‘We have met the enemy and it is us.’ At one of my lowest of the low, I realized that I could be my own worst enemy, but again I could be my own best friend. So every day I choose to be my own best friend. (Though some days are better than others). And that requires knowing something of the bad, which, in its external form, writes Flinders (author of At The Root Of This Longing), is the ‘corporate greed, the global and “transinstitutional” force that Vandana Shiva sees as the real enemy of women, the earth, and life in all its forms.’
Internalized, it’s the ‘belief in “self-by-conquest,” … the seed of one kind of culture–materialist culture–and we’ve been watching it unfold, watching it take up more and more room in our lives for more than five thousand years. Feminist theorist bell hooks states its central teaching in a few devastating words: “There is nothing in you that is of value; everything that is of value is outside you and must be acquired.” [my emphasis] Its opposite number, the seed that’s capable of producing another very different version of culture, is visible in the discovery … that it is “in conferring self all around” [again, my emphasis] that I experience a deeper, stronger sense of self. This other reading of human experience, and the possibilities it suggests, has been forced to the absolute margins of life–made to seem ridiculous.’ (304)
It’s a paradox, that you find yourself in others; if you try to find your self in things (if you buy the notion, even unconsciously, that ‘everything that is of value is outside you’), you will lose your self.