I’m Not Charlie | Clarissa’s Blog
I wonder whether much of the paucity in contemporary ethics and social criticism comes out of a desire to consider oneself from an identity point of view, rather than an ethical one. If I am of the mind that I have to police others and draw boundaries for them regarding what they are allowed to stand for OR put out there as their image, then I will have a totally different perspective on the world than if I simply said, “It’s not an image game.” Back when 9-11 occurred, the rightists were saying, “Oh, those Islamic types don’t respect us because we don’t control our women!” How sensitive of them to be concerned with how they appeared to others. Nowadays, contemporary leftists are saying the same: “We appear to others in a negative light — us, the collective West and Borg Mind.”
Ouch! It’s as if there were a very, very finely balanced fulcrum out there in the world and we had to make sure that nobody made any sudden moves to unbalance it. A spate of terrorism? “Oh you must have unbalanced the fulcrum in some way! Better look within. Or police ourselves to death.’
This state of mind is very, very infantile. I don’t blame people, though, or not as much as I might, since I have also thought in this manner. When I realized the gargantuan proportions of my error, I revised the script and returned to one that was more based in reason and historical knowledge.
People in the contemporary West do need to get over their concern with how others see them and their magical thinking concerning invisible balancing fulcrums. There really are better, more mature ways to engage with the world. A deeper understanding of the real origins of historical tensions would even allow us to be much more ethical and humane in our dealings with others. We just have to give up the self-obsession with “how we seem” and the power trip of policing others.