Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The longing to feel

"Reportage is violence. Violence to the spirit. Violence to the emotional empathy that should quicken in you and me when face to face we meet with pain. How many defeated among our own do we step over and push aside on our way home to watch the evening news?

'Terrible' you said at Somalia, Bosnia, Ethiopia, Russia, China, the Indian earthquake, the American floods, and then you watched a quiz show or a film because there's nothing you can do, and the fear and the unease that such powerlessness brings, trails in its wash, a dead arrogance for the beggar on the bridge that you pass every day. Hasn't he got legs and a cardboard box to sleep in?

And still we long to feel.

What's left? Romance. Love's counterfeit free of charge to all. Fall into my arms and the world with its sorrows will shrink up into a tinsel ball. This is the favorite antidote to the cold robot life of faraway perils and nearby apathy. Apathy. From the Greek A Pathos. Want of feeling. But, don't we know, only find the right boy, only find the right girl, and feeling will be yours. My colleagues tell me I need such a remedy."

Page 14, 'Handel', from 'Art & Lies', Jeanette Winterson

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