If you want to leave, I don’t blame you.
Because if you stay and have a progressive outlook, what might constitute a meaningful response for you is rather daunting. Think about it. If you truly want to engage in an effective program of action, you are going to have to travel to the center, to the place where this thing was born and monstrously grows.
It means leaving the comfort of coasts and connections to the dream of a wider world and horizons that promise a future. It means leaving the networks and webs of global concerns and challenging cultural enthusiasms. It means leaving the coffee shops, books, position papers, programs for self-study with Rosetta Stone, and those urban lofts with lots of natural light. Even if you fancy yourself as less International and more Agrarian, selling that Salve of the True South from your small stand on market day, dreaming of the harmonious resonance of gardens, guns, and racial goodwill, you, too, will have to walk away from your plow and head for the center.
The call issued from the center. There’s a malignancy there. I won’t call it a black hole because nothing could survive in one. That’s not the best metaphor. And there is something surviving there, though just barely. Let’s call it the Heart of Darkness or maybe Freud’s Navel of the Dream. (Mordor? a friend pipes in. Sure, why not. Or let’s get Lovecraftian and call out “Cthulhu.”) It’s a rot. And if you want to do something, that’s really where you have to go. Here it is: your chance for a Hero’s Journey.
I think this is about trauma, really. It’s the trauma of devastation and abandonment. The center no longer is the center of meaning. It has been exploited, written off, and left behind, as if the center could somehow be shifted elsewhere. A moveable, surrogate center for those who can afford to travel along with it. What’s left is a wound, a trauma, with a residue of anger, fear, desperation, crying, regression, violence. And the dark forces of Reaction are now attempting to tap into the trauma by giving it shape and a new set of enemies and objects.
So, if you stay, you have no choice, you have to go there. You have to bring new meanings. And they will not want you. Like a wounded animal, they will want to bite. They will call it condescension. They will tell you to leave since you can’t handle the Truth. You will have to be very careful. You may have to work at night, quietly. Plant a few seeds. Maybe a tree. Then you have to hang out there for a while and make sure growth takes hold. Try to make some friends while you are waiting.
I don’t blame you if you don’t want to stay here. Really. And this has me thinking about my plans. I still nurture the dream of finding warehouse space where rents are cheap. Maybe I have to find it somewhere in the center. Or else it’s exile. Who knows? There’s much to consider.