Category Archives: Not A Poem At All
Innovative approach to presenting the ideas discussed.
A powerful essay worthy of wider distribution. I can easily imagine it being published by the Guardian, for example.
This time last year I was wrestling with the works of writers such as Gayatri Spivak, Audre Lorde and bell hooks who emphasised the failure of institutional feminism to represent women who weren’t white, middle class and heterosexual. As a student embarking on a project that looked at violations of women’s human rights – a topic that takes you deep into the cultures of underdeveloped nations and the colonial history of one’s own country – these were texts that filled me with anxiety. I was afraid of replicating the errors of my predecessors within the academy, of speaking for and over the oppressed women I sought to find justice for, and of reproducing the colonial power dynamics that I wanted to criticise.
At this moment of self-doubt (a crisis of confidence in my own ability to shed privilege and hear suffering in its own language), a tutor recommended a book…
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“To be benevolent to all beings is true goodness.
To dissolve all differences into unity is true greatness.
Not wishing to dominate others is true depth of spirit.”
…..– Chuang Tzu (c. 369 BC – c. 286 BC)
Just as the separate frames that constitute a reel of film conjure up a continuous reality. (With this reality itself but an illusory imagining of the director, the writer, the actors.)
I recall reading of a Buddhist master who, when asked about the nature of reality, enlightenment or some such – I don’t remember the exact question – I have slept many times since then – said nothing but snuffed out a nearby candle and relit it immediately.