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Bayo Akomolafe seeks bewilderment
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Bayo Akomolafe seeks bewilderment
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Conversations
7 August 2020

Bayo Akomolafe seeks bewilderment

In the space of a few weeks, four unrelated people sent me interviews and writings by Bayo Akomolafe, all with a subject line that went something like: “essential reading for this time.” I’d never heard of the Nigerian philosopher and poet before, but as I launched into his work, it quickly became apparent why so many people were shining a light his way. His website bursts with provocations and offerings like: “These times are urgent. Let us slow down”, “The way we respond to the crisis is part of the crisis,” and, perhaps most stirring of all, “We are coming down to Earth. We will not arrive intact.”

Born in a Christian home to Yoruba parents, much of Bayo’s upbringing was lived believing, “If it was white it was right.” He lost his father suddenly as a teenager, sending him on an inward journey that led him to train as a clinical psychologist – only to find that something else was tugging at his sleeves, something beyond articulation. Through writing and teaching, he has been able to create a home for the unsolvable and preposterous, one that accommodates our yearning for a world beyond binaries of right and wrong and “more at peace than the stories of infinite growth allow.” In 2016, he co-founded the Emergence Network, an organisation of trickster activist-artists inspired to rethink our patterns of responding to crises.

Today, Bayo considers his most sacred work learning how to be with his children, Alethea and Kyah and his wife and “life-nectar,” Ijeoma. Together, they are on a journey of unlearning, living in Chennai, India. A wise and widely-regarded voice in the climate conversation, Bayo offers perspectives that challenge human centrality and the hope of us fixing the crises we’ve created. Instead, his work calls for meeting the incomprehensibility of the moment, for becoming “fugitives” from the established order who come together around outlawed desires – thereby, perhaps, orienting somewhere deeper than solutions, somewhere “too sacred for words to embrace.”

This story originally ran in issue #64 of Dumbo Feather

NATHAN SCOLARO: I’d like to begin with a bit of a check in, to note how we’re arriving to the conversation. We’ve been doing a lot of it over this period in meetings et cetera and I’ve found it enormously helpful.

BAYO AKOMOLAFE: Well I just want to say I came off a call with an international organisation and consortium of museums that I do some work with. I am often invited to act as a provocateur – to shake them from their preservationist notion, archiving the past and stuff. And we started with everyone just jumping into business. I was invited to speak and I said, “I don’t feel like I’m here. Can we check in? Just say how we’re doing?” And it was like a breath of fresh air. So, I’m glad you’re starting that way.

This story originally ran in issue #64 of Dumbo Feather

This story originally ran in issue #64 of Dumbo Feather

It shifts it entirely doesn’t it? And for some of us it’s the only time we get to pause and think about how we’re actually going. So I really value it in our work.

Yes. Beautiful. So I’m good. I’ve heard talk that people are having mental breakdowns from being at home so much. I’m having a mental lift up! [Laughs]. Because I’ve been travelling for years now non-stop every month, airports, planes, so much that people know me on aeroplanes! So I feel healthy just being at home with my family right now. And I can’t complain. I know the tragedy of the moment, the indeterminacy of the moment. But I feel grateful to be here.

Mm. That’s lovely to hear. I have certainly felt that at times over this long period of lockdown. So I’m in Victoria in Australia and we’ve gone into a second lockdown. So we came out for a while.

Oh my…

Our numbers went down. And then a couple of weeks ago they spiked and we went back in. Which was really very challenging. The first time was a lot of stripping back and understanding what’s essential, really enjoying domestic life and feeling quite connected to my local community. But now is more mentally challenging. We were just starting to see friends again and I was like, “Oh, these connections really are beautiful.” So last week I felt unstable and quite out of sorts. This week is about consolidating what is. And I’m happy to be talking with you and to be doing this magazine, which is essentially about the learnings that we’re taking from this year — halfway through the year, which I know is quite strange to be doing a magazine on a year at this point! But it speaks to just how much we have gone through! I actually wanted to begin with this pause period that we’re in. How this time of slowing down has helped us to confront the cracks within our systems and the shortfalls in how we’ve been living. I’m curious about what this time has exposed for you?

