Alfredo Mortara
In that moment my sense of who this person was went through a transformation. Having initially regarded this man as someone on lower ground, suddenly my view of him was raised. Our initial expectations of someone can be defied and changed by experiencing them in a new way, by seeing how our fixed ideas are false. Experiences like this offer a certain kind of medicine; they give us pause, teach us not to be so quick, help us understand that superficial appearances are just that. But this is still working on the surface, dependent upon having our expectations challenged. What if I’d come back from my run and all of his gear was still laid out and he hadn’t done a thing? Or what if he wasn’t so courteous? What ground would I have put him on then? How quickly the mind assumes certainty and mastery of the situation. There are profound, seemingly infinite implications to this. Call it human history. Call it the endless cycle of birth and death. Call it the ceaseless war of humankind; the ever-waxing and waning gap between those who have and those who don’t; the perennial and ever-evolving forms of boundary and division, forms that include and exclude, that become the cause and the justification for how we subjugate and dominate.