The Green Light of Desire

June 11, 2010 § 3 Comments

Earlier this week,  I wrote about how literature can be religion, about how great writing like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s can have a transparent quality that can show us clear to the depths  of human experience.   In response to my last post about The Great Gatsby, some people commented very understandably that this great American novel celebrates the old ruinous American dream of accumulating riches and striving to get the girl at any cost.  I agree!  But it also reveals the source and nature of suffering–the way clinging to desire separates us from reality–in a beautiful crystalline way.  Here is Gatsby after he finally reconnects with Daisy, the object of his heart’s desire.  After tea, Gatsby is showing Daisy and his neighbor Nick through the mansion and the grounds he bought to be near her, to one day impress her:

“After the house, we were to see the grounds and the swimming pool, and the hydroplane and the mid-summer flowers–but outside Gatsby’s window it began to rain again, so we stood in a row looking at the corrugated surface of the Sound.

‘If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay, said Gatsby. ‘You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock.”

Daisy put her arm through his abruptly, but he seemed absorbed in what he had just said.  Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever.  Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her.  It had seemed as close as a star to the moon.  Now it was again a green light on a dock.  His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.”

§ 3 Responses to The Green Light of Desire

  • When It’s so funny that how we view the world can change in a “New York Heartbeat”.
    Your post reminds me of the fact that the world we live in is mostly created by our view of it………….
    When I can remember this, and look into my contribution to it, my world always becomes a better place.
    Hve a great day, tracy, and thanks for all that you do!

  • Elisa's Spot says:

    I thank you for this post. I found it on a day when something that I continue to send out in messages with increasingly different modalities of expression, dishearteningly to me, continues to fall upon deaf ears. Desire=Manifesting=Good. Desire=Greed=Bad. Desire=dreaming=creation. Desire=imagination=delusion=bad. The current trend of the gimme gotchas and all of the buzzwords(that no one really can say how they feel about them or what they really mean–which is another writing subject related but different) has people moving into freebie-land. No longer noting nor caring for what their individual footprint does to themselves and everything else around them…many empty zombies attempting to fill or to hide their pit, does nothing good. Trying to cover or to fill this pit, while cheerleaders equally in denial praise them and drag the bandwagon forward CAUSES the let down. Causes a loss of faith, in self and others and in a higher power, and a loss of the gift of dreaming and imagining and feeling enchantment that is our gift as humans, that is very difficult to resuscitate and the spark of inner flame goes quickly out. In those that cannot see the reason the ‘method’ did not provide the two year old demand for candy or i’ll have a fit failed miserably become very cold and hard and sad.

    The depiction of this game, in your words above, is clearly tangible, though seems not to provide that ‘out’ that many people seek. I, myself, am wary of providing false and/or binary choices to others. The grace to know and to feel each thing is simply amazing.

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