I’ve been thinking about the pandemic as an explosion. Of the Hiroshima sort, of the Nagasaki sort. And this blast has converted our bodies. If you go back in history, the explosion that created the Hibakusha, which I don’t know if you know, the Hibakusha are the class of Japanese citizens who were affected by the blasts – and not just those who were immediately in the presence of that, but their children as well. So it’s this separate class of people who were close to the explosion. In a sense, in their bodies, the explosion is still happening because they are now, more than any other part of the population, susceptible to various forms of cancer like leukaemia. I feel in a sense the pandemic has irradiated our bodies as well. That we are suddenly alien collectively. Questions that were not possible before are now possible. We’re now asking things that would have been crazy to even contemplate. We’re asking about Universal Basic Income, we’re asking about schooling and what an education actually means. Here in India people are asking, “What if we don’t go back to school after all this?” Not that I feel there’s any chance there’ll be a mainstream exodus from the schooling industry. But it’s just that spark of failure if you will. Failure of the system to contain the alternative. Like a “what if?” is now possible. And not just that. On this call I had, they mentioned 15 percent of museums will not be reopened because of the pandemic. The airline industry is still shuddering in the wake of this. The world is irreparably altered by this explosion. We’ve witnessed the arrival of a monster and we’re no longer the prominent species on the planet. Not that we ever were. But it’s now possible to see it. To notice that we need to give space for this other being that is among us. Speaking archetypally, we need to make space. Maybe the space is six feet, maybe it’s more, but we need to make space for this other presence that is now among us. We need to cover our mouths in deference, you know, in reverence for this being. We need to prostrate to the ground. It’s like we must worship whether we like it or not. Whether we even know what we’re doing or not. We must worship this god that has now shown face. What it means for us personally in my family is, well we’ve always been homeschooling our kids. Our kids are seven and three years old. They’ve never been to school. We’re not intending for them to just “go to school.” We’re meeting our children as awkward aspects of a universe that wants to revisit itself. So we’re learning with them. And this whole situation has only reinforced that practice.

So it’s a reinforcement more than an exposing for you personally. I feel like now that more of us are in this place of seeing what is, the question is how do we rebuild? What are the new tools that we use? Where are we going? I’m having a lot of conversations around what is the image of prosperity that we are working towards. What is the vision? Something that I read from you was the importance of the meantime. And maybe it’s a holding of both. How do we vision the way forward while being very true to what we’re experiencing?

I think that we need spaces that supplement this march forward. Or to at least trouble it enough so that it’s not a confident march into the spaces that we’ve already colonised, but a hesitation, a humble – perhaps even humiliating – recognition that forward movement is no longer possible. In some senses I think people are being rendered incapable of marching forward. I’m hearing from people that they can no longer do things they could do before. Like going to the office. So again, taking this idea of the Hibakusha to some extreme. It’s to say that we are now Hibakusha. We are alien, so to speak. And aliens may not be able to do things that the non-aliens can do. We have to recognise and give account for how our bodies and our minds and our desires have changed. Let me stick to one aspect that is coming up for me that I feel is really important. If we look at the nation state, all the institutions that make the normal normative, that stabilise the world, they are actively trying to restore that normal. It’s some restorative process that is wanting to happen. “Let’s get back to the office, let’s get back to the economy, let’s get back to airplanes. Let’s do everything we did before.” Right? And that I feel is dangerous. Of course I think many people are realising that that is dangerous. But those of us who have been irradiated by what is coming out from the cracks might find ourselves being criminalised by these institutions, by the nation state. When something transversal, when an alien if you will – to use the Hollywood tropes of an alien – crashes into a planet, there are broadly two ways that a community might deal with it. Either it accepts this exteriority and then recalibrates how it sees itself and its own universe and knowledges and sciences and everything, or it criminalises the alien and pushes it outside, pathologises it and says, “This is rubbish. Let’s do our best to remove this thing and get back to business as usual.” And in that same sense we are seeing complex cross-currents of efforts and dynamics to restore, to push out the alien, to say, “This is pathological, let’s not give this any thought, let’s get back to the GDP and everything as usual.” But there is an opportunity as well.

Those of us who feel very strongly that we can no longer ask questions the way we’ve been asking them can camp together. Can convene like fugitives.

