There have been several books and essays written about the need for Anarchists to move their theories and activities beyond the current scope of oppositional politics. Despite the stated desire to do so, few people have actually made the attempt. Indeed, there has been an almost decade-long stagnation of Anarchist activities. Anarchist gatherings throughout the ’90s have rehashed the same subjects (pirate radio, co-operative housing, food not bombs, etc.) and have succeeded in building nation-wide networks of people working on these projects. These all are worthy starting points to create foundations for further advancement of liberatory struggles . Yet, that next step has not developed out of them. The amount of time and effort required to do even these limited projects so drains the resources and energy of those involved that there is little attempt made at moving them forward in a more revolutionary direction. If anything, their revolutionary potential is played down in order to prevent reactionary forces from feeling overly threatened by them, or for the sake of getting along with the neighbors.
Some activists have not only given up on any attempts to create liberatory changes in their lives and how they interact with the larger society, but have even gone so far as to encourage other Anarchists to do the same. Worse still, they sometimes refer to this back-peddling as “revolution.” If Anarchy is to survive as a growing, relevant revolutionary movement into the next century, there is a need for us to move beyond our insular groups and activities and address the community-at-large – all those who share our level of exploitation and alienation, and especially those who suffer even greater levels of oppression. This hardly requires Anarchists to give up, water-down or drastically alter their goals and theories. Rather than retract, there is a need to expand Anarchist visions and activities, to find people who are exploring similar methods of thought and action and learn and grow along with them, hopefully in a spirit of mutual solidarity. It is in this expansiveness that Anarchists will find the directon for growth which has been lacking for too long in North American activism.
It is in this spirit of expansiveness that I present the following article.
On October 24th, 1997, Dr. Peter d’Errico presented a lecture (see excerpt below) to inaugurate the American Indian Civics Project at Humbolt State University (Arcata, CA). I was onhand for this speech and have wanted to discuss some of his statements, such as those concerning the rights of stateless people to define their identities outside the realm of the nation/state, with him. So I contacted him via e-mail.
He describes himself as “an anti-law lawyer and teacher of legal studies (at the University of Massachusetts/Amhearst)…Once a year, I teach a course called ‘Legalization of American Indians’ which is my label for what the state has done to native peoples over the past few hundred years: confine and define human relations in legal categories.”
“Native American Sovereignty; Now You See It, Now You Don’t”
…The classical attributes of “sovereignty” already foreshadow the problem of applying this concept to American Indians and other non-state peoples: absolute, unlimited power held permanently in a single person or source, inalienable, indivisible, and original (not derivative or dependent)…
…They are the core concepts of state power that arose around monarchs and church. They were the brainchild of western political theorists of the 16th and 17th centuries…They are not the characteristics of power in non-state societies.
The emergence of the sovereign state was … the necessary instrument of Europe’s colonial expansion.
Joseph A. Camilleri, “Rethinking Sovereignty in a Shrinking, Fragmented World.” R. B. J. Walker and Saul H. Mendlovitz, ed’s. Contending Sovereignties. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1990.
With this remark we see the need for an inquiry into the question whether “sovereignty” can become the instrument of liberation from colonialism. If “state” and “sovereignty” refer to a framework of “supreme coercive power,” and such power is absent in “tribes,” is this a justification for “domestic dependent nation” or terra nullius, or is it rather a challenge to state sovereignty as the organizing principle of the world? Are we at the threshold of a new way of organizing politics that will — like the state before it — rearrange everything from villages to the world?
“…Sovereignty — the notion of “absolute, unlimited power held permanently in a single person or source, inalienable, indivisible, and original” — is today a theory under siege. Indigenous peoples are only one of the besiegers, but their presence is felt worldwide…
…Indigenous peoples around the world are attacking the supremacy of state governments. From an indigenous perspective, state sovereignty is a claim that violates their own pre-existing self-determination. Western jurisprudence has done a great deal to exclude “non-state societies” from the domain of law, because they lack hierarchical authority structures. If indigenous peoples follow the model of state sovereignty — which they are being told they cannot do because they are not states — they may find that when they attain this goal they have sacrificed the underlying goal of self-defined self-determination. The task before us is to understand the immense differences between states and stateless societies. We must not fall for the line that all societies naturally lead to state formation or that state formation is even a social desire…”
When contacted, Dr. d’Errico suggested that we include Steve Newcomb (also present at the Humbolt event, and a co-speaker the next day, (at the time of the discussion) with the Fourth World Institute in Denver, CO) in the discussion.
