Wholly aware of the irony as I record my thoughts within this highly public yet technically faceless sphere of the internets, I frequently muse upon the dangers of words written from a place of physical remove. Communications undertook apart from the presence of ears also connotates an absence of psychic frequencies, and from there little likelihood of a mutual spiritual or moral code of conduct.
A few years back, I wanted to work on an academic style essay for use as a writing sample. In it, I compared the Black and Indian experience of literacy. In the language of academia, here’s a bit of what I wrote:
Early American politics laid much of its hierarchical groundwork upon a foundation of authority largely claimed through this faceless written literacy. Both Native and African Americans saw their path to advocacy through the lens of education – forward toward an often idealized literate future. For African Americans, this path was restricted by laws prohibiting their education. They are barred from and must struggle to access the ideal. For Native Americans, this path was accessible via missions of education designed to replace tribal self-determination. They are granted access to the idealized spoils of literacy on the condition of surrendering language and land.
In both instances, literacy is a matter of utilizing dominant modes of communication that prioritize decreed measures of success, and worth. Present, lived interactions of sight, sound, movement, psyche, and spirit are relegated to the realm of the incidental and unimportant.
It’s interesting to see the current evolution of those same dynamics, wherein groups of people are defined through words written about and away from them, actual faces unseen. While this abstraction can be used for inspirational purposes, as a means of engendering empathy, the converse is so dangerous as to easily become the greater force. So we have an internet filled with words of dismissal and mockery directed toward wholly unmet fellow citizens. Such writings fester alongside a toxicity of laws and bills written far from the doorsteps of we the people who will be answering for the deregulations of polluters and the unbridled marketing of military weaponry and the selling off of quality soil and water to the benefit of the highest bidders. Yet, we the faceless hordes are written out of the reckoning of words selected with little ear for the betterment of our lives. Sadly, many of us are too distracted by disembodied words of division to notice the wholesale workings of plutocracy that indeed unite us through a common dismissal of our humanity. As in, beyond our mass worth as consumerist cogs.
We could be better than the words written to dissect us from our hearts. But we need to speak among one another, in the spaces occupied by bodies and souls and spirits aware of truths that cannot be uttered in absentia.