In the photograph accompanying this blog post, the obvious is that this picture shows a lady laughing and selling her fruit. But deeper below this image lies a system of mutual support that is based on a whole system of propositions. This fruit vendor probably makes about $18.00 USD per day. She carefully, every day, stacks the fruit to attract buyers. When I look into her eyes I see back in time. I see a culture that was enslaved, beaten, robbed and repressed. Yet today, unlike the US, they smile. They greet me on the street with “good day” and a big smile. They mind their own business. This is my home. This is not the Mexico that some friends in the US see. My soul is nourished by these smiles.
Yet today, once more, my soul aches and I have a sad heart. Killing kills more than the victim. It kills the spirit of the survivors. It robs us of our commonality and creates more enemies. It reveals inner hates and prejudices. Fear erupts. Distrust is more common. The cycle is repeated each time a murder occurs. We begin to accept mass killings as a fact of life. We become numb. We want to hide.
In Ludwig Wittgenstein’s “On Certainty” in paragraph #141, he states: “When we first begin to believe anything, what we believe is not a single proposition, it is whole system of propositions. (Light dawns gradually over the whole.” He follows in paragraph #142: “It is not single axioms that strike me as obvious, it is a system in which consequences and premises give one another mutual support.”
Today as I “look” towards the northern half of North America, I see sorrow, bitterness, hate, distrust, disregard of human life, racism, fear and loathing. I see a system that is the richest in the world yet the poorest in spirit. In paragraph #144, Wittgenstein states, “The child learns to believe a host of things. I.e. it learns to act according to those beliefs. Bit by bit there forms a system of what is believed, and in that system some things stand unshakably fast and some are more or less liable to shift. What stands fast does so, not because it is intrinsically obvious or convincing; It is rather held fast by what lies around it.” (my emphasis)
I believe what we are witnessing today in the US is a result of a breakdown in the way children are taught and “what lies around it.” If we do not break this viscous and spiraling cycle, we will be doomed. There will be anarchy. The results will not be pretty. On this day, the 750th anniversary of Dante’s birth, we are spiraling to one of his lower levels in hell’s inferno. Peace.