Rob los Ricos:
I’m taking a look back at the time just prior to the (re)discovery of the Americas by the Europeans, and I see that the concept of the nation/state was in its formative stages still, after a long, long “infancy.” Various Aristocracies were trying, with varying amounts of success, to impose the idea of the nation/state upon their subjects. Thus, not only were the various noble families fighting one another over territory, but often against their own unruly peasantry, particularly in instances where the rulers were of a different ethnic or national background than the ruled. The peasants were asserting their rights to have at least some say in the way they were ruled, to have some type of system to address grievances against their rulers.
This is an avenue in which comparative materials might help us understand the “native” perspective. I have a hunch that the statements and struggles of those who were earlier targeted by the “state” are similar to those who came later. In other words, looking at what the “peasants” of what was becoming “germany” or “ireland” in earlier centuries had to say about themselves might be useful in understanding what we can no longer find directly from peoples on this continent (to the extent the earlier materials were not also destroyed by the “state” as part of its policy of erasure/reconstruction of the past).
It seems pretty clear that many peoples at different times and places argued and fought against “civilization.” And it also seems clear that the “presence” of social organizations outside “civilization” was (and is) a threat to the hegemony of “civilization.” I am willing to generalize about these histories insofar as they provide examples of the way(s) in which “civilization” defined itself in opposition to local communities. It may not be possible to generalize about how these local communities defined themselves, though this looks like a fruitful area for investigation.
RlR: The clash between cultures during the European conquest of the Americas was to a large extent a clash between non-state Peoples and Imperial states. In the course of their subjugation, Native Peoples were forced to take upon themselves the semblance of a State so that they could enter into treaty negotiations, “government-to-government.” Yet their rights as “Sovereign Nations,” are granted – or not – by the nation/states which have absorbed their land and people. How can traditionally non-state People reclaim their rights as sovereign People outside the parameters of the structures imposed upon them by the nation/states?
Steve Newcomb: What is a non-state people? What is an imperial state?
These terms themselves are social and political constructs of the dominant society, but what do they really mean?…
Yes. I agree with Steve’s questioning of the question. This is, first of all, an imperative in any discussion: that we look at the questions which frame the ground for the answers…
Second, what encourages us to reframe the question(s) particularly in this context is the nearly overwhelming (one could say “hegemonic”) tendency to speak about any issues of political-economy in terms that are derived from the “western” world-view…So, to move toward the question — “how can a traditionally non-state People reclaim their rights as a sovereign People outside the parameters of the structures imposed on them by the nation/state?” — we confront the dilemma of defining a People in the negative, i.e., as “non-state.” What is a People, without regard to the perspective that understands “state” and “non-state” as the inclusive dichotomous categories of social organization? This is not only a dilemma in discourse, but also one in fact, namely: the People(s) we speak of have self-understandings that pre-exist their experiences with “states.” To the extent that these self-understandings have been suppressed (as by silencing of the ones who carry that understanding, be they “teachers,” “medicine whomen,” “chiefs,” “elders,” etc.), the People face an existential identity crisis. Resolution of this crisis involves the (re)development of an indigenous discourse in a lived way (i.e., not just in talk). Thus, the question begins to permutate further, in the direction of something a priori: who/what are/is the People? The answer to this question — indeed the attempt to address this question — will already become a “reclamation” process.
More accurately, the question gives rise not so much to a “reclamation” as to a “re-assertion” or “revealing.” And it is not “rights” but “powers” that are reclaimed/reasserted/revealed. And these “powers” are beyond anything that is conventionally understood as “sovereign,” unless we are speaking of something “spiritual,” in which case the complexity increases because “spiritual” is also a word that has been circumscribed in another dichotomy of “western” discourse: sacred/secular. Breaking through that inclusive double category thus becomes entwined with breaking through the”state/non-state” discourse.
As you can see, even the most preliminary responses to the question move rapidly and irretrievably beyond the discourse in which the question seems to “make sense” (namely, “the parameters of the structures of the nation/state”).
This may sound somewhat facetious, but I mean it in the most serious way: the inadequacy of the question is simultaneously its profound utility.
