Call me a man, I say. Of course I do. What else should I say here? Call me Ishmael? What is that you say have said will say? You ask. I say again, Call me a man. What kind of man? You ask. A man not so unlike any other man, I say. I wonder how any other man could be like any other man? I pause.
That’s what I am saying, I say . . . what I say I have said, did say before now, a man not entirely like any man you might imagine, or any man you might see, might meet, might speak to and get to know differently than you have me or any other man you might happen to see, I say. I have seen him, you say. I am and am not like any other man, every other is another set of something I can not get to the end of . . . of what? I wonder again. No loss or gain in wondering.
I pause. I say nothing.
To remain silent or not to remain silent; what is not said is often heard as clearly as what is said. And then again, I bellow, I cry, I howl, I speak to you–to whom? To you. Yes, you and you and you . . . where are you, one and more . . . I recall a man named Ishmael–you recall him too.
I pause a long time this time. The waves continue here on the shore beneath the bluffs out at Land’s End.
Call me, Ismael, he said, or so we have recorded him having said. One-third of Moby Dick was written on a farm in Pittsfield, my mother’s hometown. What is it about hometowns? It is nothing about hometowns–my hometown is New York. What then does this say to you about me? to me about myself? Saying to you should say something to me–of course it does. We imagine we know something about someone b y what he says, how he says it, diction is revealing. But this man Ishmael–this man myself–this Ishmael myself–what if I were Ishmael–I recall my Stanislavski. What if I were Hamlet, how would I order a hamburger in White Castle.
Who was this man Ishmael down and out in a November of the soul–I used to say things like November gray for moods almost melancholic–the poems I have written. I recall how Ti Jean’s narrators sounded an awful lot like this Ishmael, yes Call me he cries out in the great vocative by any other name I might appear the same.
I too remember quite a number of Novembers in my own soul. What do I call myself in any of the many selves that shelter me–how did Hawaiians endure typhoons in their homes? But what would it mean to say Call me . . . a man? I am a man. I am like no one and I am like everyone or too many and sometimes not enough of any–to be alike; to be liked; I like me I say looking in the mirror; I mirror me is another self harbored by . . . I do not know what it is harbored by.
I am a man, I say, although not as if I said everything. What is it that it does say? What is a man? you might ask, as I do. What is a horse? I could ask too, but do not. They are the same question. They are the same question? The only thing that is the same is the same thing–similarity is not sameness I used to say. We are too loose with how we use language. What more do I understand–to stand under is understanding–post and lintel is everything. I’ve said this before as well. I repeat myself frequently. Everyone does I imagine.
I recollect a woman having said that men do not question their manhood or their maleness the way women do–do women question their maleness? Is that true? I do not really wonder what other people wonder. How many times do I have to listen to women lamenting being women. I respect women who do not lament being women. I respect women who lament this. It does not bother me unless it bothers me, the way most things bother me, in the moment more than categorically.
It seems as if it would be an exercise in futility–imagining this futility–a useless task to set myself to–if I were to wonder about being a man the way women wonder about being a woman, what? Men do not wonder about themselves as women do about themselves. Women have been trying to make this a weakness in the human for decades, men not bothering to be as neurotic as women have been for the most part? Is that even true–I do not venture this either because too many generalities are too absurd for me to waste any time considering. Women wondering about themselves the way they do has been made a human weakness for centuries by men. Is it neurotic, though? We will never have enough time to find out all we need to find out, let alone what we want to find out, when the latter is greater than the former. Time is what time is when time is what it is how it is–no one has any theotretical knowledge about time–do I, really? No. I recall the way we were taught to reorder our sense of time when we were studying geology.
Time in the mind is not time on the clock; time remembered not time endured; time in pain and time in joy; time in sorrow and time in gladness; time in the surf and time on the grass; walking is walking, walking–not all walking are alike. Time is a river; no, time is an ocean. History is an ocean. Time is not prgressive; neither is history progressive. History is like an ocean, not a river. Oceans are not progressive. You cannot step into the same ocean twice?
