On the world as mirror

Yeah, brain, that’s the right move. Let’s make everything about us.

I don’t know how else we’re supposed to relate to anything.

On with it then.

Charlottesville…

Yes. Tragic.

That’s some shit you say about a story, not reality. “Tragic” works when you’re describing a fiction you have no control over, not a way of being you’re responsible for.

I’m responsible for this domestic terrorism?

You’re involved in sustaining the fertile ground from which it grows; namely, your lazy, distant observation of it, as though Charlottesville is an event that has only marginal relevance to your existence. Just by calling it “Charlottesville,” you’ve undone its connection to you. You rest comfortably in your new home, incredulous to the turmoil swirling all around you. When you look around, all you see and feel is peace, so how is it possible, you wonder, that others are REALLY suffering? You get it as an intellectual exercise, and even at times as a felt truth, but you’re not really aware of what’s going on. You don’t want to be. You don’t even want to write this, to acknowledge your complicity. The likely reason you’re posting this is for some cheap catharsis that you think excuses you from meaningful action, as if your writing is your doing. Given your minimal audience, this right here is a self-serving nothing. You’re a coward.

I know that.

And so? Your knowledge is not sanctuary. Stop seeking refuge in what you think you “know.” Oh, you “know” people are suffering? Good for you. I guess go make another latte, right? 

Well what am I supposed…

I don’t know. Your privilege is all the space you have to be craven and complacent. Is that the space you wish to keep holding? This white maleness? And don’t let that categorization melt into exoneration. Just because you’re aware that you’re white and male (wow!) doesn’t give you a way out of your whiteness and maleness. They aren’t static Platonic concepts that you simply look up to, point at and go, “oh yeah, me.” They’re part of a dynamic reality that you’re actively constructing, perhaps even strengthening in your recognition. You know that it’s there, and then all you do is think about it?

I try to get others to think about it…

So teaching is your excuse?

I prefer to view it as my engagement with the issues; it’s how I’m taking up my responsibility.

Pawning it off to braver people than you?

I don’t see how such self-laceration is productive. It may not be everything I could be doing, but it’s not nothing.

“It’s not nothing.” Is that what you would want to hear if you lived under different circumstances, circumstances that didn’t favor such patience? Such hope? You live according to an optimism that isn’t validated by life as it is. And before you try to claim that you live to serve others (which, let’s be real, is contingent on convenient proximity), reflect on your efforts. You serve yourself.

Fine. I do.

And?

I don’t know. It’s true. I serve myself.

And?

I can’t apologize for it, even if it were sincere. I don’t know how much I’m really willing to sacrifice.

You have the luxury of not knowing. You also have the luxury of pretending that your knowing is doing.

Luxury?

Watch what happens when you hit “Publish.” Go ahead. Cleanse your…

 

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