This is my third day of not speaking. There was a catalyst for my silence. There were many catalysts. I can’t properly express what moved me to silence — not yet, not even in writing. I don’t mean won’t. I literally mean can’t — as in, I am unable to do so. Either I am not serving words well or words are not serving me well. Or perhaps both are true. It could be the case that I am not served well by words that I do not serve well.
What I can say is that there are great and small sufferings in the world, and that the small sufferings are often engineered, conjured, perhaps even willed to the forefront of consciousness so that we — and by we I mean those with relative privilege — won’t have to deal with the world’s great sufferings and our part in them.
We make our lives and our worlds smaller when we do this. Language of all kinds, especially spoken language to which we often give little or no thought, is our accomplice. It is how we speak that informs how we live, and it is how we live that affects both the lives of others and the life (or eventual death) of the entire biosphere.
I want more than anything to be able to respond to the atrocities of the world. But I don’t know what I can do. I can say that I’ve felt called to live up to my obligation of action, but that doesn’t seem like enough. I feel the need to deepen and broaden my obligation of action.
For now, I am remaining silent because I don’t know how to respond to the world’s injustices and atrocities. I also need to deepen my silence so that, when I do speak again, I will do so responsibly, thoughtfully and in service to the world — rather than in service to my small life and my small mind.
Take my silence as protest, not as resignation or tacit acquiescence. Take my silence as an action, the only one I know to take at this time.