Ping pong is one of humanity’s favorite past times. We love to play hop-scotch with the truth. I have said this before and will likely say this again . . . a man’s maleness is not derogatory the way a woman being called a female might be–what the fuck is that supposed to mean I could say, probably have said one time or another–I remember the Valentine’s we spent in the Village . . . I think she meant to say–what could she have meant to say? Meaning always in fucking–how can there not be any meaning in fucking. There is no meaning between two lovers except in fucking.
When she said what she said about men and women and what the status of women socially might be in the matter of appearances, how we act, not how we look–to ask the right question, or not to ask the right question–we all must suit word to action, action to word, but also states of being and words must meet in some measured way. We must all be very careful about how we frame our questions. Frames are occlusions; frames are means to set off, to set apart.
All questions infer something of our rights to ask them, no? Our right to an answer comes with the question–but what of interrogation, a special sense of questioning, not simply the interrogative, Are you from Colombia? What do you like to have for breakfast? Everyone wants to know, not knowing is often unbearable; inquisitors are usually intolerant about not knowing what they think they need to know. Inquisition has connotations that questioning does not–questioning is another case other than asking a question. Answers to our questions are not as frequently offered as responses to them are. Answer and response are not the same things. This question about what a man is may come to many a man’s mind, it has crossed women’s minds too by many a circuitous route.
Woman is the world, woman cannot be the world; woman is angel, is devil, is whore, is Madonna, is woman, is no one, is someone, is anybody, is a body, is her cunt, is her tits; she is whole and hole and incomplete and complete but finished, ended, named, renamed, formed, reformed, informed for what she is becomes could be but will never realize. Woman is real, woman is fiction, woman is woman and not woman but women. Woman cannot be all women; woman can be every woman, any woman, which woman, who, when, where, how?
Woman is no one but who she is even when she forgets who she is, becomes what men want her to be, how they want her to act–all is an act. Every woman is a poor player who struts her stuff upon a stage? And then is heard no more––after playing the role of woman to be wife to become wife is no longer to be woman, no longer to heard; Nevermore!
Woman is an actor in her play her life. Life is a play; life is dream; life is life, not life but what it is minute to minute, Life lived in the minutes, not the hours. Woman is anonymous. Anonymity becomes her. Unnamed; depersonalized when she becomes a misses. She loses her name, she loses her personhood in marriage.
What is a man and who fits the profile? What do I need to be to be a man? I could ask, What should I do? I could also ask, Are there shoulds? There used to be; are there any now? The parameters have been redrawn? We use both ends of the pencils more often than ever. We no longer have a universal answer; the world never had one answer, did it? There are profiles, but these fit the person in the way a man’s profile fits his face. [de beauvoir on defining . .. a woman being a writer is not an incidence of penis envy, nomatter how many pens she holds, she follows . . . following the pen
There were a multiplicity of answers, even more of responses to the question, depending on the time, the place, the class, the family the position in the social order, no? I have my own responses, a string of points made, one or another divergent from the rest. I am not, though, asking this question to receive an answer from you. What is a man? A man is, we might say, but then that would be man playing God. It was man who created God, a woman I once knew said. She said, without man, there would be no punishing God. She obviously never examined females in nature.
I am looking for other questions that will provide other answers than the ones I have received. Most of us cannot think outside the box of our contemporaneity. Tempo-centric, contempo-centric? Responding to questions is not in itself answering them. I must repeat this. I have said this elsewhere, another essay or two, within the confines of a Review we publish.
We know this, though, don’t we? I have drawn one or another conclusion to how we often respond without answering the question asked. Avoidance is key. It is a sophisticated form of irresponsibility, the latter about not responding to questions about behavior, about choices, an effort to elude consequences, always an act of futility.
