viewpoints

Just saw Ajax at the American Repertory Theater, Boston and am thinking about reasons we go to war or refuse to bury a fallen enemy; the imperative to honor the dead precisely because once we have fallen what else remains but acknowledgement of a fundamental something that could not otherwise be named? So while I wait on a friend, I sit in a bar listening to people scream at each other, but they aren’t angry, it’s just that their voices raise when their interlocutor disagrees, as if persuasion might make it — whatever it is — true.

Sometimes, when thinking about cultural difference, I forget that it is painfully difficult within cultural similarity to accept incommensurable ways of being. In Shenzhen, I often suffer from a fundamental disconnection, floating lightly. But here, home, suddenly this homegrown feeling tricks me into feeling that the world is as I think; a mistake I rarely make in Shenzhen because I still have difficulty controlling my tones, let alone a tight philosophical argument in Chinese.

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