Tuesday, September 20, 2011

From the Outside: Introduction

Our planet brims with these creatures, the ones we call "homo sapiens," the ones we more commonly call "humans." A large percentage of the 6.94 billion are too starved, too oppressed, too destitute to ask the questions I'm about to ask, to contemplate the things I'm about to contemplate. It is a privilege of relative wealth and prosperity to ask these questions that I will ask.

Of the 6.94 billion, a little over 1 billion live in the developed world. Of these 1 billion, most are sheep. These are the ones too afraid, too tired, often too ignorant, to question. These are the ants marching along a path that has been cleared away for them. A path that leads to the proverbial slaughterhouse. And as the sheep sluggishly march toward their inevitable end, there are the few that have pulled over to the side of the path. We are all born on the path, but the question remains: who will get off the path? It is the outsider who will get off the path. It is the outsider who then decides whether to make a new path, to get back on the path, or to remain at the sidelines.

Before we begin to understand what makes one an outsider, we must have a clear and concise definition of the word. Words are slippery; a word may mean something different depending on your perspective and frames of reference.

The following Free Dictionary definition of "outsider" best fits my understanding of the word:

"One who is isolated or detached from the activities or concerns of his or her own community."

The outsider (again) has been removed (I.e. detached) from the community. The outsider is outside the path, not inside.

The outsider is defined, then, by what he/she isn't. But then the outsider must ask: "If I'm not them, who am I?"

And this is the question I have asked over and over again.

This is the question that plagues me as I sit on the side of the path.

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