I don’t have a particularly negative judgment of your question, but I’m simply attempting to grapple with it as best I can, and I tend to always attempt to challenge the most common underlying assumptions about Native issues.
I commend you for wanting to “break out of” the “ideological hegemony” of the Western world. However, it is pretty difficult to do so while using the Western language system to critique the “Western ideology.” “The language speaks us as we speak the language,” a professor of mine used to warn me. The Western “reality” is constantly reconstituted and maintained through use of its words, meanings, and categories.
Someone recently talked with me about what it takes to survive as a prisoner, esp in a political context: the prisoner has to remember that s/he is a prisoner. The regime will encourage the prisoner to identify with itself, to “belong,” give up the prior world-view of resistance. This will destroy the prisoner as an independent being, though it will bring “comfort.” To survive mentally/politically/spiritually/socially intact, the prisoner must continue to acknowledge the truth of the situation, even though there may be no action which can be taken on this truth without risk of death.
Fredy Perlman addressed this in his essay “The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism,” how oppressed people begin to lose their sense of identity and come to identify with their oppressors. I only mention this because “Anarchy…” reprinted it. (#37, Summer ’93)
If we agree that “consciousness” is at issue, we can then adopt/adapt what others have said on this, including Fanon, Lukacs, Gramsci, W. Reich, R. Pirsig, etc., not all of whom were involved with “native” peoples’ struggles, but who did focus on the question of “consciousness.” Some of these writers will be more useful than others, because they remembered that “consciousness” is embodied in nature.
The Western Christo-European political/legal consciousness has achieved hegemony by monopolizing the reality construction process in favor of itself and its own interests. The “struggle” that we are involved in must also be understood at the level of consciousness, and at the level of the underlying meanings that constitute reality on an ongoing basis, backed by sufficient armed might to prevent people from expressing, by living out, any fundamental contradiction to that system.
Indeed! This seems to me to be one of the linkages between “native” struggles and other, perhaps earlier struggles in and against the “state.” I like the fact that Rob is looking for such linkages, though we have to be careful as we look, lest our vision be confined/defined by the power we are trying to see through… that is, we want to “see through” in the sense of penetrating through a veil, yet we may get caught and end up “seeing through” the eyes of that which constitutes the veil…
Fredy Perlman’s book “Against His-Story, Against Leviathan” addresses this issue, as he describes how certain societies at war with the emerging nation/states had to adopt aspects of military organization in order to combat the invading armies, which eventually led to their becoming nation/states themselves. Switzerland is a good example.
Yes. This is an important point. Many (all?) societies attacked by the armies of the hierarchical, territorial state were distorted by being placed in a continuing defensive posture. Thus, for example, the balance between “peace chiefs” and “war chiefs” which existed in “normal” times was upset when war chiefs were necessarily placed in authority over an extended time. Similarly, the nature of “tribal war” — with its emphasis on individual honor and valor and without a tradition of wholesale subjugation of enemies — was changed in the face of standing armies of conscripts who enforced empire. Crazy Horse and Geronimo became famous because they figured out that the army was operating on a completely different basis from the warrior societies.
To what extent does language restrict our ability to think? To what extent can we resist/breakthrough these restrictions? To what extent are restrictions on thought externally imposed? (Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault discussed this on Dutch TV once.)
These questions call for more familiarity with language theories than I can summon at the moment. My sense of the situation is that language and thought are intimately linked and probably inseparable. I am referring here to cognitive thinking, not to consciousness itself, which I think precedes and persists at a deeper level than “thought.”
During the social unrest in Paris, in ’68, two grafitti’d slogans read “All power to the imagination,” and “I take my dreams for reality because I believe in the reality of my dreams.” I think both of these statements were recognizing the need to free thought from language.
On the subject of imagination, here’s a long excerpt from a recent essay of mine:
‘It may be difficult in conditions of mass-mediated societies to imagine the continuing existence or revival of indigenous peoples . Yet even now there appears an “instability … of subjectivities” that opens imagination to possibilities of social reconstruction:
“As Turkish guest workers in Germany watch Turkish films in their German flats, as Koreans in Philadelphia watch the 1988 Olympics in Seoul through satellite feeds from Korea, and as Pakistani cabdrivers in Chicago listen to cassettes of sermons recorded in mosques in Pakistan or Iran, we see moving images meet deterritorialized viewers. These create diasporic public spheres, phenomena that confound theories that depend on the continued salience of the nation-state as the key arbiter of important social changes.