To respond comes from the French reponser, or, to put again. What is it that is put again? The question replaced is not answered, it is posed once more how? We do love to respond in America, always having some nothing to say, sound bites everyone can chew like morsels at a cocktail party, the great anti-intellectual soiree. Answers escape us, though; they take more time, more effort, more thought. We have neither the endurance nor the tenacity to persist in forming them. We would have to know something and we are convinced we cannot, so why even pretend an answer can be had. We do so love to play ping pong.
What then can I say, do I say, will I . . . what?
About this thing, man–and man, what he is, is a thing, no? I am a man; I am a thing called a man; I am a person called Job. Is man a thing? yes, no, perhaps.
But man is a person; a person is not a thing. So then what is this about a man; it. Man’s it could be said to be his Id, as we would say if we wanted to take cues from Freud about identity, what it means to be a man. But this idea of what it means to be a man must be cultural, which speaks to mentality and not specifically to psychology, except in how individual psychology adapts to or adopts the guiding mentality of a culture. Who is this man named Job?
I am a man who is both like and unlike any other man, from anywhere, not a question as to which man. In comparison I could provide a certain set of responses, a list of characteristics, what I am, what I like, what I think, what I do, what I say.
I ask again, wait again, look at when and where and how, what is a big part of who. The ‘who’ in the former relative clause speaks to my personhood and not my itness; who is it, a question; it’s me, I say how many times a day? It’s Job. Job is it, what is it, the name ‘Job” is it. I am a grammatical reference? This then is my it. To be it or not to be it–who was the It girl in silent movies?
Identity spells Id Entity, I recall, as you might as well, how this was framed in another essay on identity. Identity is Id Entity. It is spelled right there in the word. Which one where, the man, a response, an answer, this person, person means mask, personality is then maskality.
The masks I wear; identity cannot be exterior to one’s Self? When is another determination, all the world we recall, stage after stage, when I enter and exit. Time and place are the complete boundaries of my being. This man or that man another man who is who he is; I am that I am; of course, a man like and unlike every other man. I am we; I am many. Doesn’t Satan say something like that?
I was exactly like my father in all the ways we were different. Each of us is like everyone else and nothing like anyone else simultaneously. I am speaking as a fellow person when I say man, the male counterpart to a female person, in anglo-saxon, the origin of the word ‘woman,’ wif man, or, literally, female person. It is intersting again, as I have said before in other essays, that the word ‘wife’ comes from the anglo-saxon for ‘female.’
If we recall theses other essays of mine, I not only delineate that female person is exactly what the word woman means–but just what this naming does to woman and how it changes in the marriage ceremony. We need God and ritual initiation to change woman’s already modified nature, as our language testifies, and thus our psychology unifies and universalizes, to the wholly other than person sex/gender distinction, female. She goes from wif man to wif: what they are to men, have been to men, where and when, cultures and epochs, all of them theme in variation, but the English is stark and interesting in how it manages woman’s nature in words. .
Okay, I am a person, I am a man–man meant person in anglo-saxon, at least what we mean by the word perosn because, as we have noted in other essays of mine, ‘person’ comes from the Latin, persona, which meant mask. A person is always one of the people, the people in the small case variation is a collection of all the persons anywhere in the simplest possible reference. But politically again,
The People are not just people in their simplest reference, moreover, this People, this We the People, is an important political reality fro democratic politics. In as much as I am one of the people, and it is initially this people from which we form the idea of The People, I am a part of The People, the energy of The People resides with me, in me, for me, but also by me. In this democratic referencing, each and every simple separate person in a democracy is We the People; The People receive their valency and validation by my being The People.
I am We the People as you are the People as I am also apolitically one of the people as you are one of the people anywhere we are together with others. If I cannot be We the People, then We the People means less than it intends. There is only democracy for each and every one of us, not this all of us, a sum total of everyone added to everyone else in a never ending sub-totaling that signals democracy is for the future and not now. This is unacceptable–
I am We the People; you are We the People; he is, she is, they are and lastly we are We the People. Alaways capital ‘P,’ always manifest in every single person. I am macrocosm as you are and she is and he is and so on and so on.
