Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Parameter of Responsibility

Lately, i've been in various kinds of dialogue about Green Hunt. Its a terrible, difficult thing, and seems to have brought out particular aspects of people's ideas about the world: how it is, how it should be, and how it got that way.

Some of these conversations have been acrimonious and painful, others informative and enlightening. A surprising number have been all four.

Over the course of these conversations, I have been repeatedly forced to examine my own position, and probe the reasons why i hold the points of view i do. In the process, my own perspective has become clearer and more coherent, at least to me.

Of course there are numberless complexities in this situation. Of course there are motivations, and politics, and profit, and greed, and just way too many threats and weapons. Of course. What do you expect, when you try to pull a 60 year young nation into the gloss of the new world by the scruff of its neck?

And so, i'm glossing over the argument modifers on the multiple sides, not because i'm not aware of them (oh believe me, i am. Some of these conversations have been quite, well, ego bruising:), but because it would be impossible to do justice to their multiplicity and varied understandings in a single blogpost.

What i have been trying to formulate is a sort of macro understanding, something that explains to myself what i see going on, and what i feel about it. Here it is.

There are two houses, neighbours. Things were ok for a while, but then (i'm not going into reasons), one side got a gun, and set it up on the window facing the other house. Whereupon the other side got a gun and did the same thing. Now the first house got alarmed, and got two more guns, so the second house responded likewise.

Now they both bristle with guns (who is to count which one has more) all of which are pointed at each other. There are skirmishes and some people get hurt, but the guns in the two houses continue to point at one another.

So, two houses. You're seeing sort of identical houses, right? Two side-by-side houses in a city, or a small town, or a village. But the difference in this story is that the houses are not identical. One is a mansion, with access to vast resources. There's more rooms for people, more food, more money, more weapons.

The other is the house you were first seeing in your head, an ordinary house. Less of everything.

Now i'm not asking what would be sensible, or who should see the light- if only to protect themselves.

I'm asking whose responsibility is it to lay down the first gun.


Beq said...

perfect, and succinct

Sujoy said...

Its like Seuss's Butter Battle Book...only this time the Yooks are armed with way more than an Eight-Nozzled, Elephant-Toted Boom-Blitz.

mikeappelhans said...

Yes...simple but profound. The "other house" in my script, however, is a shack with a corrugated metal roof, dirt floor, no running water, and oddly, there is not even a window from which to protrude the gun.

The more I ponder this seemingly silly analogy, the more I realize how encompassing it is. I think I will use this in future discussions by saying, "As my dear friend Devalina puts it..."

Ilovethesmellofnepalinthemorning said...

well put. it's totally the onus of the state to uphold constitutional and humane values before it asks other parties to do the same.

shonedeep said...

Just bloody brilliantly put. AND I COULDN'T AGREE MORE. And for the record: You Rock!!!

Sue said...

Also, what further complicates the matter is that the people living in both the houses are your people. You can see the wrongs on both sides but it's hard as hell to take sides, especially when you seemingly benefit from the situation in odd ways.

Sue said...

Well written, by the way. Glad you wrote this. I toyed with a post several times and decided I didn't need the trolls.

randomrandom said...

A brilliant post. Agree with it entirely. And I am clear, very, very clear that I am on the side of the smaller house.