Wednesday, December 02, 2009

This land is my land?

"Dostoevsky explains in his Crime and Punishment, 'Do you think I care if they talk nonsense?  Hogwash! Talking nonsense is man's only privilege that distinguishes him from all other organisms. If you keep talking big nonsense, you will get to sense.  I am a man, therefore I talk nonsense.  Nobody ever got a single truth without talking nonsense fourteen times first.  Maybe even a hundred and fourteen.  That's all right in its own way.  We don't even know how to talk nonsense intelligently, though!'"

In his essay "Contested Ground: How history betrays reality and power obscures everything under the sun,"  Charles Bowden describes life along man-made borders (bolding mine):  "I want to sing a song, but I'm just now learning the lyrics and the band is out drinking and so I must hum to myself, but still there is this song and it has been going on for thousands, maybe millions of years and it keeps breaking into new chords and rhythms once it hits this section of earth we call the border where the sky goes dry and the ground gets gouged into canyons and the mountains erupt from mysterious energies of the planet itself, this song of hunger and love and many peoples who stumble into this country and think they can make it their own and keep it for themselves and beat back anything that threatens their hold on it. And this band of earth disappears, is mutilated by the claims of tribes and nations that cut it up into units and deny what the eye sees, a vast inland realm of desert and mountains and teeming grasslands.  This is the place where we always insist on our power because the enormity of the ground and the hard rules of the sky make us tremble and fear that we do not have power."

(From Orion Magazine - November | December 2009)


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