On the World We Live In by A.G. Gardiner
In On the World We Live In by A.G. Gardiner we have the theme of individuality, loneliness, escape, fear, happiness and connection. Taken from his Pebbles on the Shore collection the reader realises after reading the essay that Gardiner may be exploring the individuality or the individual worlds that everyone lives in. Gardiner suggests that these may be lonely worlds because there is no input or light from others. No differences of opinions or helping hands to assist the individual. It is only through connection of an individual’s mind will a person truly be happy. Gardiner using the example of listening to Mozart to highlight how happy a person might be should they not hold onto inner thoughts and let themselves go. However there is a problem with Gardiner’s suggestion. Should a man or woman let themselves go in society they are sure to have the spotlight placed upon themselves and as such some may feel exceptionally uncomfortable with the situation they find themselves in. On the other hand a person can grow by not living in their head so much. They can see and feel the delights of the world (a movie for example).
It may also be a case that an individual is afraid to let go and talk about what they really feel. As mentioned they may be ostracized by society but they are also leaving themselves in a vulnerable position. One which they might not recover from. Though the individual mind or world is a lonely one and mankind for the most longs for a connection with others. To help validate themselves and their ideas. Gardiner also suggests that we may never live beyond our individual worlds and that real happiness may be unknown. A man may live his life functioning in society but never really connecting with others. This does not suggest that somebody should be open to all before them. This would be foolish. However when there is a hint of a common agreement or connection. Then the individual should take the chance and escape from their individual world. The benefits may outweigh the disappointments.
Though escape from the individual world that a person may live in might be considered to be nothing more than dream like. It is still something that Gardiner believes a man (or woman) should do. Again he quotes the happiness that one can feel from listening to Mozart. It is as though for a brief moment the individual is able to forget who they are and free themselves from the normal chains that society wraps the individual in. Similarly with a painting created by an artist. The artist is allowing for the individual mind to enter into his world. To see things as the artist may see. Though again some critics might suggest this is simply another form of escape. However the majority of people need to be entertained by something other than their thoughts. If not life would become unbearable for them. Though there is always the peering eye of society with a frown placed upon the individual.
Gardiner also suggests that the individual world is not only a lonely place but it is a place in whereby a person may never grow. They will live their lives never knowing new or shared experiences that might bring them some joy. Like the earwigs in the strawberries they might also never know why there world has changed so much on the back of one occurrence. Where once they thought they were happy the individual in reality has been living a lie. Comfortable but lonely in the position they find themselves in. It is better to embrace (with care) the outside world and to enjoy what is on offer. No man or woman will truly be happy should they not try and attempt to allow for outside influences to enter their lives. Not only will the individual grow and be happy but they will have lived outside their thoughts for a brief moment and imagined what could be. All in the safety of their home or local theatre. Places where they will sure be able to relax and enjoy the events that unfold before them and ensuring that they break free from the chains of society. Who may very well tell them that their thoughts or feelings are unorthodox or improper when the reality is far different.