07 August 2011


"The hell with him."  If only it were so easy to cast off the undesirables of life, to simply delete them and say, finally, once and for all, “I am finished with you.  Henceforth you are no more to me.”  But even in the cases when we are able henceforth to cast off the despised troublemaker, the past remains.  The annihilation of another would, ideally, enable us to move freely about in the spaces he might have occupied, creating a history in which he never was, who is not and never again will be.  But we lack such power.  The theologians tell us that even the omnipotent cannot make the past not to have been.  Instead, in order to cast away another, we must pull in the bounds of the world, treading carefully along narrower passageways, meticulously avoiding memories and attachments, connections and concepts that would bring us face to face with the forgotten other.  The hell with him, we say, but really we have divided the world between us two, and introduced in the process a host of anxieties about the placement and maintenance of invisible and illogical boundaries.  Claustrophobia begins to take hold of us, complemented by an inescapable sadness at the vistas of thought and possibility which have been sacrificed in this mutual damnation of the two foes.