The Dangerous Assumption

TheAssumption

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“When first I was put into prison some people advised me to try and forget who I was. It was ruinous advice. It is only by realising what I am that I have found comfort of any kind. Now I am advised by others to try on my release to forget that I have ever been in a prison at all. I know that would be equally fatal. It would mean that I would always be haunted by an intolerable sense of disgrace, and that those things that are meant for me as much as for anybody else – the beauty of the sun and moon, the pageant of the seasons, the music of daybreak and the silence of great nights, the rain falling through the leaves, or the dew creeping over the grass and making it silver – would all be tainted for me, and lose their healing power, and their power of communicating joy. To regret one’s own experiences is to arrest one’s own development. To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.” ― Oscar Wilde, De Profundis

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DangerousAssumption

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The Assumption in these photographs is the name of a chapel on the grounds of a country house which is now a hotel. From a distance it is quite imposing for such a small building as it was built upon a hill and you are always beneath it. Even though it is imposing, it is not intimidating, in fact it seems to beckon the viewer to take a closer look, perhaps even inviting you inside for a moment of solace in such a busily chaotic world. Yet… you can’t go in, for your own safety, of course.

But what if your safety depends on being able to get inside such a place. What if you are seeking sanctuary from the perils of life, searching for somewhere to hide for a while from that which besieges you, a quiet port in the storms around. What if in the depths of your dark night you want to step into the light, but the light lies beyond a door which is locked, and not just locked but protected by a perimeter fence with a sign warning you that what is within is dangerous for you, keep out of here.

It’s always puzzled me how so often the very places (and sometimes people) which tell us they’re here for us when we need them, aren’t there for us when we have the need for them.

Of course there is always a logical reason, a practical explanation, a viable excuse, why the promises made to us get broken, shatter, tear, disintegrate, when we try to use them, cash in that IOU, why what we were promised for when we were in need when we didn’t need anything isn’t there when we need it. Perhaps we waited too long to need it, and during that passing of time things changed for the giver of the promise as they did for us. We didn’t notice things changing for them, we only noticed when they changed for us, and that’s when we noticed too that those who were supposed to be there for us, weren’t there. Were we there for them when they needed us… perhaps we didn’t notice.

Assumptions are dangerous, as the sign says, keep out of such places.

The notice asks to be noticed.

Conditions are subject to change.

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“One can realise a thing in a single moment, but one loses it in the long hours that follow with leaden feet. ”

― Oscar Wilde, De Profundis

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