Tuesday, September 27, 2005

There's something unsettling I'd like to point out here . . . in this article, towards the end is the mention that families of 9/11 victims want the "millions of tons of rubble from Ground Zero to be treated as human remains and given a proper burial rather than dumped in a landfill like garbage." My first response was, that such an action was quaint. Then I remembered a time, not so long ago, when such an action would have seemed the appropriate thing to do . . . a little strenuous, but all the more right for that.

So I can't tell, having, in the last five years, gone through so much with my own illness, one result of which has been a constant and immediate intimacy with the transcient nature of what is normal (including the possibility of mortality), simultaneous with the national crises we've all experienced/witnessed. Does such an action seem quaint because its possibility is reported alongside the spectacle of years of seemingly-random slaughter in Iraq? Of floating, decaying bodies in New Orleans? Or maybe because my own, personal experience of health, health's fragility, and medicine's less-than-rumored capabilities to keep us healthy, has resulted in a sense that control of such issues (life and death) are a matter of crowd control, like so much else is? All this together? I really don't know. But things have changed a whole lot in the last four years. A whole lot. Sometimes it just hits you.

Makes me feel like rereading Thomas Mann's "The Magic Mountain," actually. Though I don't remember it well enough to know exactly why.

p.s. Not that I don't sympathise with the families and their desire. I would feel the same way. But so often these years we've seen other such sane and reasonable desires thwarted for the stupidest reasons. And families torn (literally) apart for malicious, or at the very least, brutal, ones.

Beautiful difficult question. I don't know the answer. I struggle sometimes with believing that all ritual, ceremony, word, art, is some kind of stay against how fragile we are, but to confess it this way is to admit the futility of getting dressed in the morning. And then there are babies, or as you say, triumphs over illness, day to day. We have a way of hanging on to remains, but I'm grateful that you point out there is now, right now, to live in.

Thank you for your beautiful response. And good luck with your friend. My thoughts are with you.
very difficult question. and my answer would probably be much different if one of my loved ones died in 9-11. for myself, i can say that i feel i've been desensitized in the past 5 years, it's just been one thing after the other.
Hasn't it been, though?

It's like, we're back in history--the opposite of what Fukayama predicted with the fall of Soviet Russia.
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