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I won't look

"Pride in their port, defiance in their eye, I see the lords of humankind pass by.” — Oliver Goldsmith, "The Traveler" (1764)

Human consciousness is dreaming

—dreaming, but coerced by seeming;

Chance is much the will of Heaven—

Luck, I think, the future's leaven;

Unsure whether to grasp or gaze,

We draw conclusions in a haze,

Taking our chances in the maze.*

Though we live out lives of feeling

Guilty gratitude for being

Subalterns of this sublunar world,

Out of whose arms we'll soon be whirled,

We "I won't look!" are not as blind

As those proud lords of humankind.

Or so it seems, and you may find.

*"[W]aking consciousness is dreaming—but dreaming constrained by external reality."—Oliver Sacks, "The Last Hippie," in An Anthropologist on Mars (New York: Vintage Books, 1996), 57n7. "It is insufficient to see; one must look as well."—id., "To See and Not See," ibid., 117–18n3.


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