Martin Heidegger , a twentieth-century German philosopher, referred to a type of breakdown that might be used as a learning opportunity. He was speaking of a breakdown in the transparency of living. This transparency is like a fog of unawareness. Breakdowns of this nature happen when we become aware of some subconscious aspect of our life because it is not working as it usually does. It is an interruption in our way of being.
If you're a "mainline WASP" (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant or surrogates and wannabes,) your transparency is breaking down when non-WASP's act out in public. In this case, I'm speaking of the breakdown in transparency that made many people uncomfortable enough to ruin their enjoyment of Sunday afternoon football. (I'm going to limit this to football because there are so many other breakdowns happening right now that it would take an encyclopedia of several volumes to write about them all.)
These breakdowns in transparency are golden learning opportunities to become new observers. If we examine them thoroughly, they can show us the failure of our beliefs, theories, premises, and ultimately, our logic. By seeing and questioning them, we can become different observers. If we do, we create new possibilities we could not see before. In this way, we can see that possibility has been there, but the observers we are, could not see them.
Something is happening in the United States that should wake us to a new level of observation.
Here're the options as I see them: We can decide to stay out of the fog of transparency. See the fault lines in our society and work to fix them to make a better society that includes every person with no exceptions. The good news here is we don't need to change a single thing in our lives to support these rights for everyone else.
Or we can act offended and insulted when our fellow citizens try to tell us "America isn't great" to them. Deny the truth that looms out of the fog of transparency and hang onto our prejudices. We can go to our graves hanging onto a fantasy about how great things are for everyone because we all enjoy a level playing field.
I think the first option is best because it moves us closer to a healthier society and that's better for everyone. But I know that some people will choose the second one, and that's their right. But if they are to maintain some semblance of intellectual honesty, I urge them to grant those same personal rights to their fellow citizens who disagree.
To me, it's bad enough that kneeling at a football game during the national anthem gets a more negative reaction than so many other vulgar violations of human rights on this planet, many caused by us. But to argue against another person's right to express himself publicly, while expressing yourself publicly, seems the height of hypocrisy--or just plain bumping around in the fog of your transparency.
Robert De Filippis
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