Paradise is wha­te­ver we want it to be.

How, af­ter all, could it be other­wi­se? How, for in­stan­ce, could Co­co Cha­nel and Pri­mo Le­vi in­ha­bit the sa­me Paradise? Ea­ch one’s paradise would be in the other’s hell.

And so, we all go to the Paradise we mo­st de­si­re. If you want to be young and beau­ti­ful fo­re­ver, that’s no pro­blem. Or you can age gra­ce­ful­ly, rea­ch ma­tu­ri­ty, and start all over again, at 18.

If you want to fall in lo­ve fo­re­ver, it can hap­pen. Or if you’d ra­ther fall in lo­ve wi­th so­meo­ne new eve­ry night, that’s pos­si­ble, too.

Paradise is a gol­den ci­ty full of Mi­che­lin th­ree-star re­stau­ran­ts and de­si­gner bou­ti­ques…


Paradise is a va­st field of green, dot­ted wi­th gra­zing sheep, whe­re a gen­tle wind is the on­ly sound… Or…

Paradise is your chil­d­hood ho­me; Paradise is a moun­tain ran­ge that tum­bles do­wn to a bea­ch; Paradise is a vil­la­ge whe­re the ci­ti­zens sing Broad­way show tu­nes as they go hap­pi­ly about their dai­ly bu­si­ness.

You can ma­ke less tra­di­tio­nal choi­ces, too. Paradise is your own pri­va­te cor­po­ra­tion who­se stock is al­ways up; Paradise is you wi­th your rag­ged ro­be and your beg­ging bo­wl, wan­de­ring the ear­th.

The be­st part of Paradise, ho­we­ver, is this. Paradise un­der­stands that our souls tend to grow re­stless, as weeks turn in­to years and years turn in­to de­ca­des.

We get ti­red of ea­ting and shop­ping. We grow bo­red wi­th the bea­ches and the fields, wi­th the cor­po­ra­tions that can on­ly pro­sper. The cheer­ful, sin­ging vil­la­gers start get­ting on our ner­ves.

We may find our­sel­ves asking our­sel­ves, “Why did I want this Paradise? What was I thin­king?” He­re’s the good news. We can chan­ge our minds. We can al­ter our Pa­ra­di­ses whe­ne­ver, and ho­we­ver, we choo­se.

We can lea­ve the gol­den ci­ty and mo­ve to the sheep-dot­ted field. Or we can com­mand a ci­ty to ap­pear in the midd­le of the field, get rid of the sheep. We can de­stroy our fac­to­ries, and start over again. Of cour­se, ea­ch new Paradise pa­les wi­th fa­mi­lia­ri­ty. But we can al­ways crea­te yet ano­ther one.

As ti­me pas­ses, we find that our grea­te­st hap­pi­ness lies in our an­ti­ci­pa­tion of the next Paradise.

And the next, and the next, and the next. • ori­gi­nal text pa­ge 142

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