“You Americans have the watches, but we[, the Taliban,] have the time.”-A captured Taliban fighters quoted in Ryan C. Crocker, “Why Biden’s Lack of Strategic Patience Led to Disaster.” The New York Times. August 21, 2021.
“A monk walking through the woods came across a couple strolling and answered their greetings. ‘And what do you do?’ the woman asked. The monk replied, ‘I don’t do anything. I live here.” She insisted. So did he. She thought of life in terms of what one does for a living, but the monk did not. He insisted that he did nothing, he only lived here. She was vexed…
…Is a person only a machine to make money? Is being a parent, a spouse, summed up in what a person does for a living? Is it how much you bring home that makes you what you are? If it is, many a wife and mother has little value, for in terms of economics she may be more like us monks, performing useful and necessary tasks and services. But there is no money in any of it…
…For granted having no income, no job, is a most dreadful worry, it is not the end of everything. Not the loss of humanity, identity, personhood. For trial, trouble, sickness and affliction and death are with us today as they were yesterday and they will be tomorrow. Characteristic of life anywhere. Any time. Only in some times more than others.”-Matthew Kelty, “Every Reason to Be Merry,” in The Call of Wild Geese: More Sermons in a Monastery. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publicans, 1996.
Upon re-reading The Call of Wild Geese, this passage felt especially relevant in the middle of a pandemic. Who are we if we cannot go into the office? If we are not earning an income? If we are isolating and socializing through screens? Do we have value apart from this life we have constructed? Obviously, we do. The question is: why is this even a question? The answer is that our culture is busy reducing people into categories: type of job, ethicity, religious belief, down the line. None of these things is who any of us are. Yet, the provide a shortcut, just enough to process and move on with our lives and ideas, let’s not have too much disruption please.
Unfucks is a word I didn’t even know I needed in my vocabulary.
Joe Biden is going to win. But what people of color have long understood should be clear to everyone now: Donald Trump is not an aberration, he’s a mirror. And that ugliness we see in him is America’s. https://twitter.com/derekjGZ/status/1323985212964036611
“…the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.”—Italo Calvino, “Invisible Cities”
“Fast tools don’t just allow users to accomplish tasks faster; they allow users to accomplish entirely new types of tasks, in entirely new ways.”—https://www.benkuhn.net/progessays
Change the tool, change the outcome.
“The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by 1%, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together,” he explained…”—Matt Slater, “Olympics cycling: Marginal gains underpin Team GB dominance.” BBC. August 8, 2012.
True of cycling. True of life.
h/t Damien Williams