Nothing human is alien to us, except violence & cruelty

Today I received a lovely note from a Facebook friend who said he appreciated my posts but finished reading “every piece with gripping sadness.” It isn’t my intent to add to the quotient of human sadness in the world; it’s hard enough to live. But it is my intent to create not just discomfort–& certainly not guilt–but indignation over how human beings are treated in this world. How can we commit to changing things if we don’t know exactly what’s going on?

American socialization teaches us we are the only truly civilized people in the world, the only ones who matter & puts us at odds with other people. I’m steeped in the gestalt of the 60s generation who could not/cannot live with such provincial horizons. That’s why so many seniors remain the backbone of social protest around the world.

There’s a wonderful quote from Terence, the Roman writer, which several writers have modified & used, including Marx & Tennessee Williams. I modified Williams’ version from Night of the Iguana: “Nothing human is alien to us, except violence & cruelty.” You can’t identify with such a high-flown statement without telling the truth about that which is alien to us.

And that’s why I’m the bearer of sad news.

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