Get on the 7am bus to Flores near the well-known Maya-site of Tikal. I decide I want to see some of those ruins. The busride is long but amazingly beautiful. This is it. This is the attraction. How can the other passengers solve puzzles and doze away to their ipods? The scenery is so pretty and so green. The road is winding around one hill after another, giving us the most beautiful views over the many valleys. We drive almost the whole day. I really enjoy the ride and admire the natural beauty everywhere. We have lunch in a roadside restaurant called “La Curva” and they serve beef and it tastes good. We arrive in the small island of Flores at daylight and enjoy the sunset there. Let’s call it Guatemala’s little Venice. It’s another pearl and despite of many hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops it has kept much of its authenticity. I don’t get to talk to local people apart from the employees in the shop that sell me an economy dinner. I go to bed early because tomorrow I’ll take a very early tour to Tikal – like most of the tourists do.
Am I a tourist? It’s normal that I am pinned down on that concept, because I do a lot of things tourists do. Why should I be something else when I do the same thing? On the other hand, being a tourist entails having a certain set of intentions, organized around the purchase of a quantity of happiness-inducing activities. A tourist has a budget to spend for the sole purpose of experiencing that quantity of happiness, and of course he is entitled to that. If someone is looking for something beyond that quantifiable dose of pleasure, I don’t call him or her a tourist. He or she has a broader set of intentions that surpass the considerations of the tourist. He or she wants to experience “real” life, “truth”, or being “good”. The set of his or her intentions are organized in a different way. Happiness has its place of course, but not as the underlying premise of all other intentions. The landscape of intentions is more complicated. There are a lot of independent intentions, there are conflicting intentions, strong and weak intentions, nagging intentions, commanding intentions, struggling, sneaking, pushing, bribing, fighting, hallowing, moaning, laughing, tickling intentions. Intentions crawl like big bedbugs through the window of your mind. They form the panorama just before you take a decision. You have learned to see that breathtaking panorama. You can reflect upon your own intentions. You hold the miracle of intentionality in your hand like Hamlet his skull, and look it deep into the eyes. To be or not to be. To be is moving towards a more complicated and intertwined intentionality. Not to be is moving towards a single intentionality. To economize on this, I will trademark the term “myriad intentionality”.
That’s what I have in mind. It’s just a metaphor and it does its job imperfectly, but you understand where I’m going. We should try to make the life of our intentions as lively as possible, and avoid to organize them all neatly along one intentional highway establishing our decisions before we come to take them. More on that later.