In the last two weeks I've discovered how much truth can divide a community. I've also learned a lot about organizations and their dealings with their parts (parts being people in most cases). I've discovered that being caught up in a controversy will show you who you can trust.
I've been crushed (I mean this in a profoundly real and heavy emotional sense) by disappointment with some people I thought I trusted and surprised by how individuals came to my defense in a time of trial (I can count these people on one hand). I learned that I valued truth more than policy and that I was willing to give up much to defend what I knew was the case. I know that in the eyes of some I will lose, but I've done right in the sight of God, which is supremely more important. My prideful self tells me to be vindictive and vengeful and I have to constantly fight against this impulse and resist doing evil for evil. There have been few occasions in my life where others have really sought to do me harm. I'm learning that I can take comfort in the truth, no matter what happens, or what the personal cost is.
I've seen a group of people discover their voices. I've seen young people rally around doing the right thing. The line was drawn in the sand and they took sides. I drew great encouragement from this. I became aware of how disconnected and compromised adults can become as they enter more fully into the internal structure and logic of an organization. You will be conformed to the laws that govern those things with which you interact, it is inevitable especially if you are not actively introspective about your environment's influence (99 percent of people). I see that when someone reaches 40 or so years old (a generalization) it is nearly impossible to break them free from the constraints and artificial security that come from conformity to an organization. By way of contrast, I have renewed hope in young people who are still plastic enough to resist the status-quo.
Young people (aka teenagers) are still capable of resisting maintenance thinking, because they largely have nothing to maintain yet. This is both terrible and beautiful. Young people have ideals, and they will hold fast to those, because they haven't had time to accumulate like adults have and put their trust in things, in security, retirement, status and jobs. They are still able to acknowledge those things for which their souls cry out. Oh to re-enter that place in life, that newness in experience. My memory brings me close, but time keeps me distant from this innocence and bliss.
We have to be careful not to miss the definitive moments in our lives for what they are. We are made by them. What we look like on the other side will shape those around us. Suffering brings with it great responsibility to suffer well.
J0hn Hunter Speier
Recent work, and explorations of techniques, aesthetics and poetics.