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Paradise of Madness

Sylvia Shawcross

Photo by Alex Turcu on Unsplash

It is said that the mad do not know they are mad. They live with a certainty of everything. They never doubt. They shuffle through common knowledge until they pick out their stance as if it were a pearl inside a sea-stained shell, neither understanding the thing that made that pearl nor that there are many shells with many pearls.

And so it is these days, a pearl-hunter’s paradise of madness.

And all the madness finds no solution. Scratching a way at the edge of the sea and watching the silk tide running through the sand. One day the sand is silk and other days gravel and it all depends on the colour of the tide and the boots worn that day.

The mad always wear the same boots.

Having found their narrative they live there despite the ocean threatening and the flotsam and jetsam that batters at their door. They do not see nor hear the ocean, just the narrative they live in. If they are lucky they picked a happy one. If they are unlucky they find themselves in an angry one, or a sad one, or a fearful one. Or most awful of all, the narrative of hate.

Even their madness cannot protect them there.

We are living in a world breaking from the weight of its own suppositions. It argues out its future in its vast forgetting of the past until it has no here and now. The present is simply a place to dream or a thing to be dismantled. It is certainly not a place to be for many—the ones who suffer.

Yet hope and dreams are born of suffering, not of vanity. To build a better world. And yet it is vanity that is now shaping our world. Vanity that goes hand in hand with greed like a skeleton dance macabre. It was ever thus. If memory mattered.

History does not recognize the contrived compassion of the wealthy so much as the true anguish of the impoverished. It is that which changes the course of history. If history mattered.

It was never the construction and plotting of a privileged class where the pearls were laid. They were simply the ones who created the bits of grit that made the pearls. And it was always the pearls that mattered, not the rough ugly shell that is quickly discarded. These do not stay for long.

They are making many beaches full of grit at the moment. Do they know this? Surely they do.

Suffice for them to understand, there are many pearls now in the making. They have made it so. They don’t understand this because they are wearing the same boots they always have.

That boot that stomps. It always has. It always does. It always will perhaps.

Perhaps they who now construct the future should be thanked after all. Without them, there would be no pearls.

For whom then, do we save this world?

Syl Shawcross lives in the province of Quebec, Canada.

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