what we eat but
i’m realizing what my great problem is, what is making it hard to sleep, what is making my head hurt: I know it’s complicated, but I wish I didn’t.
I wish I could believe in something simple: Palestine is right, Israel is wrong. But, I cannot. I cannot take words for granted, and I cannot take for granted people.
Yet despite knowing, really understanding how complicated, unsimple everything is, I also somehow recognize something that seems simple: what israel is doing is “wrong.” I shouldn’t have put wrong in quotes, it betrays my cowardice but I am a coward.
How can there be a solution for a problem that cannot be defined? A solution without definitions is worthless. I want to believe in a simple question and a simple answer, but I do not know how without stopping myself from thinking. Does that mean that thinking is wrong, that it is a waste of time? That thinking only keeps people from doing?
There is a wrong here, but in trying to define that wrong it all comes apart. St. Augustine says something similar in the confessions somewhere, how we can “know” an idea perfectly and confidently (I think his example is love) but the second we are asked to describe it, it begins to mean nothing.
How not to see both sides?, fitzgerald: “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.” (courtesy of LD)
All the same ideas in all the smartest people over and over, how everything is beyond understanding how there can be no answers yet how must try yet there is good that is done and there is suffering that is. Reconciling. How to–?
I want, with every piece of my being, to believe in something, some answer.
Can one divide human reality, as indeed human reality seems to be genuinely divided, into clearly different cultures, histories, traditions, societies, even races, and survive the consequences humanly? By surviving the consequences humanly, I mean to ask whether there is any way of avoiding the hostility expressed by the division…
He opens concretely, speaking about sciences of peoples but then can’t help but falling over and over words like “imagination” and “arbitrary,”
It is perfectly possible to argue that some distinctive objects are made by the mind, and that these objects, while appearing to exist objectively, have only a fictional reality. A group of people living on a few acres of land will set up boundaries between their land and its immediate surroundings and the territory beyond, which they call “the land of the barbarians.” In other words, this universal practice of designating in one’s mind a familiar space which is “ours” and an unfamiliar space beyond “ours” which is “theirs” is a way of making geographical distinctions that can be entirely arbitrary. I use the word “arbitrary” here because imaginative geography of the “our land-barbarian land” variety does not require that the barbarians acknowledge the distinction. It is enough for “us” to set up these boundaries in our own minds; “they” become “they” accordingly, and both their territory and their mentality are designated as different from “ours.” To a certain extent modern and primitive societies seem thus to derive a sense of their identities negatively.
There is no objective right or wrong, only the doings of man.
We need not decide here whether This kind of imaginative knowledge infuses history and geography, or whether some way it overrides them. Let us just say for the time being that it is there as something more than what appears to be merely positive knowledge.
I don’t know what my intention is, quoting passages of orientalism that are sticking out to me.
Not for nothing did Islam come to symbolize terror, devastation, the demonic, hordes of hated barbarians. For Europe, Islam was a lasting trauma. Until the end of the seventeenth century the “Ottoman peril” lurked alongside Europe to represent for the whole of Christian civilization a constant danger, and in time European civilization incorporated that peril and its lore, its great events,
There is something wrong here, settlers on hills, evils. But it is not every israeli that hates every palestinian.
That the conflict has not yet been settled, after so many years, is evidence of its complexity. The problem again is where to start though. I do not want to hide behind complexity, claiming no side being too afraid to be wrong.
In listening too closely to Said, I think I risk falling into presumptions that fundament his thinking: that the powers that control matter, that the money and medias that are the West, the Controllers, matter. I want to believe that: there is an imbalance but only in a certain dialect of what power is, a dialect and definition of power that I do not hold with. It is always that I feel as if I am tending toward god. Every time I feel as if I am getting closer to a true answer, I also feel as if I am moving closer to an Allah figure; this cannot be a coincidence. Words and sciences in our world only have truth and objectivity within their own respective frameworks; but there is a thing that must be right through all things, regardless of facts.
Philosophically, then, the kind of language, thought, and vision that I have been calling Orientalism very generally is a form of radical realism; anyone employing Orientalism, which is the habit for dealing with questions, objects, qualities, and regions deemed Oriental, will designate, name, point to, fix what he is talking or thinking about with a word or phrase, which then is considered either to have acquired, or more simply to be, reality.
Basic concepts determine the way in which we get an understanding beforehand of the area of a subject-matter underlying all the objects a science takes as its theme… Only after the area itself has been explored beforehand in a corresponding manner do these concepts become genuinely demonstrated and grounded… Basically, all ontology… remains blind and perverted from its ownmost aim, if it has not first adequately clarified the meaning of Being, and conceived this clarification as its fundamental task H10-11, Being and Time
They all seem to say similar stuff.
I want to believe in a right here, but my problem is that “belief” and “right” are figments, illusions.
What I don’t understand then is: are the settlements surrounding yanoun figments? Are busstops only for israelis illusions? They are symptoms of a sickness. What is that sickness?