Sunday, August 17, 2008

More and better

Once upon a time, in the small town of Succinides, there was a fellow named Patroclo. Patroclo was an average boy. As everybody else in Succinides, his dream was to find his perfect pomum tree. A pomum tree was a small bush with a fruit similar to an apple. The greatest source of happiness for the people of Succinides was to find a beautiful pomum tree and harvest its fruit. But getting a pomum true was not an easy task. Although all pomum trees were similar, there were no two alike. In the markets, hundreds of trees were in exhibit everyday, waiting to be bought and carried home. But the refined, exquisite and developed sense of pomum tree aesthetics that the people of Succinides had acquired, made the decision a hard one. Some people found their perfect pomum tree right away. For others, it was a lengthy process. Examining tree by tree until they found the one they were satisfied with. Patroclo was in this second group of people. Finding his pomum tree had proven to be a tough endeavor.

One day, Patroclo found his pomum tree. It was a really cute bush. Deep inside, he knew it was not the most beautiful one, but he was tired of looking for it. So, armed with courage he got that pomum tree. A most happy day in his life. He took it home and planted it in the garden. He was very happy indeed. As time passed, he collected the beautiful pomum fruit and enjoyed it very much. When more time passed, Patroclo realized that although his pomum tree was actually a beautiful one, there were other trees that he judged as even more exquisite than the one he had. Walking by the streets and observing the gardens of his neighbors, he started to desire his pomum tree were as beautiful as the ones he had seen around. His desire grew stronger. And thus, the day came in which he got rid of his tree and started to look for another one. This time he was not going to settle for less than the most beautiful pomum tree he could find.

His search yielded its result. He had come across the most exquisite and beautiful pomum tree he had never seen before. Patroclo could not believe his luck. He cried from happiness while planting the tree in this garden; and as before, the time came for him to collect the pomum fruit. So much happiness was unbelievable. He had found what every citizen in Succinides was looking for: the pomum tree that was perfect for him.

Sadly enough though, the Patroclo's story doesn't end here. He realized that once again, he had a desire for other pomum trees. He had got bored of eating pomum fruit from his tree. He wanted to taste other pomum fruit from other pomum trees. But that was the highest of the crimes in Succinides. The only pomum fruit a citizen could ever eat was that of his own pomum tree.

Patroclo was lost. He could not understand why he felt like that. He knew very well that his pomum tree was among the most beautiful ones in all Succinides and yet, he was not happy with it. Why? --- he wondered --- Why am I not happy? My pomum tree is so delightful, so beautiful. Why do I feel the need of eating the pomum fruit from other pomum trees? He wondered if he was the only one who felt like that. He saw that everyone was so happy. Why could he not be as happy as everybody else? Could it be that it is just a matter of keeping the appearance of being happy? Endless questions assaulted Patroclo's mind. He was becoming insane.

Patroclo learned that he was not the only one with the desire for other pomum trees. For centuries, the scholars of Succinides knew that some individuals just could not be happy with their own pomum tree. No matter how beautiful and how tasty the pomum fruit was. Patroclo felt he would never be happy again. The desire for other pomum trees was killing him from inside. But he was observant of the law and never did he try to satisfy his curiosity, nor his desire. He tried to forget about it and be happy with his pomum tree. But deep inside, he knew what he was craving for.

Tired of living in that hell of a situation, Patroclo decided to put an end to it. He found out that there was a way, a cure, for his condition. Having failed at convincing himself to forget about other pomum trees, he took the decision to end the root of all evil. The cure consisted in removing a portion, a tiny portion of the frontal brain lobe and killing a few neurons of the primary visual cortex. The first part of the treatment aimed to inhibit his emotional desire and the second was to block the visual stimuli associated with the perception of images of pomum trees. This sort of treatment was rarely attempted and it was not always succesful. But Patroclo took his chances. He was ready to give away a tiny bit of his essence.

Patroclo survived the difficult surgery. He stayed some time at the hospital and eventually went home. When looking at the pomum trees on the streets he saw pomum trees, but not pomum trees. When he arrived at his home, and looked at his beautiful pomum tree he saw a beautiful pomum tree, but not a beautiful pomum tree. He knew what he had to do. He cared for his tree and collected its pomum fruit.

Patroclo never desired anything any more until the day of his death. People saw him living happy with his pomum tree.