I stand and blood leaves my head. I brace myself against the wall in front of me, my arms crossed above my head. I close my eyes. Today will be a good day. I open my eyes to see the hole in my heart on the wall in front of me. It is larger than I expected and an unusual shape, sort of the outline of a pepper with flesh missing from left side. Now I can see my entire heart – different shades of different passions color it’s surface. Each passion blends with the next so that it would be impossible to cut one love out. But here it is all the same, a hole, a void. And I know it’s name. Still, it is not hard to smile in this moment, to smile at this pain. Even this hole is a part of me. It is beautiful because it is a part of me. And, in this moment, it could not be any other way.
the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.
Equality among humans is a noble goal. As a result of discrimination, many people with different demographically related identities may experience different levels of favor. The problem is not that women, or people of African dissent, or homosexuals are viewed as different. Many of our differences are apparent to those of us who attempt to see the world for what it is. The problem is that those in positions to provide favor would seem to give more credence to these differentiations than they are due. A scientific approach tends to result in an understanding that these arbitrary differentiations are fairly useless when it comes to determining the value of a person. So what effect does highlighting these differences have on those with the power? The natural response when one is attacked is to be defensive. As long as the attitude is one of us and them, those who are in power, will keep their guards up. Perhaps the goal is righteous, but the approach is twisting the message. Perhaps the approach should be equality for all. When we advocate for women’s rights, men may see this as a threat. When we advocate for equality of the sexes, most of us will recognize that this issue affects us. So, no, I’m probably not what one would call a feminist. I do, however, support efforts toward equality of the sexes. In many cases, this means supporting women’s rights. In few cases, this may mean supporting men’s rights. But this division is means to our enslavement. If we fight amongst each other, we cannot unite.
“Divide and rule (or divide and conquer, from Latin dīvide et imperā) in politics and sociology is gaining and maintaining power by breaking up larger concentrations of power into pieces that individually have less power than the one implementing the strategy.”
Nivek was a beast of short stature. He was just shy of 4 feet when he stood up straight, which was something he did often in an attempt to compensate. His thin, hairless body was a pale, grey color. His long ears often curled under his chin, except, of course, for when he was with me. Nivek knew from years of experience that I was a safe human. He knew I would not yell at or hit him. It was my aspirations of peace that made me such an easy target for him. Nivek took pleasure in pestering me. Initially, his apparent goal was to get a rise out of me. When he didn’t, he seemed to get a kick out of the fact that I took his abuse passively. He spent entire meals together poking me in the arm with his finger, making groaning noises as he poked. When this got no response, he began slamming his head against the table as he continued to poke and groan. No one in the diner paid any mind to his tantrums. When this yielded no response, he attempted to attack me as a person. On one occasion, he continuously attempted to dip his sandwich in my soup. When I refused, he suggested I was being a hypocrite, “Peace is sharing.”, he said. He enjoyed discussing the most vomit-inducing things he had encountered in the week past as I ate. Again, when I broached the topic, he accused me of hypocrisy. One evening, in the middle of a poking session, as Nivek pounded his head against the table, I looked him in the eye. He froze. I said, “Stop!”. The waitress, who happened to be passing by, said to me, “Honey, who are you talking to?”
I like to think that about 34 years and 4 months ago, I was given instant knowledge of my life to be. In that second, every pain and pleasure I have experienced this far in my life and will experience in the years ahead, were present in my perfect understanding – I saw the elation and heartache – I saw the first time I held my child and the time my father cut me out of his life – I saw connection and rejection – I saw every stubbed toe, every broken bone, and every orgasm. And I chose this life. This life is a game. Every day I chose not to end it is a day I chose to play. When we see life as intentional, it can no longer victimize us. Moments with the potential to inspire happiness and moments with the potential to inspire sadness do not happen to us. They are products of our choice to keep playing. So we may cry as a result of our sadness and laugh as a result of our feeble brilliance. But we must never forget our experience of this world belongs to us.
Religion is used to apply magical explainations to that which we do not yet understand. Different religions are the products of different people’s interpretations of that which we cannot explain. To adhere to a religion gives up the responsibility we each have to attempt to explain that which we have yet to. This doesn’t mean there is no higher power. The greatest force in this world is love. Love can motivate us to do the illogical. Love can inspire us to put other’s needs first. There is something in us that makes this kind of illogical behavior feel perfectly right. Our gods are what we worship. To me, love is God. While love may inspire us to engage in illogical behavior, the pursuit of love may be completely logical. Love is means to a better world. This does not reduce God to love, but rather, expands love to God. Sure there are things we don’t understand about our world. Some of us may choose to call these things magic until we gain understanding of them. Others may insist to rely on magic as means of explaination, works to decieve us and divides us from the truth. It would seem we are using different words to describe the same thing. Whether we call it magic or unknown, we are saying, at the moment, we can’t explain it. To say we know anything for ceratin would seem to take a certain level of arogance. There is so much beauty in our world. Whether we call it the product of a creator or the product of something else, we may be right on both accounts. It is when we try to define things in terms of certainty that we get into trouble. So float on with the pursuit of understanding, know your understanding may constantly change, and recognize that there is nothing wrong with this… And if this uncertainty bothers you, DO NOT look into quantum physics. I mean (brain splatter sounds).
When we divide this country along color lines, we may conclude this holiday means more to those of us with African ancestry. Ironically, as a result of the wage gap (See graphs C and D below), one may conclude an unproportionate number of workers with African ancestry may be clocking in today as a result of their daily job duties remaining vital to day-to-day function.
