h&f 0058 There is no love or opinion, except by way of… Geography.

youarehere704I’m going to keep messing with this, but posting now as a thought piece.  How does it come to pass that we hold such violently strong opinions about things and really believe that we are dealing in principle, when, if we strip away geography, most of our lives change dramatically?  I mean, if you’re born in Dallas, Texas, I’ll bet safely in Vegas that you prefer the NFL American football Cowboys over the Washington Redskins.  Let’s take it deeper, and to, perhaps an uncomfortable place – geography on the most personal small scale – your household.  Would you have such an affinity to your family if not for the proximity?  The answer to that falls on both sides of my premise.  On the “yes” side, we’ll allow ourselves to grow to love “Dad” with all of his foibles and the worst of faults if we simply remain in the same houselhold.  Even in the worst love – hate, as opposed the absence of love, apathy – we still allow for the base humanity to be a possible redeeming factor.   On the “no” side, that affinity may not ever be redeemed if the actions of a person make it that difficult.  But, still, for all practical and human purposes, it takes some really heinous stuff to overcome the power of simple proximity.  I love because of where I am.

My gosh, this should not only be disheartening, but also downright scary, to think that your parent is only somebody who happened to be near.  ENTER:  the examined life.  It strikes me over and over the saying of Socrates: The unexamined life is not worth living.

That is, if I only love my people because I’ve not known or been near any other random people, then where is the individual?  Where is the value of this particular person to me?  Now, as I examine my life and the people in it, I can move in and out of my geography.   It’s possible for the examined life to accomodate being a fan of my team that happens to be the closest to me as long as I have a consciousness of that.  More importantly, it is possible for me to love a person distinctly for more than that person simply being attached to my life.  Take your geography away and examine the people near you.  See what makes this person more than the nearest mother or father.  See what makes this person yours.

I know some people will say that, by my very argument, geography won’t allow me to detach these people from my space.  If so, that is a good thing.  Geography is not an enemy.  Unexamined geography is.  This proximity is the only thing that will allow me to really get to know the genius of any one person.   So, while I can know that I am capable of loving any one person at the deepest level, that’s not of value except in the way I treat people – equally.  But, my mother or my wife (one day) as I know her, in and out of my space, is wholly valuable and unique to me.

So, if there is only geography, then God bless latitude and longitude, and whatever has put me at this place and time.



~ by ericjhenderson on November 12, 2008.

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