Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Alfie on Boston

Why do we keep doing this?

It's 11:13 on a Tuesday night and I can't get comfortable on this couch (although it's plush and I'm soft) because I keep hearing the question - why do we keep doing this?

Maybe you're wondering what I mean. Maybe you know.

Maybe looking at me you see how I wrestle - attempting and failing, attempting and failing, attempting and failing yet again to make sense of things.

In Boston three people die, many are injured, and for what? We ask ourselves why do we keep doing this and then change our Facebook profile picture in solidarity.

We change our Instagram profile picture in solidarity.

Our Tumblr picture in solidarity.

You catch my drift?

And what does it do?

Still these people are dead, still we have the question ringing through our heads why do we keep doing this why do we keep doing this except some of us try to fight the sting of it by asking why do they keep doing this as though there ever was a they, as though we were ever anything but us.

Us, not even you humans, us, life. Us, breathing.

Us, the pulsing and the expanding and the rocked with anguish for that which is beloved. Water, air, food, drink, love, hope, touch, abstraction abstraction abstraction, and then the face you dream, eyes filling with emotion - there, that is all of us - there, that, your most loved, that is all of us.

When we are met with tragedy and we react with anything less than empathy we become the villains. When we don't allow ourselves to know reality; the hard, inescapable fact that people die like this each day. From pipe bombs and from unmanned drones and from landmines and friendly fire and poison and lack of nutrition and lack of care and when we see these deaths, and instead of seeing other living creatures, we see numbers, then we have truly numbed ourselves to what it means to be alive.

Numbers, numb - it seems to me no small coincidence the words so neatly twin.

When we say ____ number dead we move from identification, from us to dehumanization - I need a better word - automation-ization of the living - and then the crack crack cracking of bones and the spraying of blood take on a pixelated blur that allows us comfort.

Oh, it was them, those machine-interlopers, not mine-made-of-my-flesh-my-heart, so let them die!

Which is not what I am seeing when I see everyone with their Facebook profile pictures showing solidarity with the fallen, but it is what I hear with the frenzy of hate-talk.

Imagine suffering.

Imagine a suffering so intense all you can think of is spreading it.

This is how so many of us feel. Every day. To deny this is to lie and also to make ourselves less safe. Instead, we must face the inherent inequities of our world, and more than that, we must do something about it. We can't just sit at our computer, watching Jenna Marbles (who I love, btw, even though she has never yet mentioned Wuthering Heights), and ask ourselves wonderingly why do they keep doing this.

Why do we keep doing this. Every moment unreflected is a contribution to the magnitude of suffering the world over - and you know this, you know this. This is why you don't want to know how hotdogs are made.

It is why I change the channel when a Human Society commercial comes on.

And yes, it's easier to not face it, but only easier in that moment we turn away.

Every single moment after that we are damning ourselves, our world, our children's world, and any beautiful, beloved thing you can think of. We damn them with our love of convenience. With our good intentions.

Why do we keep doing this?

Because we believe there to be a they.

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