here i am, Living One

This book was referenced via an unlikely Tumblr account, and because I had some money left on an Amazon gift card from graduation (thank you, Jack and Cindy Moore), I decided to buy it with little thought.

Apparently the author, Katie Roiphe, received acclamations from prestigious reviewers, but the majority of amateur comments and criticisms spoke – and continue to speak – otherwise. This book was published in 1993, and over the years essentially became the equivalent to a one-hit wonder because she then stepped outside of the feminist debate; but she has recently come back into play with a short opinions article in the NY Times. If you decide to read the piece and end up getting frustrated, please note that this book provides a much more expanded and complete insight to her thought process – insight I found constructive and convincing in between moments, I assume, of prejudice stemming from her privilege.

What’s interesting is that I stumbled across this book (it’s about the ambiguity surrounding the definition of rape and sexual harassment, by the way) inside a context completely separate from all the news surrounding Herman Cain, Penn State, and this article. And I use the word interesting because here I’ve found a voice that advocates under the feminist umbrella, yet disagrees with many of her passionate peers to create a storm of converging intellectualisms. Moreover, it’s at a time now when the term “sexual harassment” functions simultaneously as a cultural taboo and within society’s commonly spoken vernacular.

So what does she actually say? Read it for yourself; you’re welcome to borrow it. The purpose of this posting is actually in light of something different. Yes, I wanted to inform you of Roiphe and her extreme, obscure, yet somehow thoughtful philosophies, but I also wanted to share this quote written in her final paragraph:

“I sometimes wished the world could be like Shakespeare, the way they teach it to you in the seventh grade, with good and evil in opposition and patterns of imagery so clear that when the natural order is destroyed you know it because the horses are eating each other.”

Since graduating I’ve learned the world isn’t black and white like suburbia and the culture of my private college schooling made it out to be. I’m thankful I no longer live with that formulaic mindset – most of the time, that is – but the grim reality isn’t much better. “Horses eating each other.” It makes about as much sense as the financial contagion plaguing Europe, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and nearly everything else people decide to debate and converse over. It wasn’t until halfway through my eschatology class that I realized ideologies truly affect how people make choices; and by the end of it I was wrecked with the idea that most everything we believe is incomplete and relative.

What do I mean by this? I know I’ve stated it before, but the way we think, and the processes of how we get from y to z, is forever fluid. For example, theologies change because lines of thinking change, and lines of thinking change because different people with different experiences give words to their beliefs as time continually progresses. Modernist thought changes into post-modernist, and now we are in the process of transitioning to post-post modernism. I wish everything would freeze for a second, or we could come to a consensus in saying, “Hey, this is it! This is the truth!” But that won’t happen, because it’s never happened.

So I wonder, “Am I the only one who is seeing this, or have people somehow found purpose in the participation of these broken, incomplete systems?” I’d hardly call it humility to agree that the first option can’t be true, and this article about Cornell West gives me hope that maybe I can put some stock into the latter alternative. I’m not so sure any more about this concept of “calling” Dr. West references, but he’s obviously allowing space to pursue an intangible force. And I like the sound of that.

All that said, arguments and debate over this and that are still wearying to me, and may be for quite some time; but the actions of others give me hope for eventually finding unquestionable value in why we must fight for our beliefs.

This is my post-graduate drama. We’ll see how long it lasts.

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~ by Chris Kyle on November 16, 2011.

One Response to “here i am, Living One”

  1. Bro. Love the thoughts. Let’s talk about all this soon! I’d love it! I’ll try to read the articles tomorrow!

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