Updated: Jan 2
Some fleeting reflections as we say goodbye (and good riddance) to 2020, and celebrate Sapienism's third anniversary
For almost a year I’ve been looking for my return and refund slip for 2020 – to no avail. And now I guess it’s too late, I’ve already used too much of it anyway. So in its twilight, looking back, was 2020 really all that bad? I guess it was, at least for me, but then again – are we not the fortunate ones, the ones to survive (some even thrive)? Shouldn’t we just count our blessings as we look forward to a post-pandemic tomorrow?
Before we do, let’s take a moment to reflect. If you searched for a bit of hope in these dark and doubtful times, have you found it? You may, if you realize that doubts, dark and bright, set us free and help us become human – for there is no freedom without choice, no choice without uncertainty.
A new year usually calls for celebration. Still, ending 2020, the pedagogy of the pandemic offered us a painfully plain lesson in humility: independence is elusive, illusive, facing life’s sole certitude – death. However me might encase ourselves in bubbles, our lives will eventually burst.
All organisms are perishable and dependent, none has absolute control, nor exists on its own. We humans are no exception, except for our unique capacity, however limited, to choose our dependencies. Whom do we dare trust, and who can trust us? Do we trust ourselves? No change of year can answer for us.
I walk about with my token of hope. Everything’s passing, says one side, Everything’s possible, says the other. The obvious obverse is sobering, the subversive reverse exhilarating, but it’s that coin’s thin edge that I travel most. Facing death, between the realms of ‘feardom’ and freedom, can we muster enough courage and care to dream better dreams, and together try to make them real?
Along the way, we can have a bit of fun browsing through Sapienism’s 2020 posts. We had three posts before the pandemic broke – on the shape of hope, the demise of Israeli politics, and the myth and movie of the Golem.
I had a foreboding sense at the cinema, watching The Golem, that solemn night – I should have known what was to come: we got our own Golem, a living dead, like all viruses, up-ending our world. Sapienism then took a turn to greet the new bad boy in town, contemplating the pandemic in seven posts, including the politics of human worth, and the challenge and merits of embracing solitude.
We did embrace solitude in teaching – and following up on my titular (online) course, Sapienism’s longest post to date is the students’ lively discussion on what makes us human. Does love? If so, can we keep it alive? One post made a plea to look in rainbows to remember, and hope; another suggested that love lies in ties – coming alive in bond, dying in binding.
Sapienism, as usual, has not shied away from dealing with some hotly debated matters: Would you slaughter the lamb you want to eat? Should we remove names of controversial figures from public sites? And, back to Covidays, must we mask?
All these, and much more, can be found on Sapienism.com, and on its third birthday, I invite you all to post your own reflections – whether brief (2-3 paragraphs) or lengthy, be they about art, society or research – your thoughts, and feedback, are always welcome!
Feel free to email me, and we’ll take it from there.
Have a wonderful 2021, full of life, love and hope!