17 December 2008

Perception vs Reality...

I have a really bad habit of letting my idealized perception of certain things, impair my judgment to the point that the reality, is disappointing and at times heart breaking.

For example:
From the time I started my study of art, one of the things I idealized more than almost any other, was Florence Italy. The birth place of the Renaissance. A period that changed and enlightened humanity. Some of the greatest works of art that have ever been created by man were made in Florence.

I always thought of Florence to be this same place of enlightenment. I thought everything would be perfect and beautiful.

It wasn't. It was a modern city, with ugly buildings, pollution, graffiti and litter. Everywhere you looked were cheap Chinese made Davids on key chains. Venus' on tee shirts, Tourists defacing walls and making a mockery of everything I had dreamed about. It still nearly brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.

Maybe it's the romantic in me. Maybe I spend too much time dreaming. Maybe I'm just naive. Florence, if taken for what it is, is still a fabulous city with treasures around every corner. But in my mind it will always be tarnished. I feel like humanity has lost something special and replaced it with a tourist attraction.

I will most likely never go back because the city can never meet the expectations that I see in my mind. I would rather think of her as I do, than what she has become.

As I get older I have added more and more places to the list of which I can never return. I can't seem to stop idealizing certain things. And inevitably I keep getting disappointed by the reality that things have become.

Don't get me wrong. There have been many places that I loved more in reality than there are disappointments. It's just that I find myself doing the same thing in everyday life. I build things up in my head to where the reality will never be able to compete.

I'm not sure I will ever be able to stop living in my fantasy world. I've been here too long. What I need to learn, is how to find a happy medium. Allow myself to see the reality along with the fantasy.


scott said...

My mind goes to the cheesy movie Pleasantville, which I didn't really like, though I thought it made some interesting points.

If Florence were constrained to be what everyone wanted it to be, an ideal, what would that mean for the freedom of those who had to live there?

I suspect that there are ways in which Florence is more wonderful than your ideal, for what that's worth. Also, I wonder about the "never go back there" thing. Maybe, with your expectations now changed, you'd find that it is actually better than you remembered. I don't know.

I understand what you're saying, though. I live in a fantasy world most of the time, though I have little expectation of the real world about which to be disappointed. I think that's because I don't want it to expect much from me.

Thoughtful post. Well said.

Hello, Mad William.

Mad William said...

Hello Scott,
Nice comparison. In all likelihood, if given the chance, I would most likely go back.

I'm intrigued by your handling of living in a fantasy world. Maybe I should pay less attention to reality and enjoy my fantasies.


delmer said...

On a more local note, I have trouble going home to the little town I grew up in. It used to be sort of quaint with a lot of wide open spaces ... now it's store after store.