Friday, September 10, 2010
My steps slowed down as I watched the history of immediate humanity scroll on the walls. Pictures of leaping women and athletes and families reunited. But there was one photo that made me stand still. It was titled FORMAN BOSTON CRISIS. My eyes travelled at the swift movement of a flag that was frozen in a black and white photo. I watched as an African teenage boy was held as the American flag, the so called symbol of the free world, was about to pierce his chest. I watched the tableau of such anger to this boy, muscles taught against the face. How could someone be this angry. Time stopped. I could not look anymore, but I had to. This was the story of humanity. There are things that have occurred that can not be washed away with a damp towel against the skin, burns well up under the surface. But you know what? I can't help but feel hopeful about humanity. I think there is a synthesis between Hegel and eastern thought. In our "immediate history" of humanity, we have seen the "progression" of society. Slavery has been abolished in this country, women can vote in this country. But if you look at the philosophy and the common threads of the different cultures, you see a recurring theme of love, respecting the dead, inheritance. If you boil down any community or culture, you are left with the human connection: empathy. In our cultures we feel for one another. As Aristotle has said, we are social beings. It innate isof us. I do not buy into this Hobbsian theory that humanity is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short". I believe that our issues in the world today are due to miscommunication. And so it has been through the reams of history that we have had issues with communication. Look at India and Pakistan. Look at Israel and Palestine. Our problems can be solved with empathy. It sounds so simple, but egos get in the way, fingers are pointed. But look within. And see that the man across the border is you. Borders are fluid. People move, cultures are ever-changing like nature. I believe that deep down, we all know of our miscommunication. There is no such thing as progress on a large scale in my opinion because I think as humanity, we forget. And then there is conflict, and then we remember again. Hinduism in the Vedas deemed that slavery was malignant to society. Yet throughout civilizations and yes once in America, there was slavery. And then we understood and remembered that "ALL PEOPLE ARE CREATED EQUAL" meant everyone. As humanity, we have always been here. We have always known the answers. They are written in texts that grow yellow with age. We just forget. And we miscommunicate. I believe that we have the answers to solve anything. 40 years after looking at that picture, I think look how far we have gone. But we have always known. Events change, but there are patterns traced out through time. And I so badly want us to remember that we have always known the way. It is just time to wake us. And remember that he was our brother all along. As Kant once said in the argument of the categorical imperative:"Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means to an end", I think we must. The more united we are as humanity, the less we have tableaus like violence pictured on the walls of a silent room. My heels click against the tile floor as I brush my hand over wet cheeks. But at the same time, I stood taller.