There’s something to be said for the power of the “other.”
That amorphous blob that we perceive standing silent in the corner, black shadowed, wordless and haunting in its stiff stance. We bear witness to its charms as it worms its way closer to our concious mind, subsuming and consuming its way to total domination.
If that’s what it actually is.
At work recently, a conversation started up in the break room regarding a book I very much enjoy. While explaining it to another coworker, the person who was hearing about it seemed quickly unwilling to want to read it. The book itself is an exploration of both a momentous historical event and the tale of a serial killer lurking at the same time and place, which was not something my coworker was keen to explore. As she explained, she much preferred tales that were a bit gentler and more modest in their sensibilities. Which in and of itself is pretty typical.
For its how we often function as a species.
We are purveyors of self-preservation who wish to see nothing but the best in front of us and for others while avoiding the mere mention of its potential for fraility and decay. Life itself is the belief in never encountering the gateway to the Reaper approaching. We moderate our actions to curry favor for the blessing of immortality that ultimately laughs us away. And sure, there are those moments where we slip upon the black ice and fall down on the ground but we are firm in the belief that it was the byproduct of a passing cloud than a potential weather pattern.
And if we are lucky, there may be some moment upon which we realize how wrong we are in so many ways. But it will be only for a moment. For the trees growing within our mind work quickly to cloud and obscure vision from mysteries that refuse to be solved. It is natural that there will be and are things out there that we will not completely understand and its okay that we’re unable to open the door that separates us from complete comprehension for the simple and the profound.
And I also can’t help but feel fury at reactionary and manufactured controversies strummed up by a populace that are convinced some sort of “other” shall latch like a child upon the bosom of our prosperity and bite infection into the tissue and where patriotism is measured by the size of our flag pin. How strong is belief in country when we go off the rails at the tiniest of alternative practice? For we seem so bent to wall ourself off from even the hint of difference brought forth by the “other” that stands outside our window.
All it is is difference and uncertainty. That will never have the chance for comprehension and understanding by us reflexingly boarding up the windows and turning the tv set up higher. We have to take the opportunity to extend an invite to sit down at the dinner table. And much like any other family gathering we’ll squabble over the turkey leg for a bit till we realize the rest of the bird is equally delicious. And rather than convincing others of the rightness of our position, we work ourselves towards two-sided conversation whether it becomes something meaningful or merely remarking upon the change in seasons. Our eagerness to keep this “other” at bay is only, to borrow from Shakespeare, “sound and fury.” Accomplishing nothing.