Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20, 2009

Today we heard so often, "I never thought I would live to see this
day," and I thought again, the election of a black man to the
presidency is miraculous. It is impossible and yet it happened. These
words are a good way to point to the impossibility of history, to the
unavoidable and unrecognised ignorance which informs historical
generalizations. To call something miraculous is a certain way of
noticing ignorance. The sense that many feel regarding current events,
of the freshness, of the impossibilty, of the miraculous, is already
fading and will soon will be completely 'explained." And lost.

Yet the unknown interpenetrates what we think we know, like water in a
swamp. And by being unaware of the ignorance, we can not be confident,
cannot speak truly, of what we say we 'know.'

For the events leading to the inauguration were miraculous. Only in
hindsight can we explain them. And already we are forgetting that
sense of amazingness. That we forget the miraculous, does not make it
less so. Forgetting the miraculous just makes us--not the events,
mechanical. Just as it should be. But not "true."
Perhaps there is a miraculous edge to every mechanical thought, event.
What is not impossible is that through a certain perseverance this
edge can be kept intact by an individual, not by a group. Yet who is
interested in remembering what we don't know. In remembering how we
didn't know something.

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