Make the right wish


Wish_List_(Magic_Lamp)If you could rub the Lamp of Aladdin and ask the genius to make one wish to come true, but only one, what would you choose? Love, success, fortune, health or what else? Are you sure you will be able to take the right decision with no regrets afterwards? I actually wouldn’t know what to pick, maybe health, however, I’m going to give you a couple of examples in literature to demonstrate that this is a question that has to be pondered carefully, before giving an answer, otherwise the consequences could be devastating.

cumaeSibyl of Cumae was a prophetess in service to Apollo and a renowned beauty. Apollo wished to take her as his lover and was ready to offer her anything she desired. Unfortunately she didn’t ponder on her answer and instinctively asked to defy death: she wanted to live forever. It was easy for Apollo to grant her wish, he was a powerful god after all, but still she refused to become his lover. Greek gods were usually of a revengeful kind, and Apollo’s revenge consisted in granting Sibyl’s wish anyway, as he knew that giving that answer she had doomed herself to misery. In fact the boon Sybil had chosen was one of a cruellest kind. She wouldn’t have died just like anybody else but she would have kept growing older and older and older.

imagesVC9Q2RUJShe lived for hundreds of years, each year becoming smaller and frailer. When Trimalchio speaks of her in the Satyricon, she is little more than a tourist attraction, tiny, ancient, confined:I saw with my own eyes the Sibyl at Cumae hanging in a cage, and when the boys said to her: “Sibyl, what do you want?” she answered: “I want to die.” This is the scene Eliot quotes at the beginning of the Waste Land. The Sybil had given the wrong answer. Immortality doesn’t actually mean eternal happiness because time keeps on reminding its presence painfully “wasting” our bodies. But, had she asked for eternal beauty?

imagesUR2ZX0G4The moment  Dorian Gray may see the picture that celebrates his remarkable beauty, suddenly realizes that his charm very soon will slip away. He will never be as attractive as the portrait which stands in front of him. That picture will keep on reminding his inevitable decay. There are no gods or devils here, but his intense wish of eternal beauty is granted, therefore magically Dorian will remain young while the portrait grows old and ugly in his place. Time won’t touch his features but it will still be able to “waste”  his soul. In fact the portrait, which stands for Dorian’s conscience, will record the consequences of a life of debauchery, and every sin or crime committed will result in the disfigurement of its form. Dorian won’t bear to look at the picture any longer and he will destroy it, thus killing his true self. Therefore neither eternal youth nor immortality are the key to happiness. Ergo, what could the right answer be?


239 thoughts on “Make the right wish

  1. In my opinion, almost everything in life can be achieved in some ways. Obviously, not everything can be achieved, for example, physical characteristics can’t change, even if you want it. If I could change a thing in myself, I would probably say that I would like to be more outgoing with people I don’t know.

  2. This is a very difficult question, because, as the post says, every decision brings to both good and bad comsequences. Eternal richness can solve many problems, but you can’t buy happiness, love, beauty (this is not that impossible, however) and health. As “The picture of Dorian Gray” shows, neither eternal beauty can solve psychological problems. So, if I had to choose one wish only, I would go for psychological serenity or health. I can’t really decide which one I would prefer, but maybe the idea of never suffering from any kind of disease (especially in these times) or physical ache would win.

  3. As the post says, every desire leads to good and bad consequences. So, in my opinion, even if very pessimistic, the best desire might be to cease to exist. While this would lead to the absence of physical pleasures, it would make us stop suffering. Obviously all this in theory, since none of us know what lies beyond the absence of life.

  4. I honestly don’t know what I’d choose. as written in the post many desires then have a double face. the only thing that comes to my mind is health or happiness for me and my loved ones.

  5. The answer is easy from my point of view. The key to happiness is appreciating what we have and not desiring what we don’t have. If we do we will live a live running after something that eventually will make us suffer. Everything has its own consequences as “The picture of Dorian Gray” has shown. Maybe we should understand that what we have now, even if it may seem tragic in this moment, is something we will never have again, it is something that in the future we will look back to maybe thinking “what if I had done…”. Having regrets are the worst thing that could ever happen. Appreciate what you have and follow your goals. This is what I think happiness is.

  6. I would be 100% sure at choosing, and a I’m explaining the causes. As your two literar examples tell, living or being beautiful for ever wouldn’t be such a great idea. About love and fortune, I think you can get it even without the Lamp of Aladdin. The only thing you can’t control at all is actually the most important, in my opinion, and it is health. I know very well what being bad – healthy means, even “only” for this injury that has been hurting me for seven month, especially in the first ones. I life without healthy problems would be surely a better life, and in this way, it would be easier to have things like fortune, success, ecc…

  7. Apparently it is an easy question to answer, but in reality is very hard to find the right answer, every decision can have unpredictable and often, unpleasant consequences.
    If I have to pick one, l will probably choose happiness, something which is not easy to find, especially in these dark times.

  8. I would bypass genius by asking as my wish that all my future wishes come true😉.

    jokes aside, I agree with what the post says, which is that every desire results in good and bad events, so I would probably want to eliminate that lamp from existence, so that I can continue on my way.

