I don’t have anything worth saying. I am not qualified, you are the expert. Tell me what I need to know.
Why would anybody listen to me?
We have constructed in the world a complex of experts and credentials that merely repeat our earliest experiences.
We are powerless in our first years of life. Our survival depends on our caregivers.
For those of us with parents whose first opportunity to have power was when they parented small children, who had no active voice in the world until their children came along...
For us, our voices were made small.
And it is the work of a lifetime to bring our voices out into the fray again.
No one has the right to a voice more than another.
The mansplaining can stop.
You don’t even get to say whether you like what someone says or not when liking it is conflated with its worthiness.
You can only respond. Each of us can only respond. Anything more than a subjective response is a pretension and a delusion.
And we can listen. To the experiences of each other. To find out what really is.
Throw out the half-basked “studies”, the “expert” opinions (2 seconds on the other side of media production will help with that), the “thinkers”.
And let’s just talk. Working towards understanding.
And for those who do have power. Our position should humble us. We are caretakers of the wellbeing of others. A task for which none of us are wholly suitable.
Interpretation, based on the highly dubious theory that a work of art is composed of items of content, violates art. It makes art into an article for use, for arrangement into a mental scheme of categories. Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation, 1966
In this way interpretation is violence.
I can hear the counter examples coming my way. Of course, of course, interpretation is useful, analysis is important.
But more often than that it reinforces power dynamics that are old. And violent. And traumatic.
This post is about the emergent voice and also the dominating one. We each have both.
Listen. Quiet. Be. Ask. Speak.
The work of opening our hearts is the work.
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