ASSIMILATION : Todos Somos Extraños ; ¿¿We’re All Outsiders??

Self Portraits, by Cecilia Paredes @Museum of Latin American Art, until December 30.

¿ Is there a distinction between “foreigners” and “outsiders” ?  Adults in Mexico, as elsewhere in the world, tell children not to talk with strangers (extraños).  This word can also be translated as outsiders or even as weirdos.  In some sense we’re all strangers in a mixture called culture. And it’s often entertaining.

FOREING CLUB BAR   c.72@c.43, centro Merida, Yucatan, MX

Yes, culture is entertainment, but there is more to it than being entertained.  “We” seem especially to love it when people fail.  The current US president has made a career out of entertaining by firing people for failing to satisfy his demands.  His most recent farce has been on TV, meeting with the leaders of Congress.  Ultimately he (and his fellow citizens) are big losers for the distraction he has caused with his brand of enterainment, rather than working to improve the social fabric by governing reasonably.  He has refused to govern, instead choosing to distract by focusing attention on himself.

He is not a foreigner, nor even an outsider.  He is a weirdo, in terms of governance, rejecting skill in that discipline — which always requires compromise, resulting in both sides of a deal feeling that they got the best possible deal, under the circumstances.  (This way, everybody wins.)  But in his view there is no winner unless there is a big loser.   (His father reportedly taught him that there are only two kinds of people: killers who become kings ;  and losers.)  This seems a dangerous sociopathology.  But the purpose of my post is to explore fitting in.

Humankind is a social species, like ants and honeybees.  Some biologists view the beehive as a single organism. And that observation can be extended to humans.  Using a Greek word meaning organs, St Paul says, literally, that we are each others’ organs, which largely goes unnoticed in today’s English translations, rendered variously as we are members one of another (see especially verses 4 and 5).  But tribalism is a problem :  us and them; who’s in? — and who’s out?  “The Other.”  Which reminds me of a poem by Edward Markham, and another verse of scripture, from Genesis.

                    He drew a circle that shut me out –
                    Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
                    But love and I had the wit to win:
                    We drew a circle and took him In!

Genesis 49:10   The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one[*]  to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will honor. –NLT

49:10 El cetro no se apartará de Judá, ni la vara de gobernante de entre sus pies, hasta que venga Siloh[*], y a él sea dada la obediencia de los pueblos. –BLA

* The Hebrew word transliterated into a Latin alphabet as Shiyloh, Shiloh (ENG) Siloh (SPAN) – can be rendered “the owner” (which concept is sometimes translated as Lord, in English; or Señor, in Spanish).

I have no idea how to love a man who has such a view of life as to aspire to ruling by being “a killer”.  But I’m relieved to be reminded of Who is truly in charge.  Global citizenship requires this effort of inclusion.