goal of development is to make the transition from being other-regulated to becoming self-regulated and it would seem that we are orientated towards this existing individuality when, in profound reflection, we note denied reality always finds its way back to us.
A Poem by Iman Mersal
One day I will pass in front of the house
that was mine for years
and try not to measure how far it is from my friends’ homes.
The plump widow whose cries for love woke me
is no longer my neighbor.
I will invent things so not to get confused.
Count my steps,
or bite my lower lip delighting in the slight pain,
or keep my fingers busy with tearing a whole packet
of paper tissues.
I will not try short cuts
to avoid the pain.
I will not stop myself from loitering
as I train my teeth to chew on hate
that leaps from within.
And to forgive
the cold hands that pushed me toward it,
I will remember
that I did not smudge the bathroom’s whiteness
with my own darkness.
No doubt, things elude me.
The wall itself did not enter my dreams.
I did not imagine a color of paint
to match the scene’s tragic lighting.
This house was my home for years.
It wasn’t a student hostel
where I would leave an evening gown
on a nail behind the door
or paste old pictures with temporary glue.
The romantic sentences
I extracted from Love in the Time of Cholera
must be jumbled up now
making an altogether comic text.
Translated by: Khaled Mattawa
I suppose therefore that all things I see are illusions; I believe that nothing has ever existed of everything my lying memory tells me. I think I have no senses. I believe that body, shape, extension, motion, location are functions. What is there then that can be taken as true? Perhaps only this one thing, that nothing at all is certain. ― René Descartes
Now, the Star-Bell Sneetches had bellies with stars.
The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars.
Those stars weren’t so big. They were really so small.
You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.
But, because they had stars, all the Star-Belly Sneetches
Would brag, “We’re the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.”
With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort
“We’ll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!”
And, whenever they met some, when they were out walking,
They’d hike right on past them without even talking.
When the Star-Belly children went out to play ball,
Could a Plain Belly get in the game? Not at all.
You only could play if your bellies had stars
And the Plain-Belly children had none upon thars.
When the Star Belly Sneetches had frankfurter roasts
Or picnics or parties or marshmallow toasts,
They never invited the Plain-Belly Sneetches
They left them out cold, in the dark of the beaches.
They kept them away. Never let them come near.
And that’s how they treated them year after year.
Then ONE day, it seems while the Plain-Belly Sneetches
Were moping and doping alone on the beaches,
Just sitting there wishing their bellies had stars,
A stranger zipped up in the strangest of cars!
“My friends”, he announced in a voice clear and clean,
“My name is Sylvester McMonkey McBean.
And I’ve heard of Your troubles. I’ve heard you’re unhappy.
But I can fix that, I’m the Fix-It-Up Chappie.
I’ve come here to help you.
I have what you need.
And my prices are low. And I work with great speed.
And my work is one hundred per cent guaranteed!”
Then, quickly, Sylvester McMonkey McBean
Put together a very peculiar machine.
And he said, “You want stars like a Star-Belly Sneetch?
My friends, you can have them for three dollars each!”
“Just pay me your money and hop right aboard!”
So they clambered inside. Then the big machine roared.
And it klonked. And it bonked. And it jerked. And it berked.
And it bopped them about. But the thing really worked!
When the Plain-Belly Sneetches popped out, they had stars!
They actually did. They had stars upon thars!
Then they yelled at the ones who had stars at the start,
“We’re still the best Sneetches and they are the worst.
But now, how in the world will we know”, they all frowned,
“If which kind is what, or the other way round?”
Then up came McBean with a very sly wink.
And he said, “Things are not quite as bad as you think.
So you don’t know who’s who. That is perfectly true.
But come with me, friends. Do you know what I’ll do?
I’ll make you, again, the best Sneetches on the beaches.
And all it will cost you is ten dollars eaches.”
“Belly stars are no longer in style”, said McBean.
“What you need is a trip through my Star-Off Machine.
This wondrous contraption will take OFF your stars
so you won’t look like Sneetches that have them on thars.”
And that handy machine working very precisely
Removed all the stars from their tummies quite nicely.
Then, with snoots in the air, they paraded about.
And they opened their beaks and they let out a shout,
“We know who is who! Now there Isn’t a doubt.
The best kind of Sneetches are Sneetches without!”
Then, of course, those with stars got all frightfully mad.
To be wearing a star was frightfully bad.
Then, of course, old Sylvester McMonkey McBean
invited THEM into his Star-Off Machine.
Then, of course from THEN on, as you probably guess,
Things really got into a horrible mess.
All the rest of that day, on those wild screaming beaches,
The Fix-It-Up Chappie kept fixing up Sneetches.
Off again! On again! In again! Out again!
Through the machines they raced round and about again,
Changing their stars every minute or two. They kept paying money.
They kept running through until the Plain nor the Star-Bellies knew
Whether this one was that one or that one was this one. Or which one
Was what one or what one was who.
Then, when every last cent of their money was spent,
The Fix-It-Up Chappie packed up. And he went.
And he laughed as he drove In his car up the beach,
“They never will learn. No. You can’t Teach a Sneetch!”
But McBean was quite wrong. I’m quite happy to say.
That the Sneetches got really quite smart on that day.
The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches.
And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.
That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars and whether
They had one, or not, upon thars.