We can constellate the fugitives. Come together and ask new questions. Dwell in those places of trouble. And, you know, devise methodologies for accounting for how things have changed. And maybe there in those spaces of grief, those spaces of loss, those places of descent, going into the underground, we can find new questions to ask. We can find exquisite new things to say that were not possible before the monster showed its face. That’s the work of the moment, right? The portal is opening, we risk the normal. We risk victory. I’m really hoping for something to happen before the Trumps and the Bolsonaros and the Modis of the world declare victory over this virus and say, “We’ve won, we have a vaccine right now.” I hope that doesn’t become the case before we start plumbing new questions.

Yes. And you said something there around the grief that we need to experience. The acknowledgement of what’s lost seems to be a key part of the work. Where do we start with that? We turn our backs on normal, we convene as fugitives. We’re asking these questions. What is the letting go process? What are we saying goodbye to? I think I know it on some level, you know, I feel a visceral reaction to flying right now. I just don’t want to do it. And I find it very challenging because my family are on the other side of the country and I’ve missed them for the past six months. But the thought of going on a plane, it feels bizarre and otherworldly. So there are some things like that. But I want to push it even harder.

Yeah. Well again the virus is not just a virus. That’s a reductionistic account of this becoming. Modernity’s gift, if I could put it as a gift, is stability. Is concretion around identity. Its work is to flatten, right? To make space for the human to thrive. And by the human I don’t just mean the bipedal figure. I mean all the processes, all the dynamics, all the ideologies that make it possible for us to be stable individuals. Modernity’s work is to make home for the human. And the human is a racialised process that works by excluding others from that category of being human. So already this virus is not just a pathogen. It’s a catalyst.

It is in many forms an invitation to notice the human. Which is why I find it very interesting that it coincides with perhaps the greatest mass mobilisation of bodies across the planet for the George Floyd incident.

The killing of that black man. And everywhere around the planet, I think even more than the climate change march of a year before or 10 years before (I have no understanding of linear time anymore!).

[Laughs].

But the one led by Greta Thunberg. We just witnessed this George Floyd protest and I feel it’s not disconnected. People might read it differently from the virus. Say, “Oh, we have COVID here and we have the George Floyd.” I think it’s interconnected. It’s “intraconnected.”

 

Say more about that.

The virus is attacking not just human bodies but the very paradigm of the human. And it’s exposing whiteness as this territorial presence, this organism that is excluding other bodies. It works by excluding other bodies from being seen. So maybe the anger, the fervour, the yearning that burst open with this messianic intensity around George Floyd has to do with also what the virus is breaking open. People are now seeing more clearly that we cannot continue to walk in the world as if we’re singular individuals and there’s nothing amiss. The obvious is no longer obvious is what I’m trying to get at. And that is one place to start from. It is one entry point. I think Deleuze, the French philosopher, would call it a map. There’s no one starting point to read a map. It depends on where you are. So wherever you find yourself in a map is your starting point of the map. For me and for people like me it’s asking questions about where does blackness go in this time? After the fires of the GeorgeFloyd protests in America subside, where do we go? What new questions do we ask? Does blackness resume its work as a site of struggle against whiteness? Or do we ask new questions? That we shouldn’t strive for a front row seat on the Titanic. Maybe this entire structure is not sustainable. Maybe it’s going down. Maybe we should start building new worlds by asking new questions. And maybe from other points of view people might ask questions about the loss of this time. Not just a loss of loved ones. It’s a loss of the world that has died. It’s asking questions about climate change, which is not disconnected from racial matters as well. It’s feeling the loss of the coral reef. It’s feeling the loss of our systems of communities around the planet. I think we now have a more intimate relationship with loss. Like grief is now not some exterior thing. It’s never been, but again the virus catalyses. It has catalysed things and brought it closer. I think in a sense we’re also grieving the loss of touch. Like touch is now suspicious, right? Touch is now conspiratorial. We need to respect the god between us!

 

The way the body moves now when someone walks past you, I’m so surprised by that. The expression of kindness in that encounter is not actually to lean in, it’s to move the hell away.

[Laughs]. I feel it’s a form of worship. Our bodies are gesturing, and I think more than fear, you know, the official story is that we’re just social distancing. I feel our bodies are also trying to navigate the presence of something that exceeds us. Something that is greater than us. James Hillman, the archetypal psychologist, would say that the conceit and the lie of modernity is that the gods left. The gods escaped. And so it’s just us here. And the only thing that resembles a god is the white propertied male. It’s Bill Gates, it’s Zuckerberg, that’s the closest thing we have to a god, the sculpture of David in the museum. But listen, the gods are still here. They populate our furniture, they’re in our desks, they’re in our laptops, they’re in our cells. They’re all around us. It’s because we have failed to account for these presences, the unseen entourage around us, the monstrous middle, that we now have to do it in this way. So I think social distancing is not just a protocol for avoiding each other. It’s a ritual, a rite of passage to notice what’s between.

