Living the difference!

From a cultural point of view, I think that those of the west are socially conditioned NOT TO respond to differences that are not related to production values (-- those being the divisions of labour which fuel the industrial economy).

On the other hand, a white teacher in a school in Namibia will have these questions directed at them:

What is it like being white?

Do you wish you had black skin?

Do you think that we are funny?

Would you ever be inclined to marry any of us?

These are probing questions which are intended to engender learning on an empirical level (one watches closely the teacher's reaction in order to gauge the meaning of racial differences).

In western schooling, such questions would be considered unconscionably rude. So, a way of knowing that is expressly NON-EMPIRICAL is required. Unfortunately, the schooling in political correctness often backfires, as one learns on the basis not of being permitted to ask and then observe the reactions of an outsider type for oneself, but on the basis of much more subtle and implied ideas, which, because of their way of distancing the subject at hand, produce a sense of danger or exoticism.

I think that many of the philosophical issues about difference would be greatly alleviated if only an empirical method to social interaction was considered culturally acceptable.

The refrain

Marechera uses the refrain “Daddy! Daddy!” explicitly to indicate that which is traumatically repressed innocence. This appears to be the aspect of the “Real” which is the Lacanian unassimilable aspect of experience. The refrain appears in The Poems Semantics and in the play The Wall, where the typical Marecherean trope of patriarchal rape, betrayal and abuse is played out. In the post war play, which features A Beckettian lack of memory as its plays’ trope, the refrain clearly enunciates directly the betrayal of innocence, because the female children of the soldiers are sacrificed as victims of war. Thus, “Daddy! Daddy!” is a condemnation of a war which was ostensibly fought “for the children” and yet did not serve them, but served male enthusiasms, instead. The lack of memory also indicates the traumatic nature of the war for the men — both black and white, they cannot remember what took place, although both were participants. But, in The Poems Semantics, the traumatic refrain returnds the poet from the realm of mere perceptions to the realm of the immediacy of experience. It turns him back to nature, indeed, into the very being of nature, as a tree. So, the experience of the traumatic level of being is ultimately life enhancing and integrates one from an abstractive attitude towards life  into a direct relationship with Nature.