A few points on Monday, 18 October 2004

The search for identity is hampered from the beginning by the limited set of options available to you.

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I do not believe anymore in what I used to call “revolution” [abandoning my life in Taiwan and moving back to South Africa]. I believe in sticking with the current structure, gradually reforming it, and creating something better with what I have.

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I grew up with the God of the Rich, who tests you with poverty and rewards you with wealth. How would the God of the Poor do it? Test you with wealth and reward you with poverty?

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My lowest point on a Monday arrives nowadays during my 16:30 to 18:00 class. Today, however, I had a reasonably peaceful ninety minutes with the seven-year-olds. And the class was peaceful not because I was suddenly hit by positive thoughts – in fact, my thoughts were about my parents and how things have still not worked out for them after all these years.

That lead me to the thought that despite our tendency to choose hope over nothing (followed by physical death), you sometimes have to admit “things” do not always “work out” for everyone – this may not force us to go so far as to give up on hope, but it still stands as a verifiable one-plus-one-equals-truth type of fact.

The thought then came to me how it appears I have the same problem as my parents. That was when I made the connection between God and money – how it appears that those with money are rewarded with things working out and how those who are poor just keep hoping and believing that things might work out for them as well.

I felt surprisingly peaceful after these thoughts, as if I had wanted to say these things for a long time, but perhaps I had believed I ought not to; that it would qualify as rebellion against God, punishable by the loss of my soul.

An hour or so later – after dinner, drinking a bubble tea opposite the coffee shop – I thought how it is totally acceptable to entertain the thought of the God of the Rich, and the Middle Class, because this god is in service of the rich and the middle class, and thus not the True God.

[Hope is a strange thing. Someone might raise his hand and say, “Look at my life. What if I am one of those people for whom things will never work out? Where does that leave me?”

I don’t believe life is a script that we play out as puppets or second-rate actors and then we die. If you are already of the opinion things are not going to work out for you, then for all practical purposes you are taking a giant leap in exactly that direction.

Another thing: it’s not for nothing that my hero is the guy who continues to believe and who stubbornly clings to his hope even though he has a strong suspicion the battle is almost certainly already decided.]


Noam Chomsky said this in an interview: “You basically have two choices: you can give up hope, feel hopeless and therefore ensure that the worst is going to happen, or you can have hope, and then try to realize the hope, and then there’s a chance that things will improve.”