vol. 3 issue 33
It is almost too difficult to believe that August is already here. I’ve been head down into a project for weeks, and now it’s almost time to come up for air.
People close to me keep telling me I am starting to repeat myself. It’s not just the project that has absorbed me; I also recently found a stack of notecards and a few years’ worth of notebooks where I’d written pretty much the same thought over and again, as though it was an original thought each time I wrote it.
Maybe I am obsessive, maybe I just won’t accept I have already found what I was looking for.
Yet, there really are two things I can’t reconcile but which have been on my mind a lot. The first is that it’s impossible to “reclaim the soul of America” while at the same time being narrowly committed to scientism.
The other is that I really don’t see critical race theory as a threat. I see the paradigm that the line of scholarly inquiry into CRT comes from, and the fear of that scholarly inquiry as the threat.
And I see the two puzzles, soul v. science, and CRT v. anti-CRT as intertwined. They both come down to linear thinking.
I have a lot of thoughts about how to resolve that, but I have been wondering if the solution has to be so voluminous.
It’s not a solution we’re looking for, anyway, but a resolution. That’s because it’s not a problem, but a paradox. We can’t choose soul over science. We need both. We can’t choose hierarchal thinking over inclusivity. We need both.
So, live in the middle. Be nice.
And that brings me back to the idea that I am turning into a one note wonder…it’s really hard to stop thinking what we think.
Even when we think we have an open mind, it’s so often a closed loop, which would benefit from interruption and the act of laying things out in an orderly, organized way.
Like in a straight line.
Below is a poem by the late Paula Gunn Allen that is as weird and liminal as is the act of surfacing from the deep brain waves of one’s mind. But, in the poem, the water becomes still and the speaker reorients.
So, there is hope. We get our bearings and continue on.
I suppose if I have anything of value to offer this week, it’s to consider that if we find ourselves at a crossroads, remember that the intersection forms four 90 degree angles, little orderly pockets that appeal to our need for symmetry, but they can all be circumscribed by a circle. What happens if we follow the road beyond that rim?
I am standing
on the balcony
of a gold Chinese pavilion
watching the sun
over the pool below.
A girl in a white mask
brings dripping shells
holding shining pearls
to the women at the side.
The water where she dives
is dark; her white clothes
give it some light, but not
enough. When she emerges
with my pearl, she removes her mask.
I see that she is a man.
She dives once more
ruffling the shadows for the sun to sweep.
I watch until the water is still
and walk on.
~Paula Gunn Allen