“… Neither images nor viewers fit into circuits or audiences that are easily bound within local, national, or regional spaces.
“….the work of the imagination…is neither purely emancipatory nor entirely disciplined but is a space of contestation in which individuals and groups seek to annex the global into their own practices of the modern…”
[Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization
(U of Minn Press, 1996)]
‘Imagination is a collective social fact, one in which there is agency and self-determination. Imaginations bound by the jurisprudence of a millennium of Christian colonialism may be opened to reconsider social identity and the relation of peoples to lands.
‘That “[n]either images nor viewers fit into circuits or audiences that are easily bound within local, national, or regional spaces” does not eliminate the possibility that linkages between peoples and lands do exist. In the face of phenomena which “confound theories that depend on the continued salience of the nation-state,” it becomes clear that individuals and groups may “seek to annex [not only] the global [but also the local] into their own practices of the modern.”
‘The imagination of neo-colonial United States history, which declares that “the final curtain has fallen” on the world of indigenous peoples, “cut[s] off dialogue and condemn[s] to oblivion or absurdity Indian[s] … who want to continue the drama”:
‘Because I am an Indian, born and raised on a northern plains Indian reservation in this century, I argue with [this neo-colonial imagination]. The culture I have known imagines a different continuity and intimacy with the universe, which in large part still exists. It exists in communities all over the region, in language and myth, and in the memories of people who know who they are and where they came from. Unless someone comes forward to say that Western history did not stop in 1890, Indians will forever be exempted from Descartes’s (sic) admonition concerning humanity: “I think, therefore, I am.”
‘Worse yet, fraudulent public policy toward Indians has been and is even now imposed through the conversionary use of imagined realities.
‘The persistence of indigenous peoples in territories claimed by the United States (and in other parts of the world) exposes “a corruptly imagined world” and “perpetrators of a wrongful history.” [Id., 31] “Corrupt imagination” and “wrongful history” underwrite and are sustained by United States refusals to hear the Western Shoshone and the Mashpee Wampanoag peoples speak for themselves. The United Nations Draft Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples indicates a wider arena of struggle. The title of the document triggers the key debate: Are indigenous peoples “peoples”? This question was raised in United States law and decided in the negative in Johnson v. McIntosh, 21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) 543 (1823), on the grounds that “the character and religion of its inhabitants afforded an apology for considering them as a people over whom the superior genius of Europe might claim an ascendancy.”
‘”Character and religion” are the most basic arenas of indigenous conflict and persistence. The colonial response to “discovery” was “an effort to …[make] everything speak … with one voice.”
[Jens Bartelson, A Genealogy of Sovereignty, Cambridge University Press, 1995, 108.]
Indigenous peoples were given a “choice”: to assimilate and give up their independent self-definition, or to maintain their self-definition and be “removed.” The underlying assumption was that there is only one reality and it is Christian European (later, industrial commercial). Social diaspora emerged as the more basic form of dispossession, the primary and basic thrust of United States law: to extinguish Indians as peoples.
‘Recognizing that imagination is “a space of contestation,” we look at “equivocal links” the modern (neo-colonial) world has formed with traditions it tries to exclude or overcome: ‘…we conceive of postmodernity not as a stage or tendency that replaces the modern world, but rather as a way of problematizing … all fundamentalism or evolutionism … upon which modernity still attempts to base itself, and elaborat[e] … a more open way of thinking that includes the interactions and integrations among levels, genres, and forms of collective sensibility…
[Nestor Garcia Canclini, Hybrid Cultures: Strategies for Entering and Leaving Modernity (University of Minnesota Press, 1995)]
‘The ultimate issue in diaspora is land. Modern neo-colonialsim, in the guise of nation-states and multi-national corporations, is built on dispossession of indigenous “forms of collective sensibility” that identify relations between specific peoples and lands. But American Indian “vanishing” acts are not immutable “facts.” From the perspective of social diaspora, they are sets of social choices made to survive. The notion of social diaspora provides a means to see persistence of peoples under circumstances of enforced “national unities” and dispersed individuals.’
