David Watson Hood, visual artist
The slave's complaint: 08/02/2011
I long to find a master with the humility of true authority whether it is in the governance of others, in philosophy, in art, in science, in any sort of learning, in the management of the land, in trading or in industry, or in what it is needful or desirable to make, or in how we should live and what it is rightful to do to and with each other.
One who confidently knows what it is they know, what it is they know not but others may, what it is that none know but may be found out and what it is that none may ever know.
I find none such, but instead on every hand are those who would be my masters both old and new. The old masters assert certainty with a confidence born of that delusional sense of entitlement people derive from long accustomed power, which blinds them to the falsehoods spawned by their ignorance. The new masters may sometimes speak truths but in doubting their own entitlement they bluster aggressively saying it is “the whole truth, the absolute truth and nothing but the truth”, and that is a thing that can never issue from the pen or the mouth of a man.
At every corner is a master’s man, each holding either a gun justified by a book of laws or a book of laws justified by a gun. Each one says to me “you are no slave, go freely as long as you go South”, or “you are no slave, go freely as long as you go North”, or “you are no slave, go freely as long as you go East”, or “you are no slave, go freely as long as you go West”, or go up, down, backward or forward. Each confounds me with the glamour of apparent choice bidding me “take any road your heart desires so long as it leads directly in the direction I command”.
None but a child would expect to find any who truly know the best road to take. All I wish for now I am grown is a guide who can wisely read the road we find ourselves on, sending out scouts before and behind then making wise judgments according to their reports as to when it best to turn into another path; even when this is not the path that they themselves would otherwise prefer.
If none of the would be masters are such, and I have as yet in long searching found none such, then it is time for the slaves to run free and lose themselves on their own account.
© David Watson Hood 08/02/2011
Ringlet and Mallow, digital photos from "Birds in the Hand" project.