Thursday, January 18, 2018

power play

The skeptic has a sexy role—
"the sexiness comes with the power"—

but where's the fun in that?

In the game of "what can we know?"
they're the player who has the Ore Port,
who drops the Queen of Spades,
who breaks hearts,
calls your bluff.

"how can we know for certain"
is the trump card,
punctuating a too-positive statement
we cannot know "for sure."

They curtail the uncouth cataphatic
with educated guesses,
and measured conjectures,
forcing history into hypothesis,
undercutting the real with putative.

Skepticism is sustainable,
marketable, a symptom which can lead to tenure.
She who stakes a claim will
most likely be forced to lift those pickets
in a few years,
and chart new limits of her homestead boundaries
which are always shifting,
in this community of exploration.
Knowledge is not a stable entity,
but always growing and destabilizing.

She sees the structure is made of Jenga blocks—being poked out from the structure one-by-one—and comprehends this building knowledge is a business designed for scapegoats. There will always be an unfortunate academic who chooses the wrong block, and causes the structure to collapse. The skeptic steps outside the game—above it—looking down on it, having decided she will not be bamboozled by these other fools. She sees the shifting sands of consensus, and she will not be caught up in their sandstorm.

But where's the fun in that?

Bolder, rather, are the pioneers that put down sod, that till one particular soil, that build something concrete, strong and lovely. That build their house on rock, trusting the foundation's strong, even if the edifice needs constant upkeep. Neighborhoods are not built by nomads. Community can begin once one brave Benedict says: I think we will live here. Learning does not happen with skeptics too smart to be bamboozled. Learning begins with a small simple square of blocks, inaugurating the game of Jenga, where each small block is pulled out from underneath us, and built up into a new creation. It's a risky undertaking, which may result in total collapse of the tower.

But stepping into the game sure beats the sidelines.

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