We spend our lives running up against a hoarding, a larger-than-life advertisement that we shouldn’t need. But we do.

Lives in the public eye. World-names, national names, A-listers of this screen or that. This profession or that, this sport or that. This news-maker or that.

And we bounce back into the real world, into our own private orbit. As the A-listers do. As the galacticos do, to take a footballing term and kick it aloft. The news-space superstars. Monarchs, geniuses, moguls, war-leaders, all the movers and shakers rebound to reality. The world-beaters are beaten at their own game by the more real private individual. Why more real? Simply because it’s the person we all have in common.

There’s a condition of experiencing, calculating, resting, keeping going. Immersion in a few deeply personal things, with some amount of that immersion in the world outside. Thinking: groping and being sure. Doing things, mostly straightforward, but there is always something in which one can fail or succeed. And one is always learning about the world, by direct experience.

But the banner-names festoon the mind. We are condemned to being turned this way and that by the headlines they make, to being flapped back and forth between them, to jumping to the imperious random gestures they make in the chance winds. To following in their fashion.

It’s a game. We all play it, it’s the only one in town, the wild rides between the public and private aspects of identity. And after a certain age, let’s say eighteen, we are all flapping a bit of a banner ourselves.

We can’t do without our hierarchies. And thence the blown-up images, the larger-than-life reflections of aspects of life along the common way. The never-ending summons to the public arena. The endless hall of advertisements that flip our minds this way and that.

It’s a ball-game and the mind is the ball. If I think (or write) of a great personage, I shall try to remember the vertiginous malady of the line between private and public, the head-spinning journey one never stops making. The inevitable distortion of the picture.

And I shall know, without seeing it, of a condition I share with that personage, something more accurate and quiet than any game. Beneath the world of the separate mind, a dizzying distraction that must be, lies the corner-stone of all minds. There’s a path for each along a common way.

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