Sunday, December 17, 2006

The sun shining inside one's head

A deep embarrassment has been stalking him. Every time he lets his guard down these days, there it is. Because it's become clear: he and even the most dissolute among his friends have glided through their lives on the assumption that the sheer fact of their existence has in some way made the world a better place. As deranged as it sounds now, a better place. Not a leafy bower, maybe, but still, a somewhat better place--more tolerant, more amenable to the wonderful adventures of the human mind and the human body, more capable of outrage against injustice. . . .

For shame! One has been shocked, all one's life, to learn of the blind eye turned to children covered with bruises and welts, the blind eye turned to the men who came at night for the neighbors. And yet. . . And yet one has clung to the belief that the sun shining inside one's head is evidence of sunshine elsewhere.

Not everywhere, of course. Obviously, at every moment something terrible is being done to someone somewhere--one can't really know about each instance of it!

Then again, how far away does something have to be before you have the right to not really know about it?

--Deborah Eisenberg, Twilight of the Superheroes"

An interview with Eisenberg here (via Ed Rants)

2 comments:

Antonia said...

that's a great sentence, the one with the sunshine. And an 'interesting' moral dilemma...how far something has to be away before one has the right not to know about it. But on the other side, what to do with all the knowledge....

SFP said...

There's the rub right there--how to channel that knowledge into something productive. I wish I had the answers.