 

Mmm. That’s wonderful. And I like this because my concern is how do we actually stop thinking of the Mark Zuckerbergs and Bill Gates as gods? How do we change that? I think about narrative a lot, what’s the new story that’ll shift the mindset? But what you’re suggesting is that it’s just naturally going to extinguish. We’re not going to be giving them energy anymore because this thing is orienting us in a different way. So that will naturally break down.

You can call it a natural breakdown. I’m very hesitant to use the word “nature” because of my feminist training. But the thing here is to notice that we will not do this on our own. We’re not on our own. We’ve never been, brother. We’ve never been on our own. And that is our salvation, it’s not even our own concern.

Decolonisation is not about us getting our acts together, coming up with ideas unilaterally, and saving the day. Decolonisation has always been a parliament of voices. A partnership between us and wild coalitions of beings

It’s not singularly left up to us. This I think helps us understand that. I mean we’ve been working since the 1970s to get our act together around climate change. We’ve been saying, and I have a text that actually says it, “Tomorrow will be too late,” since the 1970s. Published in the 1970s when the first Earth Day was instituted. And then this virus comes and everything slows down. So it’s not up to us.

I want to hear a bit of your story now if that’s okay. And I thought maybe we could speak to it in terms of place, because you’re in India right now, you come from Nigeria. I’m curious how your story unfolds as it relates to place.

I was born in Nigeria to a diplomatic family. My father travelled all over the place. So we lived in Germany, we lived in Finland, we lived all over the world. And then we returned to Nigeria. I lived in Congo Kinshasa which was then called Zaire. Did some schooling there. Did some schooling in Germany too, Berlin. And then went back to Nigeria. My father died when I was 15 and then I went to the university and studied psychology. That’s where I met my wife. She’s an Indian. Hence the connection. She was in the biology department. And as I like to joke I’m a psychologist, she’s a biologist, between us there’s a lot of chemistry.

[Laughs]. Love that!

Nerds’ joke. Only the nerds get that one. And we basically moved to India where she grew up here in Chennai. We live a small intense intimate life to grow our children in the way that is independent on schooling and appreciates that children are not just empty vessels that come into the world for us to stuff full of “adultism.” Like, go get a job or something. Maybe in a few years’ time, jobs will not be possible anymore. Maybe it’s already begun. Maybe we’re now asking questions around what if we stopped working? What if we didn’t contribute to the economy anymore and we expanded the economy to mean what most women are already doing at home?

The management of the household. Yeah.

Exactly! I mean those things that don’t count in this militaristic order called “the economy,” are what sustains the economy. The trees are counted as externalities, but without their contribution there’s no economy. What if we started with what sustains? And so we are allowing ourselves to listen to our daughter and our son. That is difficult. But we’re listening, we’re treating her as a philosopher in her own right. Like

it’s not about what you do when you grow up. It’s not que sera sera anymore. It’s about “what can you ask right now that we can form a research study around together?”

Both of us frame it. And my wife we founded an organisation called the Emergence Network which is based here in India. The central idea of that work is, maybe the way we approach the problem is the problem. And that speaks to everything we’re also witnessing around the pandemic.

Let’s unpack that in terms of the climate problem that we have. That feels really relevant. You’ve said that the way we think about the climate crisis is the crisis.

Yeah. So the official doctrine of the climate discourse, if I could call it the official doctrine, the scientific enterprise tells us that the world is heating up. And it’s heating up because of carbon emissions. We’re pumping gases into the atmosphere and because everything is connected, everything is entangled. We’re literally proliferating death with industrial activity. The way we want to respond to this is to find solutions. To reduce carbon emissions. To trap it. Whether it’s actually shielding the planet from the sun’s rays, or whatever. You notice all of these ideas seem to come back to us. Seem to come back to anthropocentricity, which is the centrality of human. Most of the proposals out there are techno-bureaucratic, techno-scientific. Like, “We can fix this problem.” I feel, and I’m not the only one with this feeling, that the central issue here if you will, or the vibrant issue here, is the problem of our centrality.

