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?


141 thoughts on “Make the right wish

  1. If I could rub Aladdin’s lamp….I ,probably, wouldn’t!
    I have learnt enough, from books and comics, to know that playing with supernatural things is like playing with fire. Everything you wish for will, inevitably, turn against you. So better NOT to touch that lamp!
    But if I really have to wish for something I would, defenetly, wish something armless and simple, like the good ol’ world peace!

  2. I think the right answer does not exist. First of all, everyone has different desires, so it changes between people. Secondly nobody has only one wish. Yes there are the ‘big’ wishes like health, fortune, fame, happiness etc.. but choosing one has always harsh consequences. For example what is the point of always be happy: if there’s no sorrow, happiness would lose its meaning. I don’t want that wish but if I am forced to choose one it will be universal freedom. Freedom to be who and how you want to be, freedom to make your own choices, freedom to say whatever you want to say, freedom to express yourself in every way, freedom to live your life.

  3. If I could rub the lamp of Aladdin, I ask to go back in time, when I was little, at the age of four years old when my parents left. I would ask the genius to have a united family, an example of love to give my children when they will ask me what love is and the secret to keep in time. I would not ask for beauty, money or immortality, I just want the affection of a joint family who choose to spend together every day and forever and to love me in the same way.

  4. Absolutely health. Even in poverty or other difficult situations. You could have success, money, a wonderful family and so on but to spend happily your life, your health must be perfect. If I could make a wish, I would not like anything except health.

  5. First of all , I would reject immortality and eternal beauty because I do not want to end up of Sybil of Cumae and Dorian Gray ; than I would reject success because we often can hear of successfull actors and singers who kill oneself beacuse depression . Morover I reject also peace and love in the world beacuse I’am not Miss Italia . So I think that if I could rub the Lamp of Aladdin I would like to realize myself during my life beacuse perhaps it is the only key to being happy .

  6. I think that live forever happy is something impossible even for gods. The important thing in life is to use ours intelligence to feel satisfied. Indeed happiness only depends on ourselves. So if i could ask a wish to realize is to be always happy of what i do.

  7. I definitely would choose happiness because in it is implicitly contained every wish and I believe that it is a universal aspiration

  8. If I follow my instinct, I will ask for more wishes or something sly like this; but if I stop to think, I will probably throw away the lamp. I am pretty sure that every wish has his dark hidden side, that can change your life first better and than worst, because you have to pay what you have been given. If life is hard enough, why should I make it worse? Thanks, but I prefer to remain in my balanced situation between happyness and depression.

  9. I would ask the genius of the lamp freedom. Freedom to choose my friends, my jobs, freedom to achieve my desires, my dreams. This is the only wish that I want to come true… obviously I would also ask him to score do three goals against Lazio!

  10. If I had choose between the desire of Dorian Grey or that of Sibyl of Cuma certainly I choose the first because both desires involve immortality but I would have the power to choose between life and death, just like Dorian did.
    If I had choose my own I would like to become a God, like the Greeks or the Romans Gods, that is I would have all possible powers.

  11. If I could steal the Aladdin’s lamp I think I will wish I never grow old.Because I can’t think that my body will age,lose healthy and strength instead your mind remain the same.So definitely I will choose the eternal youth,also it would mean remain the same forever.

  12. If I still the Aladin’s lamp, I would ask the ability to time travel as I can come back in the past or in the future but this travel is very dangerous because I must be careful because I could change the present or create new time line l

  13. I don’t know what I want particularly. I believe that in these situations the person who has the choise of the desire could be always the victim. This doesn’t depend on you so you just hope and not care about the conseguenzes. I don’t know which is my desire but I believe that it should be a desire which regards something material. A simple material desire.

  14. I would probably ask for happiness. True friends, health, a beautiful and loyal wife, economic wealth and all those things that would allow me to achieve my personal idea of happiness.