  9. I think that if you spend your time better than now you can understand the importance of it. i hope that my creativity make other people in the future , after done something of important for society , say “wow! This is a grate work “

  10. If I had only one wish to make it would probably be very selfish. I believe that it is normal and that the human being thinks first of himself and then of others. If I had to say my second wish, the one that would also benefit other people, it would certainly be very special. I would give everyone the opportunity to travel around the world without paying. I believe that most discrimination of any kind and rivalry derive from ignorance. Knowing the world we live in and having relationships with every part of it would make us feel better, with more respect for the various realities that surround us and with more happiness in our hearts.

  11. Had I had this chance I would ask to see world peace realized, my biggest dream since I was a child. no jokes aside, I would ask for another wish without limitations or infamous clauses and then i would decide how to spend that wish: probably asking for the possibility to travel all over the world and get to know as many cultures as possible.

  12. It’s a very complicated question and therefore there is no “perfect” desire to choose. The human being will never be satisfied as history also teaches us and each of us has different needs. But if I had to choose a particular desire, I would choose health or a superpower.

  13. According to me, It don’t exist a right decision in this case. This because, our wishes are what we want really to. For instance, if I have the possibility to ask the genius to make one wish to come true, maybe, I’ll ask for a chance to be able to support my family and my close friends. I know that my wish can be strange or simple but, nowadays, it’s like if everything is around the money. So I want to spend my life with my family and my friends without the thought of money.

  14. I have always considered myself a shy and introverted boy, and this often led me to not give 100% of myself and not be able to make myself truly known, so if I have the Aladdin’s lamp, I would like to change this side of my character.
    Among the choices, if I really have to do it, I would choose health as I find it is fundamental in life. Without health, one cannot truly enjoy life. Health is the basis of everything, when one is ill, one doesn’t really enjoy things and everything becomes difficult.
    But if I have to think more generally, I find that none of the desires shown can be subjected to a “choice”, since in my opinion you shouldn’t try to have things you don’t have but you have to continue with what you have, exploit your qualities and make them to the best.

  15. Maybe the right answer to such a difficult question, actually doesn’t exist. I would probably choose eternal happiness. Infact the reason behind all my sacrifices today, is the hope that I will be really happy in the future. It is not really important what will make me happy, whether having a beautiful family, or a beautiful husband, or having reached the glory through swimming, or becoming the dentist I’d love to be, or maybe all these together, or maybe none, in any case the most important things are happiness and satisfaction, because in every situation, every single day, smiling is everything!

  16. As the post says, every desire has a positive or negative consequence. One of my desires, even if extreme, would be to try to relive my life in a different way, not entirely but putting just a little more desire into what I did to get better results. But the consequence of this desire would lead to a different version of me from this one now.

  17. Surely wishing for immortality is the most wrong thing there is, because in addition to getting old we would see all our relatives die before us. This would bring us great suffering. I believe that the right desire is that which brings benefit to people and not to ourselves. This probably would not make us as satisfied as we would like, but we are sure that we would not regret this choice. In fact, it is said that the only way to find our happiness is to help others find theirs.

  18. ‘Arabian Nights’ must be one of the greatest collections of short stories and fairy tales ever! ‘Sinbad the sailor’, ‘Ali Baba’ and ‘Aladdin’; it makes one wonder how did so many good stories end up between the pages of the same book: it’s unfair towards hard working writers all around the world!
    Anyway, I have no clue what wish I would like to have granted by the genie. Wealthiness and wellness? Some say there’s no such thing as too many moneys or too much health. Then, being omniscient? Nah, Dr. Faustus tried it first: it didn’t end up too well. Being undying or, better, eternal youth? Again, I wouldn’t want to be unoriginal, nor I would enjoy suffering for the rest of my, then never-ending, life (Mr. Grey would probably be livid that someone might have acted as recklessly as him). Some mystical powers? Resurrecting people! How risky though: what if someone made a new cult about me! I could get spoiled rather easily. Being able to fly? Then I would’ve to work and study for a pilot’s license… also, I would’ve to carry a radio around and I would’ve to buy some very warm clothes: it would be inconvenient being shot down or freezing to death while soaring the world thousands of feet above the ground, now, wouldn’t it? Ah, I can’t wrap my head around it! Selfishly speaking, I would love to be an unforgettable person: someone who is able to shape the world as people know it! Mh, not a good idea; currently, being a public figure is too harsh… I wouldn’t enjoy being “cancelled” by some people on Twitter or being badmouthed by every individual across this edgy world. Oh, how tiring of a task is this?

    Eureka! Now that I think about it, I reckon that the best wish would be something simple, yet meaningful. Having my family and true friends around me for as long as possible. Being able to make the people that really count happy. Being able to save peoples’ lives. Being able to lighten up a cloudy day. It’s too difficult for me to choose right now. However, I decided that it’s important to drop megalomania or egoism while trying to make the right choices about my life from now onwards! But maybe money wouldn’t be that bad…

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