"The world is a wonderfully weird place,
consensual reality is significantly flawed,
no institution can be trusted,
certainty is a mirage,
security is a delusion, and the tyranny of the dull mind forever threatens.
But our lives are not as limited as we think they are.
All things are possible, laughter is holier than piety, freedom is sweeter than fame,
and in the end it’s love and love alone that really matters."
Thousands stand and chant.
Around them in the world, people ride escalators going up and sneak secret glances at the faces coming down.
People dangle teabags over hot water in white cups.
Cars run silently on the autobahns, streaks of painted light.
People sit at desks and stare at office walls.
They smell their shirts and drop them in the hamper.
People bind themselves into numbered seats and fly across time zones and high cirrus and deep night, knowing there is something they’ve forgotten to do.
How strange it is. We have these deep terrible lingering fears about ourselves and the people we love.
Yet we walk around, talk to people, eat and drink.
We manage to function. The feelings are deep and real. Shouldn’t they paralyze us?
How is it we can survive them, at least for a little while? We drive a car, we teach a class.
How is it no one sees how deeply afraid we were, last night, this morning?
Is it something we all hide from each other, by mutual consent?
Or do we share the same secret without knowing it? Wear the same disguise?”