I know two types of people: people who dream, and people who see.
Dreamers live in their heads. They live in the hope words inspire. Language to them isn’t a tool, but magic. Imagine an artist or a lying politician. Imagine anyone who speaks things into existence. Dreamers look out to the horizon and see possibility, and feel restless.
Seers live within their arm’s reach. Their world is one of touch and fog. They like to call themselves realists, but their reality is only what they can grapple with. They have loyalty and compassion, but only for those they can touch. Seers look out to the horizon and see God, and feel fear.
Most people bounce between the two modes, but there is always a primary mode.
I know people who are clearly dreamers, but because decades of their lives were spent in fruitless moments of miscommunication, they become like seers. They live in fear of the horizon they chased. They become aware that ambition, hope, desire, and longing are all functions of distance, that closing the distance only reveals another distance, and like Heraclites they realize the world is only ever what it is now, despite our flowing through it.
It is more rare for seers to become dreamers. When you close your eyes to possibility, you close your eyes to change. The walls you build around you trap you. Eventually these walls crumble and seers are left with a blank horizon and the face of God rising over it. They can only imagine that this is a cruel thing, and so their dreams are nightmares.
When you speak in dichotomies, the reflex is to imagine a middle way. It’s soothing to describe the world in extremes, and to then console yourself that you are a true mix, that you are multitudes. And we all are, of course, in our own ways. But I see too much of the extremes to believe this.
In the course of my short, secluded life (am I a dreamer or a seer?), my closest friends have been poets and businessmen, soldiers and protesters. The people I love are all caring, and they are all completely certain that their view is clear from their vantage. I am certain too in my view, though I feel wrong in saying it.
I haven’t suffered enough to understand reality, and somehow this is apparent whenever I talk at length about anything. I wouldn’t trade my life for another’s, and this is supposed to mean something. It turns out the basis for self-satisfaction is opting not to be in a body-switch comedy, though this was never in the cards.
No matter how far you chase the horizon, it is still there. No matter how tall you build the wall, there it is, the horizon looming up ahead. It is so constant that I’ve begun defining the horizon not as the curved line of the earth, but the space under my own feet, always slipping further away.