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From the Pen of David Horowitz: October 19, 2009

October 19, 2009


It is a fact of our communal lives that we understand each other only through ourselves, and therefore not well. Writing a memoir about my daughter disclosed things about her that led me to reflect ruefully on the ways I had failed to appreciate her, or respond to her adequately, or support her sufficiently while she was alive. There is nothing left for me to do with these regrets now but to embrace them.

Since we cannot enter another’s consciousness, we are forced to rely on our own stories for reference points through which our encounters make sense. This is a fateful narcissism that colors our vision and creates our conflicts. Yet the same self-regard also provides a bridge that allows us to heal them. This is the meaning of Sarah’s tikkun olam: while we are many, we are one.

Because Sarah and I were writers, we found it natural to converse through our work. Since mine was public, it afforded her opportunities to ask me about the events that had led to our divergent paths. In this way, the facts that separated us became points of contact. She was curious about my history and I was eager to hear her opinions and answer her questions. Pursuing these ends we were able to open lines of communication that our tangled family narratives had previously blocked.

Long before Sarah embarked on her world mission, the murder in Oakland had set me on a course that put us at odds. Until that moment my politics had been a pursuit of social justice that was closer to a religious calling than a search for practical solutions. The crusades I joined did not seek adjustments to the framework of ordinary human disappointments. Their goals were more grandiose: to transform the framework itself. But the murder of an innocent woman by members of my progressive faith persuaded me that the world would not be saved by the very creatures who had made it what it was.

A Cracking of the Heart

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  1. Walt permalink
    October 19, 2009 7:28 am

    It is a sad tale of distance and discovery.

  2. guest permalink
    October 19, 2009 9:41 am

    The theoretical line which divides perception and the state of being blurs easily. I would not say that so flippantly if it were not for the course of history, which ever provides new tools to get inside someone’s mind. There’s Joyce. There’s Joyce on absinthe and laudanum.

    Then there’s shaping Gitmo detainees to recite Joyce like the Hadith’s due to the acid you force feed them!

    • October 19, 2009 9:47 am

      I have tremendous affection for Joyce. “Ulysses” is the greatest novel ever written IMHO.

      • jac mills permalink
        October 19, 2009 4:46 pm

        And possibly the most difficult to read, David.

        • October 19, 2009 5:06 pm

          “Finnegans Wake” is harder.

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