Is the problem of our control. That even if we solved the problem, even if we actually reduced carbon emissions, we would still not have dealt with the crisis. The crisis exceeds the isolated problem that we notice. And the crisis here is that we deem ourselves to be permanent fixtures in the world that is expansive. More complex than a human can understand. So it’s not singularly about creating a machine that just solves the problem. Because that ironically replicates the problem. Think about it this way with the virus. Even if we found a vaccine, our centrality would still be a problem because the very process of finding a vaccine reasserts our control. The paradigm of control. And the paradigm of control needs the material fodder of institutions, big funding, gentrified spaces. Control doesn’t come cheap, right? For control to materialise and be embodied in the world we need to clear out the world. We need to cut down more trees. We need to put those trees into the system and then create tools to control the planet.

We want the world to notice us as central. But the more we beat down the world to notice us as central, the more the world is incapable of centralising us.

It’s a paradox. So the problem with just reducing it to carbon emissions is that it occludes other discourses. It occludes the point and the issue around human centrality. It does not help us acknowledge the vibrancy of the world. It actually doesn’t help us solve the central problem of our love for the world. Like sustainability doesn’t address the issue of aesthetics. It doesn’t teach us how to fall in love with a tree. It just exteriorises it and puts a cage around it. And then all our dynamics becomes this conservationist preservationist work. We want to conserve that tree, we want to conserve the tigers. But there is no giving ourselves to the world. We immure ourselves even further. And that’s a problem I think.

Yeah. Well we haven’t got the knowledge that puts falling in love with the world as healing. That it can positively effect the crises we’re confronted with. We haven’t got that in our knowledge systems, at least in the western world. But again that’s me putting a solutions lens to this, I’m approaching the hugging of a tree as being able to fix a problem.

Modernity needs to do this, right? Seek solutions. It’s the archetype of Freyr and Baldr, her son. I don’t know if you know of this?

No I don’t.

Norse mythology. Baldr is the son of Odin. Odin, the chief god. And Freyr is the mother of Baldr as well. Baldr wakes up one morning. He’s the most appreciated, most celebrated god in Norse mythology. And he wakes up one morning with premonitions about his impending death. That he’s going to die soon. Freyr, the mother of Baldr, will not have this. And so she goes around to all the realms and basically extracts a promise from every creature. Human and non-human. Saying, “You will not harm my son.” And everything in the world, everything in the universe promises that, “we will not harm Baldr.” And Baldr becomes immune to death. But he also becomes immune to life. Because he’s unable to feel anything. He’s just incarcerated in his safety. And the gods start to play with him. So it becomes a pastime for all the other gods to toss everything at him. To shoot an arrow at him. Nothing! He’s immune! He’s iron man!

So what is he? Yeah. What is he if he can’t feel?

And then the story ends this way – it doesn’t quite end, mythology never ends. But Loki hears about this. Loki is the trickster in the Norse pantheon. And Loki hears that Freyr missed a spot. And the spot was the mistletoe. The plant. And Freyr just considered the mistletoe is the most innocent of all beings. “What’s it going to do?” So Loki fashions a weapon out of the mistletoe. And playfully hands it to one of the gods tossing things at Baldr and that one kills Baldr. And I feel modernity is a Baldrian figure. It wants to be immune from life so it shuts down everything to mix rationalised militaristic spaces that we can thrive in. But that comes at a cost. It comes at the cost of listening to the animus, the vitality of the world around us. And so we’re trying to solve our problems from this Baldrian prison. To think within that very impoverished pixel. When the invitation is to die. The invitation is actually to die.

It’s such a big thing for us to confront! Death. The invitation to die. To surrender to that rather than protect life at all costs. Doesn’t that send you spiralling?

[Laughs]. Well if you understand death within the cosmology that I speak it from, death is not the final bus stop, this terminal point. This black hole from which everything light is snuffed. That’s how modernity paints death. What’s the saying? That there are two things that are permanent, death and taxes. I think we now have to add a third. Death, taxes and a coronavirus.

[Laughs].

So modernity doesn’t want to deal with death. So we push it aside, let’s get on with life. It pathologises death. I see death in form of the word “demise” you know, which is another word for death. But demise, there’s something about the word. Etymologically it means the transference of property. It doesn’t mean a snuff-out point. It doesn’t mean a line drawn in the sand. It means an ongoing transference of property. So

death itself is lively. Death is a becoming.