  15. If it were possible, i would probably ask immortalitý. But not the same immortality of sybil. I would desire being spiritually immortal, and being remembered in the next ages.
    However I need no lamp’s genius to accomplish this desire 😉.

  16.  It must be nice to have the opportunity to know people that lived in the past, such as important characters who have made history, or our ancestors. I want to know them and discover things that were not passed down.

    Vittorio Porrini 5 A

  17. I would ask some kind of special power, maybe i would ask him the ability to stop time and move freely. This would make my life way easier and funnier.  The problem is: during the frozen time would i still keep on aging? Even if the answer is yes, i think that i will not regret this choice. Life would not be the same without the fear of death, i am not interested in denying this aspect of life with a desire.

    Florian Rettaroli

  18. If I would have the opportunity to make a wish, I would probably choose happiness. With happiness I don’t mean to be rich or to be famous. But for me to be happy is to live a life with a family I love and to be as healthy as possible. In my opinion that is because everyone has his own perception and idea of happiness.

  19. I think it is really difficult to find “the perfect wish”.
    We always hope to meet, one day, a genius, a person, who can satisfy our dreams and desires but actually, when we really start thinking about what we could ask for, we realize the answer is not so easy as we had thought.
    Everything that comes to my mind soon appears shallow or useless in few minutes.
    Maybe, even if it could sound stupid, I would ask “to live”.
    I would like to have the chance to live as intensely as I can, without the problems concerning health. I want to have the canche of doing mistakes and to live, to find my world, my freedom and I want to find love, however long it takes.
    And I think that we have the canche to do whatever we want in our hands because this is our life and it is made by our choises, and very often we can not live because of problems connected to health, and I know it very well.

  20. I think is difficult Think of a desire That I May be desired More than anything, however, I think What if I stood up I would choose The opportunity to be able to live intensely my life, allowing me to have everything it has to offer Definitely my Bigger That desire and to feel a complete person is she afraid of dying Aware of have lived Because life is Made of time and if That time well spent no can That feel proud of you. So my hypothetical desire to Know What It All Shades of the world.

  21. If I could express the greatest desire of my life, I would ask for staying with my family forever.
    I believe that family symbolizes the main strength of everybody, the reference point which gives you the stability and the courage to face the difficult situations of life. Besides, I believe that when you are surrounded by people who love you, you can find the real happiness and you can stay in peace with yourself. This is what everybody needs in their lives and this is the wish I would express.

  22. Hi teacher,
    I would like to know what happens after death.
    The world has always been conditioned by this mystery.

  23. I think it is possible to choose either options.: one could wish to be etearnal and the other to die at wish. Because in Oscar Wilde’s novel: Dorian Grays the wish of enernal life was granted and he was able to die so I think this is the best choice.

  24. Like yourself, Valerio and others, I would probably choose good health. However, I may extend that to something else. Let me explain.
    My grandmother, who was very wise and kind and beautiful (like everyone’s grandmother!) taught me something very early in my life. She asked me one day, “Lance. Do you know what the word ‘wealthy’ means?”
    I replied, “Yes. Of course. It means having plenty of money.”
    She told me that I was far from the truth and that it was an amalgamation of “well-being” and “healthy.” If you are living a happy life and you have good health, you are wealthy. She told me that she knew of many people who had vast fortunes, yet were extremely unhappy. “They are not wealthy, Lance.”
    My grandmother had hardly any money, but she was very wealthy.
    So, if the genie appeared before me and would grant just a single wish, I would wish for, in my grandmother’s terms, wealth.

  25. Reblogged this on Lance Greenfield and commented:
    Like Stefania, Valerio and others, I would probably choose good health. However, I may extend that to something else. Allow me to explain.

    My grandmother, who was very wise and kind and beautiful (like everyone’s grandmother!) taught me something very early in my life. She asked me one day, “Lance. Do you know what the word ‘wealthy’ means?”

    I replied, “Yes. Of course. It means having plenty of money.”

