I am first and foremost, a professional storyteller and so I tend to address social themes from a very formative, if not, narrative process. I also realize that my opinions will make perfect sense to some of you and to others, I will probably sound like one of the adult characters in a Charlie Brown cartoon.
When I witness the unfolding of trauma in Paris I’m left with more questions than answers. For me, what is happening in Paris is less a “Freedom of Speech” issue and much more a symptom of unresolved societal distresses.
First of all, let’s agree that the concern of “Freedom of Speech” was settled, conceptually, by France’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in the late 1700’s and so there is no dispute to be had there.
What I’m finding disturbing in our developing narrative surrounding the attacks on the people at the Charlie Hebdo offices is a very superficial rendering in our analysis, or lack thereof. There seems to be an almost immediate denial or deflection of root causes.
As a professional storyteller, in approaching my craft, I am charged with communicating with each according to their capacity to comprehend. When I engage the potential of my craft I think first about the individual, then the family, then the community, the state, then the nation, etc., etc.
In order to reign in the enormity of contemplating each of these elements in isolation, I engage the theory that they are all components of larger organisms, sort of a semi-Gestaltian approach.
Here’s a simple analogy: When we experience eruptions on our skin, the outer expression of our existence, we, human beings, being as vain as we are apt to be, rush towards topical solutions for resolution. Now, intellectually, we “all” know that the eruptions on our skin are merely external manifestations and warnings that there are problems internally.
All organisms seeks homeostasis, balance. When we do not have balance we define what is happening to the organism as stress or not being at ease, dis-ease.
I would posit that societies function just as organisms and that disruptions to peace are topical signs that there is internal disorder. Instead of seeking a diagnosis of what is creating the dis-ease, we apply a topical solution to the matter until the symptoms fade. So now, visually, we have restored balance.
The problem with this mode of functioning that the internal stress is stills present even though we don’t witness it externally. The result is that more, and greater eruptions continue to occur until our ignorance produces, sometimes, fatal consequences.
Here are a few of the questions. What are the internal conflicts in a society that are the root causes of the violent eruptions?
What functions do inflammatory media serve towards balancing the organism that we call a society? What are the internal social conditions that break down the normal human need for balance and set individuals, organizations at odds with one another, forcing these topical lesions and rash of violence to appear?
Now, don’t think that the U.S. is immune to these same forms of inquiry. No… not at all.
Here in the U.S., the day before the shootings in Paris, we experienced an act of domestic terrorism that has gone unreported by national media. There was an attempted detonation of an Improvised Explosive Device outside of an NAACP office in Colorado Springs. How many of you were aware of that?
Returning to my line of inquiry, I have to ask what are the conditions that lead to such a potentially horrific act and what societal function is served by an almost total blackout of information?
Societal stress and dis-ease is not created in a vacuum. The narratives are formulated long before the disruptions occur. If we are to solely examine these issues as 1st Amendment, or Freedom of Speech issues, then we are applying topical solutions to gaping, bleeding wounds.
Like I’ve said before, I’ve got way more questions than answers and I guess this is fair because I’m sure that there are greater minds than mine equipped to provide the answers.
If my inquiry or analysis offended anyone, I sincerely apologize. These meandering thoughts are simply the work of an itinerate teller of tales.