Pulling ourselves together: rope, tape, hands

(Wrote this in January 2017, feels / relevant, now.)

Check in with yourself if you find that you’re punishing people around you for not knowing everything you know, not quite being there yet with a certain specific slant of analysis of our current doom conditions. This seems like a very common symptom of the type of pressure we are all under to visit the retribution we wish we could send to the palaces and the mansions onto would-be comrades instead. There is no excuse for scape goatery in these fractious times, and it weakens me to watch that. The centre cannot hold, of course, we figured as much. We never needed it anyway. But you, too, must not unravel with the world or there will be nothing left. We must be vigilant, deliberate and intensive about holding all of our selves together. Use rope, tape, hands.

I have installed a panic button on my internet browser when the rising panic in my chest that happens after a few minutes of scrolling starts to bite at my breathing. It’s called Into Time by Rafael Rozendaal and – together with breathing – I highly recommend it. In such an atmosphere, I ponder, scrolling once again, is there anything more ill-founded than locating harm or hatred in places where what you have is a disagreement? Whether for a power kick or a fleeting sense of ‘own-back,’ be wary. See, there’s a certain rhetorical universe of projected righteousness where the path to careful peace and learning got littered with snark grenades. It is not weak to acknowledge an apology even if you feel it to be imperfect. I’m so worried.

Enabled by the internet and the ability we all have to rub our hands at public digital floggings, the gnarlier angels of some natures seem to zero in on anyone who can easy be perceived as a witch in our midst, for a slight or a misstep, so the pile on continues, a performance to exorcise the pent up powerlessness we all feel. Trouble is it’s getting harder and harder to name this horrible reflex without sounding like you’re a shill for the dark side. All this just as the stakes get higher and higher, too. We can all fuck up, just as bullies exist in all walks of life, but scuttling in the corners feeding off another easy target call-out while the world burns? That seems ever more inexcusable. Of course, even me suggesting such a thing could have a cut-out response, I’m tone policing and in any case perhaps asking people to be less inexplicably cruel all the time so that blows may be cast more effectively on actual fucking Nazis is just respectability politics. Maybe so, but as someone who spends a stupid amount of time doing actual real talk accountability shit where there is often no clear path, right answer or simple conclusion, where the most radical thing to do is turning to face the harm, getting it all over your hands, well, I feel kind of qualified to name this horrible sub-phenom for what it is, you know?

One thing I am sure of is that we are going to need a bigger life raft, and if you cannot reach your arms out to those who don’t speak your pontificating vocabulary, the new utopia will burn before we even get there. I want to salvage all unintended pain and scoop us out of this weird hard world. Let’s be as critical of social capital as we are the other kind and be wary, always, of easy targets. Nuance, like kindness, is a generative commodity. We need more and not less people on our side.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *