After I wrote Eleutheran Magic I did not immediately post it. Instead, I sent it to Freddie and a very few other people including my nephew Will, who just turned 17. What follows is Will’s response to me. I find it beautiful and touching and a great commentary on life in general and Eleuthera in particular. Reprinted here with Will’s permission.
Will’s View of Eleuthera
Your “Eleutheran Magic” piece is truly beautiful. Okay, I know I could have tried for thousands of years and probably not come up with a more cliche way to put it, but in this case, “truly beautiful” means “truly beautiful”.
It is beautiful as a classic love story, like the movies where a million crazy coincidences all happen at once and two people fall in love and you’re left at the end going “ah, only in Hollywood.” Hollywood and Eleuthera, I suppose.
But the piece is also beautiful on a deeper level, as a commentary on human relationships in general. Over the past few weeks or so, I have been struggling ideologically with the feasibility of love and harmony among the human race. More specifically, though I would never have thought to put it in these terms, I have been asking myself whether human beings are truly capable of absolute awareness, openness and love.
After all, the society we live in today, what with its flashy billboards and fast cars and neon signs that pull you in 3000 different directions at once, hardly fosters or rewards the three aforementioned qualities. The age of instant gratification has created a people who refuse to wait, and therefore, to borrow another cliche, see life as a destination rather than a journey. We know where we are going, but we have been desensitized to–indeed, are unaware of–the beauty that exists on the path we are taking to get there. We have become so hell-bent on fulfilling an endless schedule that we have lost our ability and our desire to communicate, to listen, and to understand. We simply do not have time.
So rather than coexist, we choose to craft our own distinct illusions or “filters” through which we view the world. Looking through our own unique prisms of personal experience, we see an action and decide on a perfectly rational reaction. Problem is, through your neighbor’s prism, your rational reaction appears decidedly incoherent. Unwilling to see the world through your “prism”, your neighbor simply passes judgement and continues blindly along his own narrow road, determined to convince himself that his prism of view is the one true prism of view.
Ergo, we cannot practice openness because we are constantly judging others and are constantly in fear of being judged ourselves. Our confidence in ourselves is weak because we are hardly ourselves at all but saturated, truncated versions of ourselves, percolated by the trappings of a society that champions uniformity. And yet, we are so desperate to cling to our waterlogged scraps of individuality that we begin to use our delicate prisms as impenetrable walls, viciously defending our crumbling fortresses because deep down we know they are nothing more than castles of sand, only as strong as the next wave that crashes ashore. We fear openness because openness equates to vulnerability and challenge, and challenge often leads to the destruction of our precious prisms. So we buffet ourselves with billboards and retreat to our routines, more comfortable in the lies of society than in the undeniable truths our hearts cannot escape.
The tiny island of Eleuthera is an escape from these comfortable lies, a direct defiance of the endless American gimmick. Eleuthera offers a shelter from the heavy hailstorms of our capitalistic world, a haven in which one is free and encouraged to practice awareness, openness, and love. All while dipping his/her toes in the crystal clear blue-green water. That is the magic of Eleuthera.
At least that’s how I feel about it.