Even the anarchists of the 19th century mostly embraced the idea of progress, in some sort of rationalist/scientific religious stupor. Yet, now, with the effects of industrialization becoming evident even to the most willfully blind followers of progress, there are beginning to emerge passionate denunciations – or at least critical investigations – of the course of rational/humanistic “progress,” mostly within critiques presented by anarchists, but also growing more and more in the neo-hippy, eco-activist camps. Can these tendencies within the Western culture create change in that culture, or must they break away from Western styles of living completely before they can even begin to hope of building their own visions of a life outside of the realm of the nation/state and capitalism?
Here’s a quote I used when I responded to this question in my essay, “…Now You See It…”:
‘The resistance to the present political and economic organization of society, expressed by the peace/antinuclear, ecological, communalist, consumer, feminist, gay liberation, human potential/self-awareness and other movements, cannot be overestimated. They represent a multidimensional response to the “colonization of the life-world.” Their praxis may not yet pose a decisive challenge to the status quo, but it has already generated … a readiness to resist existing institutions and their life-eroding consequences. The point about these antisystemic movements is that they … are reaffirming the priority of … popular sovereignty over state sovereignty. For them the state retains a positive function only to the extent that it can be used as a vehicle for the realization of popular sovereignty. … Whether or not, and in what way, the state can be effectively integrated into the praxis of critical movements remains, however, a largely unanswered question.’
[Joseph A. Camilleri, "Rethinking Sovereignty in a Shrinking, Fragmented World." R. B. J. Walker and Saul H. Mendlovitz, ed's. Contending Sovereignties. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1990. 35-36].
As the concept of “patriotism” and the nation/state emerged, long-held traditions of communal property, communal rights to resources and such, were replaced by private ownership – usually by the nobility or the Church. The feeling of community was replaced by the abstraction of citizenship, love of the home replaced by love of the “homeland.” The former ways were soon part of a by-gone era and replaced by the “progressive” ways, the ones which took away land and resources from people who had use of them and put them to productive use, to generate income for the owners. This is an idea so entrenched into the citizen’s imprisoned minds that it is difficult to challenge this as being the only way to relate to land and resources. Is there any hope that these alien ideas can be unlearned? That communal values can once again be applied to people’s relationship with where they live? Even if people could free their minds from the intellectual shackles of profit-generation, could they break free from the demands of the dominant world order, which sees the earth’s resources only in terms of potential monetary value and demands access to them as such?
I am descended from both the Shawnee and Lenape Nations. The fact that no one in my immediate family has the ability to think and speak in either Shawnee or Lenape, means that we have been deprived of the means of thinking and perceiving outside the Western Christo-European language system. A Japanese person, living in Japan, has the ability to speak, think, and write in the Japanese language from a Japanese perspective. From that vantage point, history can be examined from a Japanese perspective. The same could be said for so many other peoples and cultures around the world. But for Native people, so many of us no longer have the ability to do this because the United States (and other countries such as Canada, and Mexico, although much less so in Mexico) have, by means of genocidal policies, largely succeeded in destroying our traditional languages. What is the toll that this loss of language has inflicted on us? What have we been deprived of in terms of being able to be free of the Western hegemonic worldiew? Without our own language how can we know first hand what it actually “looks like” outside of English? What does reality “look like” from within an entirely non-Western, non-Indo-European language system? Is it really so different, or not?
In any case, so many of us are now enclosed (incarcerated) within the Western Christo-European language system. To some extent, whether we want to or not, we are compelled to orient and define ourselves within (the) language system of our oppressors. So, are we “states” “non-state peoples” “Natives,” “native Americans (meaning, US citizens of native ancestry), or “Native Americans” or “Indians” or “nations” or “tribes” or “groups,” or none of the above. It all comes down to “Who Am I” “What am I” “Who are we,” or “what are we.” And every answer we come up with has political, legal, economic, social, and spiritual implications, though not necessarily in that order.
Most words made available to us in the language milieu of the dominant society for the purposes of self-identification are terms of disempowerment. The fact is, we are embroiled in a “war of words.” Some words are better designed for victory than other words. The other side, in this case the side of the “State” or nation/state, has already claimed to have a monopoly on the most powerful words. We are taught, through federal Indian law and the discourse of the feds that we are excluded from using the most powerful word to define ourselves, and if we attempt to do so, we are told that we are speaking nonsense.
