To judge a period of time is a weird thing that probably only humans do and consider necessary to do. Was it a good year? Probably the answer to this question is not as important as the question of why we need to know. We desire to know because we want to state our place in the world, and to find out if others need us, if there is the hope for more…
The German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer coined one of my favorite notions: “fusion of horizons” (Horizontverschmelzung). I read an article these days that noted that in order not to be disappointed with the holidays, we need to “lower our expectations.” The writer is surely well intended and wants to prevent people from being frustrated and sad because things are not always as you imagine them to be. Contrary to expectations—a notion a little bit on the side of capitalism and economic performance—the horizon provides us with a wonderful way of projecting feelings that situate us in relationship with others, with reality and circumstances…
The fusion of horizons refers to the ways our projections and views on life at a small and also large scale regarding simple things like an encounter with a friend, meet. When our horizons fuse we gain interpretative power—Gadamer says. Try to visualize it, two—or more—situated phantasies of life collude and aquatically create an energy that assists us in understanding more about others, about how senses are created. Indeed, sense is created collectively through a strange coming together of positive experiences that help us to understand that hope is made of abandoning our single horizons to encounter these collective fused new horizons. So, if the word “expectation” refers to accomplishment and disappointment from an individual point of view, the fusion of horizons refers to the ways our imaginations of the near future are able to merge and how we can collectively meet there, too.
This is the reason why we need to keep projecting and planning on clouds—as my mother describes it—because it is there we will meet again, and even if we know not all will be realized, for a short while we will enjoy this feeling of lightness that takes us away from the heaviness of our daily lives. Daydreaming, collectively, gives us a sense of togetherness that we need in order to continue living. Try to visualize it: We are normally standing, with our heads up, and this causes us major trouble, since our feet never really experience the skies or our heads the earth. But in our daydreaming, in our wishing we gain a more immersive dimension. Our bodies navigate our dreams and visions of the future, future joys and encounters, future good things that may happen and even future fears, much like a dolphin does, almost always inside the water but coming out to breathe. Breathing outside our fantasies helps us to read them better. We learn a lot from dreaming, and it is a way to expand the space in which we feel fine, where life is not felt as a burden.
Joy should be respected and celebrated. We need it to stay generous and open to the needs of others. This is what art is for me, a permanent source of fused horizons that emerge again and again in front of us, expanding our worlds and nourishing our moods with exhilaration. I really hope these holidays you find the time to fantasize with others, to draw on clouds, dance on rainbows, and to gain a sense of delight and enchantment so that some new nice “something” will occur to you.
Lots of love to all of you, and happy days ahead.
Animation by Esther Hunziker, inspired by Joan Pallé’s inflatable cat