Der Widerstand

A friend gave me an interesting book called Resistance by Barry Lopez that I've been reading today. It's a series of short stories showing the deep connection between each "writers" personal and political life. I find it interesting to try and think of what events, what single moments in my past, have formed my beliefs. Here are a couple of little pieces I really liked:

"We reject the assertion, promoted today by success-mongering bull terriers in business, in government, in religion, that humans are goal-seeking animals. We believe they are creatures in search of proportion in life, a pattern of grace. It is balance and beauty we believe people want, not triumph. The stories the earth's peoples adhere to with greatest faith - the dances that topple fearful walls; the ethereal performances of light, color, and music; the enduring musics themselves - are all well patterned." -Barry Lopez, writting as Owen Daniels

"None among my friends has turned his back on the ideals of justice, which seemed so much more plausable when we were young. We've not lost faith; but for some the years have beeen very discouraging. Many of us can't see beyond the boundries of our own difficulties. We're like a tribe of naked people caught suddenly in a freezing climate, men and women gathered in some sheltered hollow who have located a fire, and now spend their time in forays over a barren land scrounging for wood.
Beyond writing my briefs and arguing my cases, beyond reinforcing my friends' plans and lifting their hopes, I don't know what i am to do. What keeps me from giving up is seeing some young woman pull over to drag a dead animal off the road. Or meeting a reporter, as I just have, who has seen in the streets of Calcutta hundreds of the untended dead, curled up like leaves, who's interviewed the sleepwalking miners of Rondônia, the warlords of Somalia, the mujahideen, the president of the World Bank, and then sits without comment while her father complains about the price of gasoline.
What holds me is the faith of the others. What has troubled me is the exhaustionn that overtakes me, the way I no longer want to be responsible."
-Barry Lopez, writting as Edward Larmirande


Brother James 9:55 PM  

This doesn't surprise me. Post-modernism teaches us that our political beliefs are intrinsically linked to our ideas on "idyllic" life. We write about the beauties of life and virtues such as justice, etc. because we are grounded in western liberal ideologies (of varying scale). I would wager that someone writing an "apolitical" piece having grown up in, say, China or West Africa might write about ideals linked to a different political ideology (i.e., order). agreements? disagreements?

John 2:55 AM  

I love that first quote:

It is balance and beauty we believe people want, not triumph.

Finding and living the true meaning of and reason for life is really what it's all about - it's why a computer mouse just feels so much better when used as a computer mouse rather than a foot pedal. Er...something like that. ;)

James, I'd agree to an extent. Different ideals are given more or less weight in different cultures.
However I wouldn't go as far as to say there is no such thing as objective ideals which exist regardless of culture - I'd say cultures choose to value (objectively existent) ideals more or less.

onetenchelsea 12:48 PM  

very interesting thoughts, james.

So then, do you think that a desire for the the ideals of justice is only possible because we (well-educated, well-adjusted post-moderns) have, for the most part, acheived some kind of idylic lifestyle?

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