• A Conflict of Visions

    by  • November 11, 2011 • Guest Blogger, Life • 15 Comments

    Imagine a man who was born in a time where the prevailing wisdom was that his country was perfect, its institutions were infallible, authority figures were all knowing and should always be obeyed, you should do what you were told and not question anything.  Imagine a man who was born in a time where the prevailing wisdom was that his teachers were on par with an Oracle, that they are more than human simply because of their profession; that cops, firemen, soldiers and are never to be criticized; , reverends and rabbis are never to be questioned about anything.  You are to listen to what they say, shut up and obey.  Imagine a man who was born in a time when the prevailing wisdom was that any questioning of any authority figure was considered outright rebellion, not to be tolerated at any cost.  You are always to do what you are told.  Obedience is key.  So as life progresses, this man always strives to do things “right”, always does what he is told, never questions anything, never strives for anything more due to fear that he will ultimately fail, “failure” of course being defined by those “above” you.

    Julian GalloContrast this with a man who was born in a time where the prevailing wisdom of the previous generation was proven to be a .  His country was not perfect, it was not infallible, its institutions were found to be corrupt to the , authority figures were not only concerned with their own power and position and would be anything to maintain that privilege.  Teachers were no “” but human beings capable of the same stupidity, corruption and power mad attitudes as anyone else, people who would often ridicule young children because they felt superior to them.  Cops were found to be engaging in criminal activity, who sometimes beat their wives (as was the case with my next door while growing up.)  Your government leaders were found to be criminal, corrupt and sometimes downright insane.  A child growing up under such circumstances is liable to be a little suspicious of authority, will come to learn that the previous “prevailing wisdom” is all but a lie.  You begin to question everything.  You learn at an early age that people are not to be trusted merely because they were in a position of “authority.”  After all, what did that mean?

    The two people described above are first, a friend of mine who I have known for well over twenty years and the second is obviously myself.  We were born of two different generations, although we are not that many years apart in age but the differences in our age has definitely lead to two completely different experiences and different interpretations of American life.  Recently this friend of mine and I had a falling out of sorts.  I don’t know why.  He just suddenly went silent and stopped talking to me.  I still have no idea as to why he is upset with me after a month long “silent treatment” (which I find utterly infantile) but it allowed me some time to think over our many conversations over the years and the reactions they brought on.  Here are some of them:

    • I was not “ responsibly” because I often take trips to other countries when I really don’t have all that much money to begin with.  Yet I do it anyway, being that my thinking is if not now, when?  One must live life or do his/her best to do what makes them happy.  So, in essence, my to live happily was to live “irresponsibly.”
    • My pursuits in music, writing and art were not “legitimate” because I wasn’t earning a living off of it.  In other words, I was “not pulling in the dough” so therefore what I was doing was merely a “hobby” and not an act of creating anything or doing anything “serious.”  Of course, that view would be completely different if I were rich because of it.
    • I had no real love or for my parents because as a youngster I had done some stupid things.  I disobeyed them at times and did what I wanted to do; things such as partying, cutting school, doing what I was told not to do.  Following my own path meant that I didn’t love or them.  If I truly did, I would have just obeyed and did exactly what I was told.
    • I was “prone to conflict” because I would question things or have an opinion about things that were contrary to the “prevailing wisdom.”  It meant that I was always looking for a fight merely because I had my own opinion, which didn’t agree with others.  My of authority figures made me an “angry” person.  So I guess if I just obeyed and did what I was told and not questioned anything, that would have made me a “happy” person.
    • I was naturally “rebellious” because I didn’t take the word of “authority figures” at face value; that they were just as capable of engaging in criminal behavior as anyone else.  Again, it would be better if I just did what I was told and didn’t question anything.

    This is just a small sample of it, naturally intended to lash out at me in a very passive-aggressive manner, with the hopes of generating a reaction.  It never did.  I understood the differences between our experiences which of course influenced our perceptions of the world.  And even though I never agreed with his perception, I never once tried to tear him down for it.

    So what we have here, essentially, is a simple and differences in perception.  So what?  Are we tp perceive life in the same way?  And what difference does it make whether I see things one way and another sees them in a different way?  Experience definitely influences perception and to be sure that one’s perception isn’t clouded by bad attitudes and/or flights of fancy, one must think and observe and that means to have an opinion – your own opinion.  Some people in this world do not like that.  They want you to be obedient, non-questioning and non-threatening.  And there’s very good reason for that.  A thinking man is a dangerous man to those who have a vested interest in maintaing things as they want them to be.  History has shown this time and time again.

    In the end, I’m sure my friend and I will reconcile but there’s something driving this and I cant help but think, after thinking about all the things that were said over the years during our conversations, that this may have something to do with it.  A conflict of visions that are somehow pushing his buttons in a way he does not want to acknowledge.  So, to him, this is all my fault and I must be punished for it.  Rather than just accepting me for who I am (as I do him, regardless of whether I agree with his perceptions) I must be punished for my own attitudes and view of the world.  If this is in fact what it’s all about.  It seems to be judging from these past conversations.  But it just goes to show you how differences in perceptions, what “truths” we decide to accept in this life often have an effect in other areas, “truths” that are laid out not by your own judgement and thinking, but “truths” handed down by those who have a vested interest in telling you what the “truth” actually is.

    Copyright © Julian Gallo, All Rights Reserved

    © 2011, Julian Gallo. All rights reserved.


