Here is a person in Burma with a bicycle going from home to work, or from the market to visit a relative or friend. Or, perhaps, performing a familiar, reverse commute from school to the village in which they have always lived. The most factual thing that can be said is here is a person with a bicycle moving from left to right.
Most of us notice the bridge, but center our attention on the person. Why is that? Why is the human being and the binary focus on here to there and left to right so all-consuming? At an early age, we’re taught stories of opposites: good/bad, up/down, mine/yours, hot/cold, right/wrong. Our current and toxic political and social discourse and cultural movements lace these familiar thought patterns into horrid adult forms, frequently with an oppositional “versus” replacing the “/.“ Examples include left- versus right-wing, us versus them, “true” Americans versus immigrants, working class versus white collar, and every form of racism, sexism, ageism, xenophobia, antisemitism, gender phobic, and other biases used to divide humanity.
What is the remedy? I ask myself this question, as you may also be asking, and look back upon the image I made all those years ago in Burma. The answer, so obvious, is the bridge. If energy is devoted to bridge-building, if attention and emphasis is on connectivity, we will certainly still have conflict and separation, but we will construct the means by which we will survive. Therefore, I say to myself and to you, build more bridges. Propel life’s spin not from this to that, or here to there, but along a circular path that has no start and no finish but forever cycles forward. On the journey, dwell in the company of every sentient being living above, below and on the bridge. You will not be alone; you will never be you versus other.