    She told me that I was very far from the truth and that the word “wealthy” was an amalgamation of “well-being” and “healthy.” If you are living a happy life and you have good health, you are wealthy.

    She told me that she knew of many people who had vast fortunes, yet were extremely unhappy. “They are not wealthy, Lance.”

    My grandmother had hardly any money, but she was very wealthy. She was not at all materialistic, but she was very happy with her life.

    So, if the genie were to appear before me and would grant just a single wish, I would wish for, in my grandmother’s terms, wealth.

    Footnote: a quirky thought occurred to me while I was writing this introduction to Stefania’s blog post. What would be the consequences if one were to make a wish to swap lives with the genie? Interesting!

  26. Surely this hard choice would make me feel very anxious, for the fear of making the same mistake of the Sibyl or Dorian.
    I think that every wish I can imagine to ask the genius would deal with some trivial happiness. About happiness I know that it has a far more good taste when it comes after having faced obstacles, and suddenly everything we passed seems to have some sense. just like immortality without the fear of death, happiness without sadness loses its value. One of my biggest fears is to die sad, so maybe rubbing this lamp I would simply ask to be happy in the very last 5 minutes of my life, and to forget my wish soon after having expressed it…I’m just thinking about when we are children and we play with daisies taking the petals one by one saying “m’ama, non m’ama”. If those petals were “happy, not happy”, I would enjoy taking all of them, arriving with glad surprise to the last happy one (unfortunately the daisy would have not a so happy ending😂). I don’t know if it could be the “right wish”, but maybe the key to not fall in some big mistakes is in having little expectations, not aspiring to something bigger than ourselves. However very probably I would immediately ask for the power of eating without putting on weight.

  27. if I had the opportunity to choose for a wish, I would certainly ask the power to read the thoughts of those around me. I have always wanted to know what people around me think of me, if what they say is actually the truth. I am aware, however, that this desire could also be a ruin for me because knowing that their thinking is another (for example, negative), knowing me I could be very ill. so it would be nice but maybe it’s better not to know the truth because sometimes it can hurt.

  28. Well… except for more wishes, I would not wish for world peace, or for the world hunger to stop. I have learned that if you wish for problems to disapear, new ones will always grow. I woud not even wish to be rich, succsessful or any sort of material stuff.
    My wish would definitely be to know what future holds for me. I would love to know where in the world I will be living in ten years and what will be my job.
    However I would also ask the genius to make me forget his answer so that I will still live my life with a purpose.
    This is definitely not the right wish, but I really don’t think there’s one.

  29. Probably it is not possible to make a wish without consequences.
    I could wish for health, but there will be a time when this will no longer be desired.
    I could wish to always have luck, but all it would be easy.
    I could wish to have success, but I would not have worked to get it.
    For these reasons, I believe that there is no real desire to be expressed, but we must only live life as our destiny has decided.

  30. I believe that to find the right answer is quite impossible. Anyway, if I had the chance to make one wish I would probably ask to live my life in the best way possible: having a beautiful family, health, happiness, independence and economical wealth thanks to a job which I love is definitely my dream for my future.

  31. If i had the opportunity to choose for a desire i would instinctively ask for fortune. I think that it can lead to happiness in various situations. However even though fortune would be nice i know about the consequences of supernatural, just like Dorian gray or the Sibyl of Cumae, so maybe i will not ask for anything. My life is beautiful even without the help of a genius so i would not risk bad consequences for any kind of desire.

  32. It is really difficult to answer this question. It seems like a simple question, but if you think about it, it’s the question that nobody really knows how to answer. Perhaps the only desire that I would express is to be able to go back in time but not to change the course of events. I would like to be able to go back just for a few minutes to be able to tell a person
    things that I’ve never said and with whom I always live together. There is no right desire par excellence because what seems perfect for one person is seen differently from another and so on. Desire is the most subjective thing that exists and that sometimes masks for fear of what others think and this is the biggest mistake for me: hiding behind a mask because sooner or later the real “You” comes out as the literature teaches us.