Although my position at my place of employment is vital to continued function of the organization, I have today off. My job can wait one day for my attention. And yes, I am what society considers “White”. That is to say, I have mostly European ancestors. Recently, I chose to go into work on a holiday. A friend/co-worker told me in jest that I was too “White” to be there on that day. If I gave credence to this notion that the colors of our skin defined us as people, I may find the idea that my friends who happened to have darker skin work more today than my friends who happened to have lighter skin objectionable solely because I considered these friends to be profoundly different. But, if this thing we call “race” does not define a person, we cannot draw lines along “race” here.
It has been said I, a “White” male, could not possibly understand what it is like to be a “Black” person in this society. I once heard a friend of African decent tell a friend of European decent that any claim a “White” person made about experiencing discrimination was unfounded. His claim seemed to state no “White” person could possibly know what it is to experience discrimination. One could conclude, as a “White” male, I don’t experience the same kinds of discrimination my “Black” brothers and all of my sisters experience regularly. But this doesn’t mean I don’t know what it is to be discriminated against and even targeted by police as a result of demographic information.
We all have powers of empathy. We tend to empathize most with people with whom we identify. With this knowledge, we may see how claiming a person of European decent could not understand the discrimination a person of African decent faces works as a self-fulfilling prophecy. To say we are so different works to put greater division between us. Perhaps it is my liberal upbringing, but I rejoice in the fact we have come as far as we have and weep at the thought of how far we have to go. I can’t say this holiday means as much to me as it does to you, because I’ve never been you. But, for the same reason, you can’t make any contrary claim.
Any inequality as a result of a bias system is unjust. I do not revel in the fact that our current system is unbalanced, even as I benefit from it. Still, I can’t help but feel that continuing to draw lines between “races”, perpetuates a system of inequality. My point here, if I have a point, is that while it is important to recognize the division, the injustice, we cannot let this division divide us further. This division is arbitrary and only works to oppress us, ALL of us. It is only when we come together that the powers that be will be no longer. When we stop allowing ourselves to be divided, we may see the real problem, the real cause for starvation and homelessness, the real cause for those of us without to continue to go without, greed. I’ve said it before; The best cage is one the prisoners cannot see. And today the bars of this cage look an awful lot like skin color.
It has been theorized that the film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, is meant to represent a circular timeline. That is to say that Joel and Clementine maintain a perpetual system of falling in and out of love before having their memories of each other erased. As eloquent as this theory may seem, I like to think it is not accurate.
I like to think, even as Joel and Clem accept their relationship will not work, their experience of finding each other again and gaining understanding of their previous relationship together would inspire them to do things differently. Perhaps their understanding of their incompatibility causes them to give more care to the relationship this next time around. For me, the saddest moment in this film is when Clem says to Patrick no one she has dated has ever given her a piece of jewelry she liked. In this one utterance, she reveals how her relationship with Joel was different, was special. It makes sense to me their first time around would work as a cautionary tale for their second attempt. Going into this second effort, they already have a great tool at their disposal they didn’t their first try; they have their Lacuna tapes. They have a road map of major issues they may hope to encounter and may plan ahead. Of course it’s quite possible they would’ve listened to their tapes and realized their willingness to jump in head-first a second time was hasty. At the same time, how much better would all of my failed relationships been if we could’ve gone into them with complete honesty? Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic, but those scenes of Joel and Clem’s happy relationship falling apart seem as though they could’ve gone very differently if they only knew more about each other’s needs. If Joel could’ve given Clementine a little more space and if Clem could’ve been a little more considerate of Joel’s feelings, their relationship could’ve felt much more like the Light and Day – Polyphonic Spree music video. The scene most emblematic of this disconnect is Joel’s final dream scene. He and Clem are at the beach house:
Joel: I walked out, I walked out the door!
Joel: I don’t know. I felt like a scared little kid, I was like… it was above my head, I don’t know.
Clementine: You were scared?
Joel: Yeah. I thought you knew that about me…
It is true no relationship I’ve experienced feels anything like that first, getting-to-know-you stage of romantic love after a certain amount of time. I’ve often described this stage as sex and elation. But when that fades, I’d like to think, if we care enough about each other, something stronger may grow out of it.
Last night we were sharing a hotel room. My father had arranged for us to stay here for a few nights. The room was more than anything I could want to afford. We had spent several nights there already. In the waking world, I haven’t spoken to you or Dad in several years. But in this dream, you were my betrothed and Dad was means to my abode. We woke late with much to pack into the car. The hotel room still had many wonders to explore. I heard you playing pool in a nearby room. I didn’t even know we had a pool table in this hotel room. I felt the urge to stay. But it was time to leave. An inner conflict took me over as I compared my obligation to leave with the amount of belongings to be packed and my desire to stay.
If she is motivated by fear, she won’t understand how you love. If she doesn’t love as you do, she won’t understand your efforts to help others. If she doesn’t support your efforts to make the world a better place, you cannot spend your life with her. If you cannot spend your life with her, it would be unwise to sleep with her. If you won’t sleep with her, she won’t want to be with you. Sex is means to intimacy. There is no sex without risk of hurting someone else or yourself. To risk hurting someone else in pursuit of personal gain is selfish. Sex with one who doesn’t love the way you love may require you to give up on love your way.
But this society is asleep. The Id rules us. The presence of this understanding is reason to let fear motivate. To not let fear motivate us is irrational. And yet, you do not. You do not let fear motivate you because this is what love means to you. Because maybe it is rational if we aren’t afraid of being hurt, if, instead, we aim to reduce the hurt of others.