    Born and raised in New York City. Julian Gallo is a musician/writer/painter who has poems and short stories published in about 40 magazines and journals throughout the United States, Canada and Europe and also has 10 books under his belt: "Standing On Lorimer Street Awaiting Crucifixion" (Alpha Beat Press, 1996), "The Terror of Your Cunt is The Beauty of Your Face" (Black Spring Press, 1999), "Street Gospel Mystical Intellectual Survival Codes" (Budget Press, 2000), "Scrape That Violin More Darkly Then Hover Like Smoke In The Air" (Black Spring Press, 2001), "Existential Labyrinths" (Black Spring Press, 2003), "Window Shopping For A New Crown of Thorns" (Lulu Press, 2007), "November Rust" (Lulu Press, 2007), "My Arrival Is Marked By Illuminating Stains" (Lulu Press 2007), "A Symphony of Olives" (Propaganda Press, 2009) and "Divertimiento" (Propaganda Press, 2009). His second novel "Naderia" was released in January 2011 and his third, "Be Still and Know That I Am" (Beat Corrida) was released in September 2011. He is also currently playing guitar and bass for NYC singer/songwriter Linda La Porte. You can catch up with his latest work at his blog Desvarío


    15 Responses to A Conflict of Visions

    1. November 11, 2011 at 7:36 pm

      Loved, Loved this!

      ‘A thinking man is a dangerous man’, this is so true. I have stumbled against a few conflicts and I still do every now and then. And Julian nailed it. It’s all because it doesn’t fit in how the other one thinks. But I wonder how the world would be if everyone would be thinking the same. It would work for some situations in the world, but overall it would be plain boring. Having different perspectives in life shouldn’t be bad at all, but I probably think this way, because I like to look at the bigger picture and not from my own perspective alone. Ah humans can be so complex at times hehe 😀


      • November 11, 2011 at 9:02 pm

        Thank you TJ. Glad you enjoyed this one. This was written some time ago and about a situation that happened some time ago. I found the whole thing interesting because at its core, this was what was driving it. These conversations must have really touched a nerve (in fact, I know it did, based on the attempts to anger me, which of course, didn’t work.) I’ve always felt that the old cliche was true, that we could always disagree without being disagreeable. But it seems, in this case, anyway, that our world views really diverged at a particular point and that was based on our individual life experiences. Apparently, though, it was enough for this friend of mine to simply walk. And what’s funny is that to this day, we never reconciled. A shame, really but life goes on, you know? 🙂

    2. Jen
      November 11, 2011 at 9:13 pm

      I always feel like Julian is talking directly to me. I love that!

      The last line is killer: “But it just goes to show you how differences in perceptions, what “truths” we decide to accept in this life often have an effect in other areas, “truths” that are laid out not by your own judgement and thinking, but “truths” handed down by those who have a vested interest in telling you what the “truth” actually is.”

      I’ve definitely struggled with this– most of my early 20’s was spent wondering what was wrong with other people. Then I realized it isn’t what is wrong with them, but what is wrong with me. There are definitely black and white matters, but I find most of the world is grey. Once I opened myself up to the possibility of “other people’s choices” I found there are a ton more great people than I once thought.

      Wonderful post!

    3. November 11, 2011 at 10:27 pm

      Thank you Jen. I was much the same way in my 20s. There was no talking to me – and that tended to piss a lot of people off, believe me. When I reached my 30s, I sort of went through this “searching” period, re-examining everything I once believed, sort of swaying this way and that way from time to time. Now, in my middle 40s – there’s just a lot I don’t give a s**t about, to be honest. I just look for good people to be around and by good people, I mean those who are good at heart, those who aren’t coming to you with an agenda, those who treat others like human beings. I have loads of friends who don’t think the way I do AT ALL – some of whom are die in the wool conservatives. We don’t agree at all politically but we somehow find a way to not let that determine everything else. Oh, we get into it sometimes, but it’s usually a healthy discussion and not the “war” that most people seem to be having with one another these days. I don’t know if age has anything to do with it or if it has to do with my exposure to different things that I normally wouldn’t have touched with a 10 foot pole, I don’t know. In the end, though, what a person IS is the most important thing, I think. This friend that I write about in this piece seemed to be blaming me for his own shortcomings or feelings of inadequacy, I don’t know. Doesn’t matter now, though. But I do know that he resented me a great deal because he “did it right” while I basically did what I wanted – and in the end we both wound up in the same place. I learned at a very early age it was all a lie and I suppose he felt that it was my fault that he hadn’t. What are you going to do? Thanks again for your wonderful comments. It is very much appreciated – as always 😉

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    5. November 12, 2011 at 10:37 am

      I could read you endlessly, Julian. Your insights are profound but your soul remains gentle and unmoved by what may seem on the surface to be prevailing winds. An elderly man told me many years ago that if there are people who turn against you for no apparent reason, do some introspection (which you have done), and the answer almost always comes down to one issue: jealousy. So we turn from toxic people and try to surround ourselves with those who are nourishing. That is where we thrive.

      As to you point about travel and “if not now, when?” I find myself living my life that way now and it is exhilarating. We are given but one life and the chapters must be built and written by our own hands, not the whims and wishes of others. Through your travels, you allow us to vicariously experience places we may not see. I cannot think of better eyes though which to view them than yours.

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    8. November 12, 2011 at 11:13 pm

      Thank you, Cher. That is very kind of you; and your words of encouragement are always greatly appreciated. They truly mean a lot to me. Thank you. 🙂

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    10. November 14, 2011 at 8:44 pm

      A wise man told me once that, just because a relationship ends, it doesn’t mean it was a failure. It’s simply that you and your friend had apparently learned whatever lesson you had been brought together to experience. And sometimes, sadly, people simply grow apart – either by choice or by following divergent paths. Hold onto the good memories and let the rest go (though I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here).

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