This idea mentioned above, of person as mask, is linked with what we mean by personality, or as I have asserted before, maskality. Yes, person from persona meaning mask. Person means mask, so every person is a mask, the many masks we wear in the world, yes, everywhere a stage. There are also the many masks we wear inside, as O’Neil had said: we have to get behind the masks we wear inside, or something to this effect. The person I am depends on the mask I wear on the stages I enter and exit in the world. The same is true for you and for him and for her and for everyone everywhere. There are many stages within me too.
Who, in the many attributes we might call human, is, as aforementioned, like me and nothing like me, everyone, no one, anyone? I am like you in all the ways we are similar, more than similar in the ways we are the same, if sameness can ever be achieved by any two human beings, with as many variables, if I am permitted to make metaphors from the material of mathematics–yes, with as many variables in the equation that sums each of us, if that too is possible, this kind of summation, no human-being can be sum-totaled I had been taught. I am we, and in this we, there are many more than can be discovered by me at any one time, a nearly inexhaustible number of selves. I know many, I have the experience of them.
The many selves Self, Milton had imagined; each Self a totality of other selves . . . a totality? A a non-totalizable number of selves . . . fluctuating mutually reciprocally macrocosmic/microcosmic selves? I am a part of humanity; I am larger than humanity, or I am also a Self inclusive of humanity. I am each of these mutually as everybody is each of these mutually. There are a perpetually increasing number of centers to this individual macrocosmic realtionship each person has with the humanity he is a part of and greater than simultaneously, only in his inclusiveness of everybody in his Self as he also houses many microcosms of himself.
Each human being is a macrocosm set against the microcosm of humanity, as he is also a microcosm of the macrocosm of humanity. Both are true. Now this macrocosmic relationship that each person has to humanity is true for all people; every person is an amalgamated cosmos larger than that of all the people considered together, humanity.
I am macrocosm to humanity as you are macrocosm to humanity, as each individual human being is macrocosm to all others together. There are enough questions aimed at what it means to be human, to have humanity, to posses the latter as one is also possessed by it. The questions of what it means for a person to be singular, to be plural, to be part of a collective and to be that collective in a larger more singularly aggrandizing inclusion.
What does it mean to be general and to be specific, to be unique, to be exceptional, or whatever else we have in words that expresses what human is, what humanity is, what it means to be human, to have humanity when humanity is a quality and not a quantity as all collective nouns are, quantities. What can I say, and what can I not say that leads us to discuss or determine, within the context of defining, the limits of our knowledge of the human, of humanity, of having this thing humanity, on being Homo-Sapiens.
You know I have established in other inquiries the idea that to be human is something different from being Homo-Sapiens. I am born Homo-sapiens; I must choose to be human.
And the choices are not infinite, you know. Infinity is the greatest irrelevancy in our lives.
I am just like you. I am. I am similar or the same in all the ways you and I are different or appear different, just as I was exactly like my father in every way we were not alike, as I have said above and repeat by necessity here . . . everywhere I go is here, each step is here, here and here.
I am different from you–completely other than you–in every thing we share, all categories of likeness, of course, whether it be race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, gender, level of education, job status, money, whatever have you in forms to compare and contrast one human being with another–in the manner of defining our species, we are alike as Homo Sapiens, the way one chimpanzee is like another chimpanzee and is in ways like all chimpanzees. Nonetheless, at my position in space-time, my place in the world, the world of phenomena, I see the world of things and objects, hear sounds, taste tastes, smell smells uniquely.
There is no one who has ever lived, who is alive now or who will ever live in the entirety of the future who occupies my position in space-time, thus this location here where I sit or stand or lie down, from where I look at the world of objects, of persons, of places of other things as impositions on the world, world after world of perception, of seeing the way I do when I do how I do where I do
I look for, I gaze at, every thing around me. This coordinate point in what we colloquially call time and space (apart form all references to the physics of space-time) no one but myself sees what I see.
