The Irreplaceability of Continued Struggle

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The devaluing of life begins with forgetting that none of us is replaceable. The paradox of this admission, however, is that it is ironically linked to what enables us to introduce replaceability into the world. For it is the human capacity to render things symbolic and anonymous, where onething could stand in for another, that enables us to reject or, better, refuse such acts of replacement. Nature, after all, as the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer reflected in The World as Will and Representation nearly two centuries ago, has no reason to care otherwise. So, it is up to us to bring such concern into the world, and in so doing, we offer, at least, an ethical face to an otherwise apathetic, amoral, or, at worse, cruel universe.

Among the moments that create a rupture in the movement of such blind will are life’s primordial markers of birth, love, and death. With birth, there is the twin love, the moment in which possibility shines in the universe and makes us forget, through looking into the bewildered eyes of the just born next generation, the foreboding nothingness with the resisting, anti‐nihilistic force of hope. Such, no doubt, was the experience of Sabrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, and Tracy Martin, his father. The so‐called “they” who “always get away,” they who are supposedly always up to no good, they whom George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin’s killer, presumed him to be was, at the end of the day, their son. Their irreplaceable son.

© Lewis R. Gordon