Thursday, January 15, 2015

Same Eyes

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- Terrible, terrible. Last night I was at the conference on police killing of unarmed blacks, one per day this past year. Present were faculty from Black studies, Economics, Sociology, History, Asian Studies. The moderator praised the faculty participants for about 15 minutes, then got down to the business of complaining. Dark skinned people were being shot by the police, a million of them were in prisons, Los Angeles had the largest prison population of any city in the world and was planning on building more prisons. I looked on in contempt.
- Why were you there if you hate them so much?
- To learn from their mistakes.
- And what were they doing wrong aside from complimenting each other?
- What they were doing wrong was not distinguish themselves from the groups doing the killing and imprisoning of them. They were the losing group in a battle with the winning.
- What do you expect them to do?
- What they can't do. As long as they give their lectures, write their books, the corporate sponsors of the University will continue to deliver their pay and even pay them more if they make a name for themselves. They will get paid no matter what they say as long as they don't challenge a fundamental assumption.
- Which is?
- That the relation of human beings to things is sacrosanct, more important than human beings to each other. As long as human relation to property is more important that human relation to humans, human beings will see each other as property, see each other as kinds of things and kill and imprison the kind of human things they have no better use for.
- Racial politics results from property being considered important than everything else?
- So I believe. When people have something real in common they not only are not classifiable by group, they are invisible to each other. I'll tell you what I mean with a story. In the early days when my wife Beatrix and I were together, she said to me, "I don't know whether I should tell you this, but when I look at you I see myself." I thought I understood what she meant: not that she was vain and the whole world was a reference to herself. No. She liked to challenge me with the demand, Tell me why you are with me? What do you want? What are you getting out of this affair? My answer was always the same: I felt at home with her, she was my equal.
- Equal in what?
- In spirit. In being willing to take on whatever the world threw at her, at being willing to take on me and my life without social standing, at least sometimes, when she wasn't running away or throwing me out. I didn't realize until last week, three years from last sight of her, what really led her to making her remark.
- Which was?
- I'd gone to the internet to watch a video Beatrix had made when she was in acting school. Suddenly it hit me: her eyes were like mine.
- So she literally saw herself when she looked at you.
- Yes. And it must have worked the same for me though I wasn't aware of it. I was only aware that she was my equal. She was with me in life. No matter how much we fought she knew I would return and I knew she would too.
- What is the application to police killing and jailing of blacks?
- There is no use complaining about gangs acting like gangs. To the extent a society is a society there has to be something in common, some real equality.
- We have to be able to see equality in each other's eyes.
- Yes. Otherwise we will identify each other in our differing relation to property. I've told you, right, I'm finished with the Internet.
- Finished with posting links, not obsessing over your wife.
- Every day I sent out titles and links to at least a 100 different stories to 10,000 social media connections. A million messages a day for three and a half years. That makes one billion messages I've caused to appear on computer screens. A half million visits to my site resulted. That's enough. I quit.
- About time since you got nothing out of it, no money, no fame. Why did you do it?
- I couldn't ask people to pay money earned by slavery to read stories telling them not to be slaves. I didn't want to establish a relation of property with them. And I didn't mind being invisible.
- You wanted them to see in your eyes their own.