Traveling Where We Dare Not Travel

This post addresses lofty stuff, but I ask that you hang in with me if you have the available bandwidth.

I woke thinking about my college thesis. I concentrated in gender studies at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges–basically about as 90s identity politics as you can get. My thesis was about the theory of praxis–in particular, the marriage of theory and action in Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed as it could be applied to Marge Piercy’s brilliant utopian/dystopian 1976 novel Woman on the Edge of Time.

Wildly on the edge of its own time, the book acknowledged the multiverse and envisioned a potential 2137 in which people lived in communal villages free from capitalism and the blistering restrictions of contemporary gender and racial coding as well as biological nuclear families. It seemed like a softball to receive departmental honors, if I’m going to be honest. But I made a fatal strategic error.

In the oral defense of my thesis, I was asked whether I endorsed the murderous measures that the time-traveling protagonist–a Puerto Rican woman living on the poverty level in her 1970s timeline–had taken in order to rise up against the oppressive mid-20th institutions that literally were caging her and her brethren. Of course, I said. There are times when violence is required–when the peaceful thing to do is dismantle your oppressors by any means necessary.

No prize for me–in retrospect it’s hilarious I thought a Quaker college would reward such a stance–but as I woke thinking about the robber barons committing mass genocide to line their pockets with more bucks and ensure their rule, I flashed fondly on the 22-year-old I was.

“It” of Wrinkle in Time (another crucial interdimensional travel book

There may indeed be a multiverse–as an intuitive I believe this more and more–but in every timeline I can see, I agree with that girl.

After all, who among us has not, in the last few weeks, wished what we never thought we could wish on another human being? Even vaguely alluding to such a thing breaks the law, and yet every moral law I heed has been broken every day of our reality TV dictator’s rule.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy