My Personal Rhapsody: Sylvain's Burden to Save the World

My Personal Rhapsody is an intimate voyage to different galaxies representing lives of people who dared to step beyond their personal boundaries. By hearing their stories I do not aim to engage in a formal interview. What I look for is a free exchange between two people without pre-prepared questions. Listening to people’s stories and feeling them inspires me to rewrite their story in a magical, surrealist manner. I believe that each talk or discussion with another person is a two way communication, even if one of the persons chooses to remain silent. The reader is invited to see the story as a totality – energy shared by people exchanging words, motion, touch, breath, heartbeat.


illustrations by GODA PELE

Working in a laboratory everyday till late hours pleased a dark hair Frenchman Sylvain. The inner responsibility, pressure from inside and determination drove him to give birth to a tremendous change to the world. On a brink of depression Sylvain never had a single thought to stop working due to the burdensome sense of responsibility that he carried within. A friend of his, Arnauld, a man of elegance wearing a green velvet suit, used to come every morning at 4 am to convince Sylvain to give up his suffering “Why don’t you just live for yourself? Find a proper job and enjoy your life!” But the idea to take care of himself was simply too selfish for Sylvain “If I don’t make the change, then who will?” Being a self-taught physicist Sylvain was against the dictatorship of the educational system. He was against the current inefficient system, and wished to transfer the problem-solving responsibility to computers by way of digitalizing the world “Digitalization will encompass all aspects of life. We need to find the best form of digitalization” greeted Sylvain his friend Arnauld.

One day the local philharmonic inquired Sylvain if he could help solving a problem. They wished the music played by itself without any musicians, any instruments or technology, the earthly music to be played directly from the universe. Being fascinated by the classical music, and being a common guest at the philharmonic, Sylvain gladly agreed to give a helping hand. He took up this quest to provide the necessary coding to connect the universe with his computer and extract a magnificent musical piece. “If I want to change the world, I should be able to solve the musical problem”, thought Sylvain.

Sylvain worked on the problem for weeks. He ignored his surroundings, including having meals. He wrote schemes on a sheet of paper until it got very messy and then he transferred them to his computer. Sylvain had almost found a way to connect the universe with his computer. In fact, the universe was communicating all kinds of sounds, yet Sylvain was not able to get a coherent piece, the piece expected by the Philharmonic. He scribbled over a hundred sheets of notes, and yet, one code was missing. A code that is the key to the abundance of the universe.


As the nights have passed, Sylvain kept on working on the very last code. His energy levels were low and he drifted off to sleep on his desk. Among a number of other dreams, Syvain had a dream of a cat eating his friend Arnauld. The cat then quickly transformed into Arnauld’s body and whispered words Sylvain could not understand. Then his friend Arnauld appeared at a window sill and left an envelope by Sylvain’s desk. The envelope was of such value, Sylvain truly felt it with his whole heart. Yet he was not able to open it. The envelope was sealed as if superglued and he could not see what was written inside. He knew that the paper contained vital information to solve the philharmonic problem. Unable to open the sheet of paper and read the missing key, Sylvain erupted with anger and frustration and woke up from the nightmare in sweat. He jumped out of his bed and ran towards his desk. To his surprise he found the envelope on his desk. Silvain opened it easily and took a small paper from its inside. The paper said nothing. Nothing’s what Sylvain’s eye could see.

It’s almost 4 am and Sylvain’s friend Arnauld appears, again in his green velvet suit. This time Arnauld is carrying a potion with him. Perplexed with what he experienced, Sylvain tried to rationalize his odd dream with an envelope to his friend. While listening attentively, Arnauld took the envelope, opened the potion, whispered the same words, which he used in Sylvain’s dream, and poured the potion over the paper. Very slowly the secret key connecting the universe and Sylvain’s computer started to show up. Terrified and astonished, Sylvain fainted on the floor of his room.

Awaken, Sylvain found the key, but was unable to solve the problem because he was emotionally drowned. The only thought that came to his mind was that the burden of saving the world is still there and he cannot provide an immediate solution swiftly. Sylvain kept on thinking he is the only one to find a solution and the whole world is against him. He started screaming to Arnauld and blaming the world. Arnauld quickly opened Sylvain’s jaws, poured the magic potion and put Sylvain to sleep.

The day of the event at the philharmonic has arrived. Sylvain calmly stands on his feet, chooses his favorite green velvet suit, attaches a white orchid on the left side of his jacket and whistles towards the philharmonic carrying two tickets. Sylvain’s head is clear. No burden is seen in the horizon, he has achieved it all in his life. He is the best form of himself. In fact, Sylvain does not even recall about the problem he aimed to solve. He laughs at the cat chasing its tail, observes leaves falling onto his head, watches a flock of birds passing.. Finally, he takes a seat at the philharmonic. His friend Arnauld arrives and the performance begins.


Heavenly music starts playing softly, like an ocean wind blows through the sandy beach on a warm sunny day. The all-encompassing sound of the wind reaches the night sky, whispers to whales and passes its energy to the forest. Child-like rustling tree leaves are jumping up and down creating a joyful harmony. Flowers are swinging and spreading a sweet odor of anticipation. Suddenly, light drops of rain join the symphony with their fresh and tickling touches on boji stones. The thunder begins to roar to the ocean, shivering stillness arrives as a pause each time. The moon laughs to the stars and disappears in the clouds. Colorful birds dance and chirp to the sky inviting observers to feel the energy of the music. Sylvain sits next to his friend Arnauld holding his hand. His heart is full of love to the music, the people and the world. “Thank you for showing me the beauty of life, Arnauld”, whispered Sylvain. He is here, in the moment, fully immersed, listening to the tickling sounds playing with his ears.

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