Note — Jul 12, 2020

Liminal Space

This piece by Devon Powers—adjacent to Tolentino’s above—is on the liminal space of the quarantine, in which the only certainty offered is contradiction. Also on “the triumph of humanity above a human” and on this understanding of being dependent on each other in a complex world / situation, and the need to stay with that understanding after the quarantine.

It is a privilege to say that quarantine changed everything. In the prison and the sanctuary church, on the street corners where people beg or score, quarantine was the same tune in a different, flatter key. Quarantine deepened the wound and underscored the neglect. […]

Quarantine reminded us that as much as we might care to, we cannot get along without each other. Everyone is connected. It took the solitude of quarantine to remember that we are the connection, we are the guts of the network, who will live and die as one. […]

In a way, quarantine marks the triumph of humanity above a human — that survival of the former might mean inconvenience, suffering, or even demise of the latter. […]

The most radical gesture, then, may not be to emerge from quarantine but to figure out how to persist within it, always. To appreciate complexity, to acknowledge hardship, to wonder why things are what they are and whether they must always be so. (They mustn’t.)