Wednesday, October 13, 2004

An Angel Who Has Hope on High

Wise words from playwright Tony Kushner (from an interview with Tom Jacobs in today's Santa Barbara News-Press):

Despair is a luxury. You surrender your agency. You say, "This can't be affected, and therefore I don't have to affect it."

It's a safe position for us all to be in. We all are guilty of luxuriating in that. You can arrive at a point where things are so terrible that you can't prevent the loss of a lot of lives. We reached that awful point when Bush attacked Iraq. We didn't have the means to stop him. That point passed, and we are where we are. If one succumbs to despair now, one is giving up at a very bad moment. There are people in Iraq, including American soldiers, who don't have the luxury of despairing. They're fighting for their lives. If we, who have the luxury of relative safety, give up, what are we doing to these people? Our despair becomes a grotesque form of indulgence.

You have to maintain a watchful eye that you don't stray into illusion. I sound like a rabbi right now! When you get up every morning and renew your hope, you're working to figure out how to transform your circumstances and the circumstances of the world around you. It's a constant battle. I don't think it's a predilection or a disposition. And I don't think it's a delusion.


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