What I want to emphasize is that no idea is so entrenched that it persists by itself, without assistance. Each new person, each generation has to be “educated” (one could say “socialized”) into the beliefs that are dominant if their domination is to continue. I think this is especially true of ideas like individual accumulation that run counter to the long history of life on the planet, which is group existence. Such ideas are especially vulnerable and require an immense, ongoing “educational” (one could also say “propaganda”) effort. If we start from this perspective, we are less likely to become hopeless than if we think the only effort involved is that which aims at un-learning the ideas.
I also want to emphasize the difference between “political” and “spiritual” (for want of better words) approaches to this problem of change. The political approach says that I can do nothing alone, that I must focus all my effort on convincing others to want to change, in order that one day, perhaps, there will be enough people on my side that I/we can change. The spiritual approach says that the only real arena of my work is me, that I must focus all my effort on self-understanding and self-change, in order that one day, perhaps, I will finally be living right. The political approach seems to me to dis-empower people while the spiritual approach empowers. It is interesting that so much “radical” politics is critical of “spiritual” activity. On one hand, this may be a result of the “radical” critique confusing “spiritual” with “religious” and throwing out the baby with the bathwater; on the other hand, this may be the result of the “radical” critique being defined by that which it opposes… a danger that has been noted in sources as diverse as the I Ching and the Uncle Remus stories (esp. tar baby story).
I have this recurring problem when addressing my beliefs with ultra-rationalist anarchists. I think they tend to see any “spiritual” discourse as a way of mystifying things, which can be a problem. Often, I try to explain that they maybe have some preconceptions of what “spiritual” means, and that it could have very different meaning outside of Western dictonomies. They tend not to want to hear that or discuss it. I see Rationalism as a sort of religion, too. Maybe in part just to get back at them.
One of the most basic forms of hegemony is to capture the understanding of spirit. This has been/is the practice of organized religions for (literally) millennia. Examples abound, from overlay of church functions/doctrines on pagan ceremonies/sites, to literal burning of evidence (including sacred writings and sacred people).
Rationalism is indeed a belief system… Pirsig wrote that “the ‘system’ is rationality itself.” [Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance]
In reference to Descartes and the “enlightenment,” Sloterdijk wrote:
“Enlightenment develops in the form of a collective training in mistrust of epochal proportions. Rationalism and mistrust are related impulses, both bound tightly to the social dynamic of the rising bourgeoisie and the modern state.” [Critique of Cynical Reason, p. 330]
Tell your anarchist (friend)s that they are an expression of the bourgeois state!
I’m wondering how Native Peoples can move beyond the Western worldview that has come to define them in so many ways…Do you see similarities between the struggles of Native Peoples to once again be free to define themselves as Peoples and Anarchists’ struggles against the dominant social order? What does one have to share with the other, if anything?
They share certain urgings against domination (dom – nation; Steve has explained this word…). They may differ in the sources and goals of their urgings: 1) anarchist urgings seem usually not to have a localized “place” from which/to which they are related, but rather to be abstractly or theoretically defined; 2) native urgings may be quite compatible with some forms of social organization that appear hierarchical (though not “class” structured).
And, thus, not necessarily compatible with Anarchist theory. So, what would you say to Anarchist evangelicals who would like to convert everyone to their perspective? Do you think there might be room for Anarchist influence in the re-emergence of native Peoples in a post-nation/state world?
I think all evangelism is problematic. The modern anarchist evangelist looks and feels a lot like the early christian: theories of love, brotherhood, etc. Seems to me that the fundamental starting point for life on earth has got to be rooted in Peoples and places, and if this eventually expands to include all humans on the planet as a harmonious society it will still be built on particular groups relating to particular places, not a generic equality. There are lots of versions of anarchism… maybe some of them are closer to what I’m saying than others….
I thank you both so much for getting the wheels spinning inside my head. Too often, I’m stuck inside an insular world, where everyone agrees with pretty much everything I believe, or in a crowd of people lost in the mechanizations of the dominant powers who do not, or possibly cannot, question the incarceration of their minds and lives.
In other words, genuine discussion (as compared to “exchanging opinions”) is rare…This has been a useful exchange for me also… thanks for initiating it!