Sent September 8th, 2020


How’s it going?

I’ve been putting off writing a letter because I wanted to say something more profound. There is a letter I’ve wanted to write for a few weeks now, but I’ve had difficulty finding the words to start it. And difficulty finding the energy to continue it.

I originally started writing this letter a couple of months ago by saying I’ve been thinking about the events that have come to pass since the murder of George Floyd.

And what I really wanted to do was write a letter to my friends with whom I’ve had disagreements with over recent events.

But that’s where I got stuck.

It’s actually hard to think of the right words, because whenever I try to choose words I immediately see bias oze out; “events”, “come to pass”, “murder”. I can’t find a way to describe what I’m talking about without tripping over my own privilege and biases several times in a sentence.

Everywhere I look I see concepts. Duality. Categorization. Labels. Every thought put to paper feels like it is on some side of a line. Even if it feels like just for a moment I can see things in a way that doesn’t depend on my conceptual mind, the moment I try to put it to words it all disappears like sand falling between my fingers.

And then I’m just tired.

Maybe there are no words. Tao called tao is not tao.

Kahil Gibran wrote in The Prophet:

You are the way and the wayfarers.

And when one of you falls down he falls for those behind him, a caution against the stumbling stone.

Ay, and he falls for those ahead of him, who though faster and surer of foot, yet removed not the stumbling stone.

You cannot separate the just from the unjust and the good from the wicked;

For they stand together before the face of the sun even as the black thread and the white are woven together.

And when the black thread breaks, the weaver shall look into the whole cloth, and he shall examine the loom also.

That’s a better way of putting it than I am currently capable of.

So often it feels like we wait until an individual’s death to examine the scales of justice, and then do so only using the evidence from the last few minutes or hours of their life.

Rather than reprimand someone for committing a wicked act, we should ask ourselves what it would have taken for us to do the same.[1] There is no justice dispensed when a life is ended if there was no justice alloted when that life was lived.

That will have to do.

I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.


[1] Consider this your annual reminder to go read The Egg by Andy Weir