Fixing other people’s problems

I think I have had my share of trying to fix others and also to avoid the fixing of others. It’s very easy to see why the latter kind of fixing is bad: I hate it. I don’t know about you, but I feel some kind of repulsion whenever someone, with obvious good intentions, wants to show me what I should do, what would really take care of all of my problems. But the other kind of fixing is much more interesting, so let me say a few words about my good intentions. I always seem to know exactly what needs to be done in certain situations. Mind you, I sometimes want to fix the world, and you must believe me that I really have the perfect solutions; it’s just that somehow nobody asks me about them. When elections take place in my home country, the amount of energy that I seem capable of emitting increases quite a bit, and, although I have not tried it yet, I truly believe that the temperature of my boiling blood may be sufficient for warming a cup of tea–an ingredient that may be most helpful in such moments. If time travel were possible, I think I might just go back to the beginning of communism in Romania to fix this problem too. In case you have not realized it already, I should mention that I have no doubt that my presence would be sufficient to stop the spread of Stalinism. And if a ring of power were to be given to me, I would probably just take it and forget the wonderful scene from The Lord of the Rings where Gandalf says, “I would use this ring from a desire to do good, but through me it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine.”

Of course, it is all madness, and there is no ring that saves me from it, from believing that my life is so important to anyone that I encounter that, if they do not follow my advice, the world would just turn upside down. What saves me–what continues to save me every day–comes from the army of people who try to fix me. From presidents to journalists, from teachers to students, from relatives to strangers, from advertisers to sellers, everyone seems to be in the business to save me, to fix my problems (and, I’m sure, your problems too). And some of them truly try to help, just as I try to help others. The funny thing is that they do help, but not in the way they think they do: they help by reminding me how impossible I can be for others. It is perhaps a taking care of each other even against our direct intention, somehow provided for us.

Thank you, then, for trying to fix me, whoever you are!


About Tavi's Corner

Blogging on ancient philosophy, communist persecution in Romania (including deportation to Siberia), and Orthodox Christianity. I've translated books from Romanian to English, and I also write about them from time to time.
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