No one thinks what I think. No one is in my head my brain thus my mind, and yes I have held onto the viability of the thing called mind in spite of our inability at locating it.
I wish there were a way that this was understandable for more than those I have already assumed will understand–I have no way of knowing if my estimates are or are not accurate, to whichever degree they may or may not be.
The perfect human is the humane one, one who is endowed with the fullest faculties of his or her humanity intact, fully realized in his or her ability to be compassionate and forgiving, fully capable of loving his fellow woman and his fellow man, yet one who bears the marks of this humanity as wounds, each of us blessed by and for this humanity as Francis was by the wounds of Christ. If human, humane; if not humane, never human. But perfect means complete, and no one is complete until he is dead? If the origin of the word ‘blessing’ is understood in its French etymology, whereby to bless is blesser or to wound, then this blessing by the muses, as any blessing from God or Gods, would also be a wounding.
The poet suffers a divine malady when infected by the spirit of the muses, what the ancient Greeks called enthousiasmos. This enthusiasm is of divine proportions. The poet is infected by the muses, instilled with something of their energy; they do invade and pervade the poet. It is a form of spiritual possession whereby in their cohabitation of the poet’s mind and body the muses bestow their quite literal blessings on the poet. But wait. A poet is one who makes, but not just anything anywhere any way he or she chooses. A poet invests something of the spirit of the muses in what he does, how she makes.
A poet is not a mere craftsman, although a craftsman can elevate what he makes to the level of poetry, if you do pause to understand how poet is used herein. Nonetheless, how we talk about art and how and when we become an artist in our culture only shows we know too little about what we fail to mean at with the words we garble in our mouths and on our pages.
There must be this special attention to perfection. ‘Perfect’ comes from the Latin perfectum, and perfectum in Latin was anything complete in this metaphysical way; and metaphysics is not simply a way to talk about the real, it is of the real itself, it is by the real and for the real. Whatever a poet does do he does with enthusiasm, but more than the mere enthused we get about a new movie coming out starring our favorite actress, or how we get when the Yankees win the World Series, although there has always been poetry in the way Derek Jeter plays ball.
A poet can only make in this special way inferred, and only with that special attention toward perfection which we must understand is a special kind of completeness, one that does not come from perpetual doubt or praising mediocrity or insisting that the one who does know something is pretentious.
The culture of ignorance in America has been upon us for almost two generations at least; a fear of knowing collateral in its rise with the desire to abdicate responsibility. We do take humanity today as something given and not something to achieve or to build; yes, our humanity is something to make, and that’s to make in a special way, becoming a unique maker, someone who is, yes, a poet. ‘Poet’ comes from the Greek poeta. Herein we can say that poets are for humanity and that humanity is in poetry; poetry is something more than verse on a page or verse spoken, recited, sung.
This of course is contingent with thinking about poetry in a deeper, more comprehensive, or simply a broader way. But humanity for us is no longer a poetic endeavor, if I am permitted to return to the Greeks and understand making in this ancient yet viable way. For them, humanity moved along lines seen parallel with the development of arts and letters.
I recall from boyhood, the colloquial expression, “touched,” used for anyone who suffered mental illness, someone who had been touched by the angels a great-Aunt from the Berkshires had once said to me. There are lessons to be learned by us from each of those who cross our path, and on his or her path, either bears his or her cross. I can still see the heavy, think, carved wooden crucifix affixed to the wall above the bed upstairs at my Great Aunt’s in Pittsfield, my mother’s mother’s older sister, the latter having taken care of my mother after the former, my grandmother, found she could not be a mother in the way others expected her to be a mother.
