jacques-louis david's the death of socrates.
barefoot in the back of allejandro vallega's lecture, i was re-introduced to some fairly fundamental questions. among them was a big ol' western philosophical gem that has got me doing mental double takes:

how can we become human beings?

simultaneously curious and defensive, i reacted against this question, even as its premise was still being glossed: 

'what do you mean we're not inherently human?' i fumed silently.

"we are potential human beings. we're not human beings until we are ethical." vallega's serendipitous explanation resounding in my mind, i wove my way through the crowd of freshmen and strode away to meet a friend. 

'are we inherently human?' i assumed so. why didn't the greeks?

walking past the library, i shudder through aching memories of a text message i sent in frustration so long ago. "you have to tell me when we're done. it's called being a human being." 

i've been saying that i regard everyone as valuable because they exist. all this time, maybe i haven't acted like it's true. i can point now to times in the past when i've decided when people were worthy of respect as human beings and when they weren't.

can i break out of my insecurity, and learn to love each person for who they are, and choose to respect them for what they are? can i retreat from self-focus and engage wholeheartedly in the pursuit of understanding the perspectives of my neighbors?

maybe so, and maybe this sort of thing is vitally important...

and this is how a mind forms, of molten cosmologies and into universal claims. but i don't want to be right. i pretty much only want to be alive.

if you haven't already, check out occupy wall street. what a fascinating twist in the largely unprecedented drama of our times!


  1. i think about the human question, too. especially because my friend said to me "you're not afraid to be human".

    i think maybe, as well as being able to treat others better, being human is accepting the fact that we are messy, instead of perpetually hiding and fighting and numbing ourselves. i think having our eyes opened is the first step in overcoming our insecurities and being able to love others, like Jesus. :)

    Also, the whole occupy wallstreet stuff, i find particularly exciting. A lot of people don't think so, because they don't see past their idea that it's trying to ruin Capitalism, but i think these guys are standing up for something better. Hopefully, localism and community kicks in, if the case is that the protests and opposition becomes sucessful, and wallstreet comes crashing. then maybe we'll finally get to live in true solidarity. A solidarity that cannot be understood by people who have so deeply wrapped their minds around the idea that the only alternative to fascist capitalism is communism or socialism. But i dream of something better. Something without the greedy, power hungry authorities we've been warned about . i dream of community and servant-hood that will make us human again, like Jesus tried to show us...

  2. i dream of that too...