  33. It is well known that appealling to magic or magical instruments, to make the most intimate desires come true, is dangerous.
    This is taught by many texts of literature for example : English as the Portrait of Dorian Gray or Doctor Faustus or Latin as Satyricon. But if I had to express a desire, a pure desire, and not what would be right to desire, I would desire to succeed in what I do, as many other people who maybe do not have the courage to say it.

  34. My desire is that all people could have the strenght and determination to realize their own desires without needing a genius to do it for them. In this way the value of life would increase because everyone could defend themselves to be able to live life until the last second, without having to desire immortality like Sibyl. Magic is not necessary, we and our decisions are the magic! For example this is what Jane Eyre teaches us.

  35. I think that what it is really impossible is finding the right wish suitable for us. I do believe that everyone has a secret aspiration for life or something which they intensely want to come true. If I would have the privilege to ask the genius to make one wish to come true, I would surely ask for letting my life continue just like it is now. Right now I do not feel the need to ask something more over what I already have. I feel complete and immensely joyful having my family and all my affections around me. According to me these are the things that make a life happiness and precious. At this moment I am all this, and for this reason I would probably ask to prolong these joyful moments as much as possible! This would be my greater wish above all!

  36. Well… I guess I could not choose to have more wishes. Just one single wish… the choice must be pondered. I think that I would go for happiness; and what makes somebody happier other than a gorgeous and intelligent wife, maybe 1 or 2 lovely kids and a good and well-payed job? Yes I would probably wish to have this kind of happiness.

  37. If I had the chance to have a magic lamp with which to fulfill my wishes I would certainly want the health of my family, besides I would also find the real love and I would also like to learn English as well as my teacher😅. Unfortunately I doubt that all this is possible because the happiness isn’t obtained with a magic lamp but only with one’s own sacrifices.

  38. The right desire does not exist in fact we can desire something and a moment later do not want it anymore but if I had to make only one wish it would be happiness for a lifetime

  39. I would like to go back in time, but with the current awareness , even if perhaps this would also be a limit because obviously I would have no longer that carefree and that healthy childishness. I would like both to relive the good memories but above all to avoid the mistakes I made and to change some of my choice. But it is also true that my mistakes made the person who I am now.

  40. In my opinion I would be totally happy and without problems only having the possibility to stop time. In this way I could spend my time as I want and on the basis of what I need; if I have to sleep, study or be with someone, but I have no time, I could stop it.
    Time has always been my enemy, and we have no control over it. This is the reason why we will always need more time.

  41. Probably I would choose happiness,it’s the goal of life.According to Schopenhauer life is a pendulum which oscillates between pain and  boredom , and what we call happiness is only a cessation of this pain.Happiness is only a illusion that raises us from this pain.For this the most of the people as me would choose happiness ,but probably a right answer doesn’t exist.

  42. If I could express only one desire, I would probably choose to travel around the world, to see the different cultures and different ways of life that exist.

  43. Assuming I can make a wish, likely I would spend a lot of my time to do the right choice (if it exists). Perhaps I whatched too many movies but I think that each times someone make a wish, something goes wrong and your deepest wish becomes your deepest fear. If I sure at 100% that my wish becomes real I think I would able to fly, maybe is the dream of many people and I don’t seem original but it’s want I would able to do.

  44. If I had the opportunity to choose for a wish, I would ask to have endless desires.
    thanks to this desire I can have always all I want when I want, without ask anything to anyone to be independent.

  45. I think It is very difficult to male a choise when You have to get a wish .That is for many reasons:
    The human raice is really complicated to be’ satisfied . In the same moment we reach something , we immediatly think about something else. That is not bad because That is why we are so ambicious.
    So my wish would not be on something material because it would be useless but it would be based on being happy for example staying away from health problems.

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