What is it like to be inside an exile, someone outed for refusal to abide by the law, or cultural or conventional norms? Two contemporary issues might help to unpack this question: the right of homophobic parents to impose coherent, religious values on pubescent students at Safe Schools and the plight of Julian Assange.
Who is bullying whom in these stories? Is it possible to create a politics of fundamentally opposed moralities? And if so, will we all be exiles?
As all Moons must, the Exile of January returned yesterday to the harbour of the Sun. The dignity of the Sun in Capricorn offers a solution to exile and a new beginning: relativism.
This is the time of year when confidence and magnanimity should burgeon in our lives, whatever the impact of what they’re doing up North. If we are all different, then we can suspend judgment of transgressions of any particular morality. If we are all one, then those transgressions deepen our self-understanding, humanity and compassion.
However, it could be a rocky road for the Moon this month. The value of investments is falling through the floor. Putin and Assad are winning, and reassessment of the bona fides of their opposition looks easier than confrontation.
Can our self-belief survive its transparency as emptiness? It is high time we questioned the nature of authenticity. Is play the capacity to engage with instinct non-dualistically, or deluded will? Is the desire to come back to the fold an overcoming of narcissism or a clinging to conventional truth in face of the emptiness of ego?
As we embark with the Moon on a journey to connection dogged by confusion, and in passing from an apologetically cursory presentation of perhaps the most important issue of the time, this from Wikipedia on Relativism:
‘In an aphorism [Feyerabend] often repeated, “potentially every culture is all cultures”. This is intended to convey that world views are not hermetically closed, since their leading concepts have an “ambiguity” – better, an open-endedness – which enables people from other cultures to engage with them. […] It follows that relativism, understood as the doctrine that truth is relative to closed systems, can get no purchase. […] For Feyerabend, both hermetic relativism and its absolutist rival serve, in their different ways, to “devalue human existence”. The former encourages that unsavoury brand of political correctness which takes the refusal to criticise “other cultures” to the extreme of condoning murderous dictatorship and barbaric practices. The latter, especially in its favoured contemporary form of “scientific realism”, with the excessive prestige it affords to the abstractions of “the monster ‘science'”, is in bed with a politics which likewise disdains variety, richness and everyday individuality – a politics which likewise “hides” its norms behind allegedly neutral facts, “blunts choices and imposes laws”.’
Imagining a life spent hiding, from our sexuality, our aversion to somebody else’s, or as in the role-play of the Safe Schools program, the prominence of our teeth, what is confidence, these days?
R.I.P. Rene Alice Wolfe, my mother.