The questions “Who am I?” and “Why is Views from the Edge still here in 2016?” share a bit of Hamlet’s question whether “to be or not to be?”
We’re no Shakespeare! But writing is what we do. To not write would be not to be, a kind of denial of consciousness and the need to speak. So I’ve written and aired commentaries on MPR’s All Things Considered and anywhere else that has provided an opportunity to think and feel out loud.
Speaking from a pulpit is what I did most of my professional life along with some publishing on the side. Words matter. They deserve to be handled with care and thought. Which is why I go back and forth between days when I dare to think I have something worth saying and days when my words and thoughts feel like sending more pollution into cyberspace.
Not everyone cares about Views from the Edge, nor should they. But if you’re interested in a different viewing point on the news that searches out the hidden, taken-for-granted convictions, beliefs, and ideas that underlie life in the 21st century, you might find a second or third home here.
The edge from which my colleague Steve Shoemaker and I view the world is the margin, the place of an outsider peering in, the way an anthropologist looks at an ancient civilization to find out what it was really about. Steve and I cut our eye teeth on two stories that likely never happened but are always happening: Cain slaying his brother Abel, and the building and crumbling of the Tower of Babel. Both stories concern human anxiety and a refusal to live within the limits of meaningful time.
Hamlet’s “to be or not to be?” is the question in 2016 as climate change exposes the folly of the prideful, unspoken western philosophical conviction that the human species is superior to or exceptional to nature. We’re learning the hard way that we are not, and perhaps, just perhaps, we will also rediscover in the deepest core of the western tradition itself a wisdom and virtue akin to aboriginal traditions: a humbler human calling and way to be our neighbor’s and our planet’s keeper.
- Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Jan. 4, 2016