Monday, October 12, 2009

A Search for the Soul of the World

My life is not one which is intimate with violence and hardship. To be sure, in comparison with the life of the rich, it is also not one of decadence and leisure; but in comparison with much of the world's people...most of the world...a whole fucking lot of people, I am in an enviable situation. I have some semblance of choice and freedom. More importantly (or perhaps, more accurately), I have some sense of control over my own life. Perhaps it is egocentric of me to assume it - ethnocentric at least - but I feel a great potential in my own mind and body, and a great confidence in the possibility to actualize it.

But how am I different from these 80 Chinese textile workers (drowning in the noise of sewing machines running in early mornings, the late afternoons, and the evenings all over again - tired eyes staring into the tiny stitches of haute couture)? How am I unique from the kids growing up under the Camorra in the Mediterranean heat? What right have I to be satisfied with this? Who am I supposed to thank for this blessing?

No one. For if it is a blessing to me, then it is a curse to 10 others. If there is some One to be thanked for this single life, that is One who should be damned for the sorry state of the others. I try to rationalize it, but the end of the logic always results in remainders. Excess. Garbage. This reality, this dumb facticity, this absurd world, which has absolutely no interest in me or my "success", hit me like a slug in the chest. It passed like a cold ghost through my breast plate and settled in somewhere next to my heart. And it will not go. No response to any solution I put to it - no finger can reach - nothing with which to dislodge or dissolve it.

What is just? That some few should stand on top of a mountain of dead? That we should pull some of the human wreckage below up along with us, but how shall we choose whom? And to what purpose is the ascent? What lies at the peak? Lies, lies - there is none. Nothing at the end of it all. And yet I fear to look back down behind me lest I should burst into tears. So where do I look? Into my soul and pray that I may find something still there...

10.13.2009, 12:09 am

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