So I put it in this way: that the human being has, over time, especially in Euro-American philosophies, continental philosophies, framed as this independent separate discrete object separate from the worlds that are the condition for its being. I think right now we’re being invited to transfer property. The things we attributed solely and exclusively to ourselves such as agency, such as intelligence, such as vitality. Those things were reserved for ourselves alone. The human said, “This is all mine. The ability to appreciate beauty is mine. The ability to deal intelligently with others is mine.” And for white folk, “Not even those people who are trying to be humans like black people and coloured people. It’s mine alone.” Now is a time for demise, and demise means transferring intelligence. And saying, “The trees notice beauty and have intelligence too. The trees have things to teach me.” Industry and global culture is premised on the assumption that we impose meaning on the natural world. What if we could learn from the natural world? Not in a sense of biomimicry. I mean in terms of what if policies were framed around listening to the world that we frame as “natural”? What if there are rites of passage we could deploy so that we could be shapeshifted by what the world is doing as well? That’s death to me. It doesn’t just mean dying. It means between life we’re dying already.

Mm. Mm. I had this question written down and I feel like it’s a nice one to finish because it helps to kind of extend what you’re saying. In your work what I see you inviting us to do is grow our peripheral vision.

Mm. Nice. Beautiful.

And I want to know how do we do that so we are able see what is there at the edges, beyond this lens we have of what is normal?

I’ll respond in two ways. The first thing I’ll say is the question, “how do we do?” is loaded with a lot of assumptions. And I always like to unpack that when people ask me. We’re not in charge of doing this. I cannot stress that enough. We’re not in charge of designing our way out of this. We’re not going to out-think a world where it’s not left to us. Even design, even the way we speak about inventions and the great inventors, people who designed the plane, the Internet. All of this sociological analysis of invention and design leaves out the contributions of the world around us. That the world actually instigates, the world inspires, the world pushes us. The bacterial community in our guts actually instigates different kind of thoughts and memories and traumas as well, we don’t do these things unilaterally. The human is porous. We’re not complete. We’re not all that, brother. We’re not all that at all. So

I like to really invite people to notice that the question, “How do we do that?,” is another trap. It might take us back into thinking it’s left to us.

In another sense as well it’s a beautiful question. Because if we take it for granted that we’re already instigated, we’re already in the middle, we never start from the beginning, if we take that as fact, then we can start at the places of the cracks of the rupture. The places where sight is impossible. Where the obvious isn’t so obvious anymore. It can only be modest. There is only a partial reckoning with emergence. And I want to stress that as well. That there isn’t a full solution to anything. But the place we can start is asking questions about where we are. And then instead of rushing into a solutionism that threatens us with victory, and I choose my words very carefully, that says, “do this quick!” Maybe there might be a place of staying with that trouble. And I’m borrowing the phrase of Donna Haraway. “Staying with the trouble.” And that might take different forms. It’s taken the form especially for me and the people I’m working with as grief. Grieving together is powerful work. By grieving together I don’t mean crying together. I mean accounting for loss. It’s a cartographical project what I feel we’re being called into. Cartographical project that allows us to say, “Hah, what is happening here? Where is the trauma? What is trauma doing here? What have we lost? What is this loss? What has this body left open for us to deal with?” Asking these questions we may not find answers. The purpose of a cartographical project is not to find an answer. It’s to find ourselves in a world that exceeds us. It’s to situate ourselves in a different way. It’s to conduct an ethnographical project that allows us to relate to the world in a new way that was not possible before. And so I don’t feel that the UN will be able to do this. I don’t feel UNESCO will do this. I don’t feel the World Health Organisation will be able to do this. I feel it’s left up to fugitives. And by fugitive I mean people who are learning to escape the plantation. The plantation that proliferates the normal, the familiar. And we may have to do this underground. We may have to.

It reminds me of the Ursula Le Guin story, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.”

Yes, yes, yes.

We have to be the ones who walk away.

Yes, the ones who walk away. We’re not going to save the child underneath, that child that’s crying for help. Maybe a politics that is premised on saving the other is already doomed from the start. Maybe the work is to run. And not to escape but to exile. To exile.

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