She abandoned her daughter and sons and left her husband with three children and a farm. Il a ete touche par dieux, my grandfather used to say in French whenever he saw someone whom we used to call lame; he has been touched by God as Francis was touched by the Holy Ghost. Yes, wounded are we who have been blessed; to carry the cross, as it had been taught to us, as it has a million applications to how we enact compassion in the world day-to-day. In his lameness, the wounded man becomes a poet of compassion; his affliction itself the poetry of compassion. We who behold, the students, the apprentices.
To be human or to be humane is simply enclosed in the one French word, humaine, ; there is no humanity without being humane, of course is the correct inference. This weds the idea to be humane with the notion to be human; in the French mind. The latter cannot become without first the former coming to be. Nonetheless, what the French language understands clearly, and what the French people understand individually or collectively has often been at odds.
French semantic duality, though, should lead to a holistic understanding of our human being, in other words, our humanity, whereby we could allow this French view of what it means to be human to inform our cultural understanding of our humanity; that is, if we were serious about diversity and multiculturalism, as something other than what we practice, which is multiculturalism as a costume to wear and only valid if it maintains allegiance to contemporary dogmas on what it means to be a liberal American bourgeois capitalist bureaucratic intellectual–any perceived contradiction notwithstanding . . .
English, in its lexical plenitude has two words for being human whereby French has one. The English words ‘human’ and ‘humane’ both come from the French humaine; the ideas referenced by the two English words find their expression in the one and only one French. The semantic dichotomy in English leads us to mismanage our metaphysical construction of what it means to be human; it’s a wonder we do not all go off an ontological cliff. How much humanity I have has everything to do with how humane I am; this has been said before by me in other essays within the OR; however, it must be said again, repeated as much as motif will permit–and herein so far we are talking both qualitatively and quantitatively, each reciprocal with the other; human/humane.
Now whether I am human or not depends on factors that we assume are not quantifiable, at least in our current dogmas of empiricism. Yet, empiricism is essentially an anti-rationalism, if rationalism is understood as it has been in our civilizations philosophic traditions: the supremacy of reason over sense perception. Okay, my humanity then is what? Anyone is homo-sapiens just by having been born; this is clear.
Cousin to the Great Apes is our birthright, and this is for reasons other than the empirical conclusion that I am very hairy. I am human, or so I have assumed, and allow me to assume so for the time it takes me to complete this notion that I am something at least akin to human; that is, as human stands in contrast with what it means to be homo-sapiens, one of many animals here on earth. But I repeat myself; I have had the habit of repeating long before I became a teacher.
Repetition at best is called motif, at worst it becomes redundant, how plodding does speech become with unnecessary repetition . . .philosophy used to be a love of wisdom, as set by its Greek etymology, philo sophia; however, the highest wisdom nowadays rests in doubt, and not merely a mistrust of what we know, thus testing the limits of knowing, but a conviction that we can never know as we once believed was possible. We have been, for about a century and a half, or more, playing an epistemological Russian roulette. Anyone who asserts anything categorically or absolutely, anyone that has conviction for what he knows, becomes immediately suspect. What is it that I am trying to say you might wonder? Who would have to wonder, why? I do not, not now after I have . . . we are going to have lunch at the Shagawong in Montauk. A fried fish platter with a pint of Toasted Lager . . . I am hungry after walking this morning past the Hoo Doos below the cliffs of Shadmoor to Ditch Plains . . .
I do not surf as I am not a chair, nor a rock, nor a gorilla. There is enough evidence to the contrary of anyone of these, enough quantifiable evidence excluding me from categorical membership with any inanimate thing and other animals. I do however, share categories with them, especially the gorilla. As matter, the rock and I are one in some ways, but then elementally, the sun and I share commonality. The stuff of the stars. There have been opposite turning strands of RNA found on asteroids, that is, building components in DNA that differ from all of those found on earth. I wish I knew better the implications–I’d say something about them, but I cannot because I do not have what I have wished I could have . . .
So, yes, I am not a chair; I am a man, a man not so unlike any other man, one entirely different from every other man. How many times can I repeat myself about my Self, about me, about who I am and what I am? More questions begetting questions.
