“Stars were falling across the sky myriad and random, speeding across brief vectors from their origins in night to their destinies in dust and nothingness”
– Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, pg. 347
Life floats by in a heartbeat. Ninety-three million miles from the sun, the Earth has orbited and rotated and danced its dance for nearly 4.5 billion years. And for most of that time, it has hosted life. There have been countless lives, falling across the sky like stars myriad and random, speeding across brief vectors from their origins in the night to their destinies in dust and nothingness, as Cormac McCarthy would say. It’s said that everything – including humans – is made of star stuff: sashaying and shimmering pieces of recycled life repurposed to conceive countless more dancers on the stage of existence. And somewhere along the way, life stumbled upon a method to speed up the death-and-rebirth cycle: violence.
Perception, for what it’s worth, can be everything. While we can never fully understand the totality of somebody’s humanity, through tight-knit relationships - with their shared experiences, common bonds and intimate conversations - we are able to peel back the ornate onion of a select few and build well-rounded, two-way understandings. Conversely, I find myself all too often meeting somebody for a minute - or even bumping into them for a handful of seconds - and forming a negative opinion from that one run-in. While it sounds ignorant, we’ve all done it, judging someone’s entire character from a pebble of their existential mountain.
Perception, then, is based on our limited knowledge of whatever it is that we’re perceiving. Many of these situations seem to be extremely low-stakes, but these context-clue judgments can lead to much more explosive and detrimental outcomes. This is where prejudice and acts of racism are r...