I miss Susan Sontag. She used to change her opinions and her critics cried Inconsistent! but the truth is, integrity of intelligence requires a constant re-evaluation of what you think you know. You’re taking in new data all the time, how could your opinions remain fixed?
I watched Hogfather this week. These specter fucks, called the Auditors, decide to have the Hogfather (think Santa Claus) assassinated. And Death, who has developed a tenderness for humans, takes on the Hogfather’s role and delivers gifts and joy. One of the ideas getting kicked around in the movie is that belief in things like the Tooth Fairy and the Hogfather is what enables us to believe in things like justice and mercy. I think what we’re really talking about is wonder. We have a powerful sense of wonder as children. One of the credos of humanism is to continue to wonder. To strive and hope. To imagine.
Stories and histories become road maps. We’re not constantly screaming that we need to return to this era or that moment. We’re pressing forward. We’re concerned, always, with human potential. With our capacity for growth and enlightenment. Death has developed a tenderness for humans. Think about what that means. For the rest of my life, I will remember those photos of Sontag post-op. The fierce vulnerability on her face. We get this opportunity, in these bodies, to experience this world. To build what we will.