Humanity is perfectible; being a Homo-sapiens is froth with imperfections and flaws, many, many flaws. The perfect human is the humane one. You know left handed prehistoric man could shake hands with his right hand, a gesture once believed to be a way to show non-aggression by showing that there was no rock in the hand . . . a left handed Cro-Magnon could hide a rock in his left hand while shaking with his rockless right hand, and then take the rock in his lewft hand, and with the prowess of his left-hand in his left-handedness hit the other prehistoric man in the head and kill him . . . and how evil is that, it is evil, all lefties are evil, the spawn of the prehistoric human who was able to kill his foe while shaking hands.
Chimpanzees have been known to raid baboon nests. They have been observed doing this where they would then chase off the adult baboons, beating them up, off and away from their babies. The chimpanzees would then capture the baby baboons who they would then beat against trees until the baby baboons were sacks of mushy, pulpy flesh and shattered bones. The chimpanzees would then, after beating the baby baboons to death, stand in a circle, where they would play catch with the sack that was once a living baby baboon. This is not a response to any aggression by the baboons. This is not ancillary to a fight for food or for survival. This is only because the chimpanzees had nothing else to do, which is a behavior that can be determined through observation. It was for sport. I do not want to venture an inquiry about who watches chimpanzees do this. I am sure naturalist observations of animal behavior must have no human intervention. The naturalist cannot feel bad for the gazelle that the lions take down and eat.
The chimpanzee is the species of animal that is the closest relative of the Homo-Sapiens. We are Homo-sapiens first and often times in the final analysis. We are 98% identical in our DNA with our chimpanzee brothers. Our specialization in this killing for no reason is that we blindly and senselessly kill one another; even the chimpanzees do not do this to themselves. Of course, we have ways of separating ourselves from our commonality; we look at people from other religions, other races as if we were chimps sizing up the baboons. But this is actually the anomaly when it comes to human violence and inhumanity to fellow humans.
Everywhere humans are found, Cain is Abel’s brother. If any examination of the murder statistics collected by the U.S. Department of Justice is made, anyone can see clearly that African-Americans kill African-Americans and White people kill White people, the former at rate of 96 out of every 100, the latter at a rate of around 80 out of every 100. For every 100 murders where an African-American is the victim, the perpetrator is another African-American. For every 100 murders where the victim is white, the perpetrator is white around 80 times. These are from the 2012 Department of Justice statistics on murder broken down by the categories of race, gender and ethnicity.
There are reasons to kill. I was once reminded by a Hasidic Jewish ESL student that the commandment is not, Thous shall not kill, but Thou shall not murder. And this is the point here. The above ratios are for murder, not killing. We murder not only our own, Homo-sapiens to Homo-sapiens–I still insist that human is a choice, human is something Homo-sapiens can become, but is not something they are born–but we murder more often those who the bureaucracy tells us are our own. African-American murders African-American, Asian murders Asian, White murders White, each murdering another of his own at a rate significantly higher than another other not of his own. To kill or not to kill has been the last centuries guiding question; yes, Albert, the century of murder.
Of course, this idea of his own has to be spread across the bureaucratic and other social barriers built between races and ethnicities, gender, religion, and class. Nonetheless, although I support such moves by our society, I do not have the optimism that others might have. The day we have no consciousness of these distinctions, however, is the day we might have free-for-all murder across all former barriers. The horror of existence might be that as soon as we eliminate all distinctions, we will then broaden the pool from which we choose to murder. This is not a corrective against any forward movement toward a less racially and ethnically divisive society, but a satire on our nature as Homo-sapiens, and how feeble our humanity really is in face of the nature we misunderstand and mismanage. It is, though, important to note how the media manages inter-race murder as if it were an endemic problem. The media insists we live not in the world as it is, but the world as they present it, represent it, manage it and package it. We are all bound by the bows and strings they use to wrap up events.
I am that I am as I am when I am where I am how I am that I am. What does it mean in this world to say I am human?