Do you know how to wish?

Do we really want what we wish for? Do our wishes actually come from our inner needs and desires? Or are we so tamed and trained to the extent that we can only wish for what we should?

About two weeks ago I visited the Immigration Museum in Melbourne which was hosting several exhibitions with the theme of migration to Australia. Although the ideas behind the exhibitions were respectable, they were not at all original but mostly sentimental cliches. There was only one piece that actually caught my eyes and I ended up spending most of my time in the museum observing it. It was a sort of a wish tree. The idea was that people wrote their wishes on pieces of paper and attached them to strings resembling branches of a tree. The result was a colourful tree with hundreds of wish-leaves hanging from it. At the time I was actually struck by the novelty of the idea. However, a few days later I found out that even this piece was not original. I saw the same kind of tree in a documentary on the Bohemian life in Melbourne in 1970-80. I also, completely accidentally, found a similar tree in Newcastle’s Honeysuckle a few nights later.
Despite the unoriginality of the idea, the mere fact that you have access to the wishes of so many people, virtually from all walks of life, is invaluable. You can experience lots of different emotions in a short period of time. It can also give you a boost of creativity by imagining the people making the wishes as well as an insight to deeper layers of society.

Weaving princess

Based on a Japanese myth, the king of the Sky and his daughter were responsible for the skies. She was called the Weaving Princess because she wove the clouds, fog and mist.
The king gave her daughter a day off because she seemed sick. She was allowed to go and play amongst the stars. She came to the Milky Way. She met, played and fell in love with a herd boy. So at the end of the day she didn’t want to go back to her father.
The king became furious when he understood what she had been doing. He told her that she couldn’t have another day off again. He poured water into the Milky Way, making it impossible for the Weaving Princess to ever visit the herd boy again.
The Princess tried to weave again but she was so sad and lonely that she just sat there and wept all day. The sky became emptier and emptier, with no clouds, and no mist and no fog.
The King saw how unhappy she was and agreed to let her have one day off per year. That is why, on the seventh night of the seventh month, the Weaving Princess crosses the Milky Way on a bridge made of magpies, and plays with her beloved herd boy.
It is also why Japanese children celebrate the Tanabata Festival on July 7th every year when they write their wishes on  bright pieces of paper (tankazu papers), and hang them on bamboo branches, to remind the King of the Sky that it is time to keep his promise again, and to hope that their wishes come true.

Happiness, health and peace or the manipulated unconscious of the Middle class

A significant percentage of the wishes was concerned with happiness, health and peace for the person, her family or in many cases, everyone. These wishes, which may look nice and kind at first, are actually signs of lack of creativity, settled established social cliches and unawareness, or even absence, of personal goals. They are so common and ordinary that you can easily find pre-written gift cards for them in your local supermarket.
I don’t really believe that wishes of this kind are real (in the sense that they are actually coming from the heart) because they are completely impersonal. Their popularity among people of all walks of life shows that the true source is somewhere other than the person making the wish.
Making such wishes indicates that one doesn’t have any immediate need, no real concern. so she can step back and look at the world in a seemingly objective fashion and probably try to analyse what can be good for us all. And then write the wish down. But the fact that even the grammar and the way the wish is expressed is almost the same among all people shows that they are not even contemplated, they are not discovered but just memorised. The wish maker is merely remembering.
I should remind the fact that nobody is forcing people to make a wish, no one is required to write their name on the wish paper. So the idea that people need to be polite and politically correct is immediately refuted. This cliché wishes are probably what people really think they want. This is a tragedy.
(To be honest, before I started reading the wishes I actually wanted to write something sanity all around the world and I genuinely believed that I was thinking something original. But when I read the wishes I understood I wasn’t actually wishing)

We don’t need no education

Looking at the wishes one cannot help but notice that there are some serious problems rooted in the system of education:
– Some kids, instead of wishing for something fun or to become someone important in the future, just wish they can do well in school. In other words, schools kill kids imagination to picture something well ahead in time making them worry just about here and now. I’m not saying kids shouldn’t care about their school. They most certainly should. What I’m saying is the kid whose wish is to get good grades at the end of the term (the way I was when I was a kid), should be kicked out of the school to better understand the real world.
– Education system as well as the media have become copy machines, duplicating minds and thoughts in the order of millions. They have reached to the point that they even make people’s wishes alike.
– This is a minor issue but shows that the education system has failed in the main purpose of its being: Many people make spelling and grammatical mistakes when writing their wishes!

Honest wishes

There were, however, some truly honest wishes. They were usually made by kids or the people with real, immediate problems.


I wish for a Puppy
I wish I had a boyfriend (Might have been a grown-up)
A little sister please (This one might have been tricked by the parents!)
I wish for a pair of big high-heels (At least two kids,  I assume girls, had made this wish)
Basketball hoop
I wish for a Lalaloopsy that poops charms
A new pretty dress
I wish for a dog and “ginypig”
I wish to become a famous scooter rider! (I assume he is a kid!)

People with real problems

Healthy grandbaby
I wish for a cure for Autism so my son can have a happy healthy life 😦
I wish for my partner to wake up smiling everyday, feeling loved. And for my children to grow up knowing they are loved by us.
I wish Scotland will qualify for the football world cup
I wish for gay rights
I wish for the dancer’s to stop dancing.
$$$$ (This might be a kid’s)

Consistency of the content with the container

Strangely, few wishes in the Immigration Museum had anything to do with the theme of migration. I didn’t see any wish of this sort in Newcastle.

Study, Stay Forever with MeMe, Pass The IELTS, Family Happiness, Healthy
I wish I finish my studies and get my residence in Australia, also I wish my family to migrate here in future!
I wish … I can come back to work in Australia in 2015

There must always be one

I wish for three more wishes.

4 thoughts on “Do you know how to wish?

  1. Lovethe comment above, “A novel perspective on an unoriginal theme.”- but seriously, when you speak of sentimentality or cliche- I think I would feel alarmed by original wishes that were not [!] sentimental, my feeling is there would be something inhumane about them, and of course wishes entrapped by conventionalism are suffociating and nauseating. Very interesting blog- and I would call it an original theme, and more to the point, an important one- subtle and profound. A good question, that is very testing: “do we know how to wish?” This is vital for those whose hope is in doubt. thank you Pooya.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Niko for reading and commenting.
      By opposing sentimental clichés, I’m not refusing sentiments. I’m saying that many of us are sentimental, but our emotions sometimes have been abused to reshape our thoughts, to hold us back from thinking differently and challenging the dominant hegemony.


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