Stalking Vol 2: The Bridge of Reason
"But under different levels of pressure?"
"The principle applies to all nations. The symbols might change but, like the people you
experienced in Iran and Arkansas, all of us are shaped to accept, and be accepted in our
particular cultural circumstance. This makes it difficult to see that we are all brothers and sisters
on the same journey."
"Your fears differed only in that they were more obviously earned, and buried as a way to
cope with the unmanly sense of helplessness you experienced in more circumstances than you’ve
revealed to me. They created deep feelings of self-loathing and unworthiness, which you can’t
see because the places you feel safest don’t remotely resemble where you earned your fear."
"I came from a place that doesn’t practice fear, got smacked with it, and came back leaking
it all over the place so that I couldn’t miss it?"
"Yes, but with the addendum of knowing American culture well enough to see how their
institutionalize fear is the infant from whom otherwise good people agree to kill strangers,
because they are told to: no warrior nation is exempt. Canadian culture has not been subjected to
living in fear as a way of life."
"So much for a human audience."
Bonnie stared at me placidly.
"All of this is from opening a door?" I said with transparent nonchalance.
"Not at all: I told you weeks ago that there is a constant undertow in how you present
yourself, which is designed to drag people into acknowledging your bravery. A simple wow
propels you to anecdote after anecdote within which you play down your presence in volatile
circumstances so that others will raise the issue. You wouldn’t do any of these things if you
thought well of yourself, and neither would the stereotypical American—who you pointedly
avoided being cast as even when you were in safe places, like London or Athens. True?"
"Have you been to the other Wailing Wall?" she said.
"O ther? Ya—sure—a few times."
"As students of their version of God's ways, and that their society has been taught to believe
in suffering for salvation, they ensure that they do. It’s no different than the other memorials
affecting the patriot zealots on this side of the world ensuring their sacrifice continues, because
this idea underlies their national focus." She sat slightly askew, fidgeting to keep both cheeks
from going numb on the lightly padded seat.
"I agree that life scares most people, but maybe it should. I mean, otherwise it would mow
"Am I speaking Mandarin?" Bonnie said, feigning exasperation. Maybe not feigning by
now. "Not understanding the true nature of our own actions extends poor circumstances, while
we think we are making a stand for what is right. And it's from fear that we are mowed down,
not the other way around." She pitched forward. "You get what you focus on," Bonnie said,
moving her glass aside to lean closer.
"This is critical for you to understand. The art of change is not to be against poor
circumstances, because the focus is on poor circumstances. If you want positive change, you
have to focus on creating, joining, or unifying an existing momentum of positive action, if only
by withdrawing your silent consent to allow crappy ones. This will inherently starve the poor
situation of momentum.
"How do you separate the two when you’re like me—in the middle?" I said, perplexed.