I don’t know. I passed through it once, but I’ve never really been there.

Important to stick with this short film until the finish…

onism – n. the frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time, which is like standing in front of the departures screen at an airport, flickering over with strange place names like other people’s passwords, each representing one more thing you’ll never get to see before you die-and all because, as the arrow on the map helpfully points out, you are here.

Full Transcript below…

You are here.
You were lost at first, but soon began sketching yourself a map of the world,
plotting the contours of your life.
And like the first explorers,
sooner or later you have to contend with the blank spaces on the map.
All the experiences you’ve never had.
The part of you still aching to know what’s out there.
Eventually these questions take on a weight of their own,
and begin looming over your everyday life.
All the billions of doors you had to close in order to take a single step forward.
All the things you haven’t done and may never get around to doing;
all the risks that may or may not have been real;
all the destinations that you *didn’t* buy a ticket to;
all the lights you see in the distance that you can only wonder about;
all the alternate histories you narrowly avoided;
all the fantasies that stay dormant inside your head;
everything you’re giving up, to be where you are right now;
the questions that you wrongly assume are unanswerable.
It’s strange how little of the universe we actually get to see.
Strange how many assumptions we have to make just to get by,
stuck in only one body, in only one place at a time.
Strange how many excuses we’ve invented to explain why so much of life belongs in the background.
Strange that any of us could ever feel at home on such an alien world.
We sketch monsters on the map because we find their presence comforting.
They guard the edges of the abyss, and force us to look away
so we can live comfortably in the Known World,
at least for a little while.
But if someone were to ask you on your deathbed
what it was like to live here on Earth,
perhaps the only honest answer would be,
“I don’t know. I passed through it once, but I’ve never really been there.”

Source: John Koenig: Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows


  1. Thank you for this amazing post, David! I see some synchronicity with my post today, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow!! Love this mind opening perspective David.
    Thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. And yet..and yet..we were here. And we saw so much and saw so little. We lived so fully and so incompletely. Duality. Always that damn duality.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Mimi sums it up very ncely. I agree.

    The video reminds me of a line from a Steve Forbert song, “It’s often said that life is strange, Oh, yeah, but compared to what?”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And it all happened in the blink of an eye. Great post, dk.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We go where can. I’ve been where I’ve been. I like to think I am Captain of my ship – but I have no idea who is doing the navigating.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes. You Are Here. but as “who”?

    If You are Here as “I Am” , then this one passing through is Enough!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Man, that gives Ya pause, doesn’t it?! And Mimi’s right (again)….what we can, and yet at the same time not ever enough. Doubling down on that bucket list….

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I believe that restlessness is part of human nature, always looking to greener pastures, always imagining that it could be better over there. All of life and experience can be found in my cat’s eyes and the touch of my friend’s hand, too. In the song I sing and the sky above.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, and reminded me of:

      In Svendsen’s view, modern man has tried to deal with boredom by treating the symptoms instead of the disease, by searching for “meaning surrogates”…instead of sitting still and, just possibly, contemplating what a meaningful life might be…

      We’ve done “new” already, and usually found it wanting. Writes Svendsen, “Existential boredom . . . must fundamentally be understood on the basis of a concept of a dearth of accumulated experience. The problem is that we try to get beyond this boredom by piling on increasingly new and more potent sensations and impressions, instead of allowing ourselves to accumulate experience.” Yes, accumulated experience—that is precisely what an old person has available to him in abundance. The trick is to slow down enough that this accumulated experience can be contemplated and even, hopefully, savored.

      ~ Daniel Klein, Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life. Penguin Group US.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. wow to both the post and your last comment–wow again – this is going to be part of my column for New Year’s–you are such a source of inspiration

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Reblogged this on On the Homefront and commented:
    thisi is so powerful!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Amazing. I need to spend more time with this one, in quiet and with a more generous moment of time. For now, this jumped right off the screen, right onto my lap

    “…all the alternate histories you narrowly avoided;…”

    I think about that…and to see it there – resonance.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Reblogged this on BAREFOOT IN THAILAND and commented:
    I’m not really sure how I feel about this video. One on hand, I constantly think about how I still have so much to experience, to see, to learn. So many countries that I want to live in, grow connections and ultimately come to understand. I get really overwhelmed when I look at a map because I do indeed wish I could be traveling 100 different countries at the same time. But on the other hand, I wouldn’t say that I feel “trapped” in a body that will hold me back from this possibility. And I certainly haven’t chosen a lifestyle that provokes me to gaze out the window and think, “gosh, I wish I was doing [something else]”. Because I am doing exactly what I want to be doing. I can’t think of anything I would prefer more than to be living and working abroad.

    Anyways, over the past 3 years I’ve learned that I can do what I want and that I’m completely capable of it — it just takes time, commitment and risk. In that sense, I don’t entirely connect with this video because I don’t feel “a part of me aching to know what’s out there”. I am knowing what’s out there. I certainly don’t assume that any question is unanswerable. And if someone were to ask me on my deathbed what it was like to live life, I would say, amazing. I did everything I dreamed of doing, I didn’t let anything hold me back and I spent my time following my curiosity rather than allowing it to belittle me.

    I read this quote the other day by Monique Duval that really moved me. It read, “she woke up and realized she had forgotten the definition of the word ‘impossible.’ She decided it must not have been that important.”

    So, I’m curious, how do you relate to the word “onism” as according to this video?


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