Attempting to prevail over the oddities, to scale the unconquered, to slip, fall down and attempt to fix the plague that besets one surely is not meant for the meek. But what if the plagued do not even realize they are afflicted?
“The seeing had become purblind so gradually that they scarcely noticed their loss. They guided the sightless youngsters hither and thither until they knew the whole valley marvelously and when at last sight died out among them the race lived on.”
It doesn’t matter that you’ve read this story copious number of times. You know how it ends. But lo, the salivation of the slim chance that you might be the King in the country of Blinds is too formidable a lure to perceive.
“Conviction had sprung upon him and a sense of great and rather enviable adventure.”
“In the country of the Blind the one eyed man is the King.”
Who needs to think? In a society of paupers, a little investment should go a long way right? In a flight of fantasy one must imagine it should be so easy to succeed when there are fools all around!
“Uninformed mind!” he said. “Got no senses yet!” They little know they’ve been insulting their Heaven-sent King and master …
Uninformed confidence! Oh how one pities those that know none better than to go about their daily routine in a simple, laborious way when life could be done much smarter and faster.
“It was, he found, much more difficult to proclaim himself than he had supposed, and in the meantime, while he meditated his coup d'etat, he did what he was told and learnt the manners and customs of the Country of the Blind. He found working and going about at night a particularly irksome thing and he decided that that should be the first thing he would change.”
But change must wait until one is able and ready to rule. One must work hard and win trust. Then the coup!
“Everything, you see, had been made to fit their needs.”
“Look here you people! If you had the sight, you could do this smarter! “ Once or twice they attended and then it turned into an amused incredulity that became condemnatory. To them, the thoughts of sight were wicked. To attempt to enlighten is nothing short of inviting grave hostility for the scenic mechanisms the blind country cannot comprehend.
“For a week before the operation that was to raise him from his servitude and inferiority to the level of a blind citizen, Nunez knew nothing of sleep and all through the warm, sunlit hours, while the others slumbered happily, he sat brooding or wandered aimlessly, trying to bring his mind to bear on his dilemma.”
One shouldn’t be punished for dreaming big right? For falling in love with beautiful things – the flowers, the sky, the clouds, the sunset and the like! Or, is it that the more one toils, the more imprudent one gets? Anger that should have besieged one will manifest as sorrow, what should have been an ire, turns into a pity and rage turns into sympathy for something so clear to an outsider.
“He held her in his arms and pressed his lips to hers and looked on her sweet face for the last time.” “Good-bye!” he whispered to that dear sight, “good-bye!”
… “It seemed to him that before this splendor he and this blind world in the valley and his love and all were no more than a pit of sin.”
No more than a pit of sin indeed. A life, less ordinary but meaningful nonetheless is much better than a life without sight. And to think of love that now seems so childish and foolhardy?
“… but lay quite still there, smiling as if he were content now merely to have escaped from the valley of the Blind in which he had thought to be the King.”
Excerpts from The Country of Blind by H.G.Wells
Overtones by me.