Sunday, August 2, 2015

We Are Bound

    We are bound, whether we like it or not. We are.  We are joined, person to person, and life to life, by something so essential to us that we do not consider it from day to day.  I hope you will allow me this metaphor.  We are bound together into the greatest textile of all, the textile of human life. I know its hyperbolic to frame it so.  That does not stop it from being truth.  We are bound together into a massive, glorious, appalling, incomprehensible thing, this massive bolt of cloth we call humanity.
    And if we were to take it back a step or two and think for a moment about how many ways we connect with other people in the world, even people we have never, and may never know, it would be far harder to hate, fear, or dismiss them.   When we understand that the clothes on our backs, the garments that keep us from freezing to death in winter, or keep us comfortably cool in summer were made by people just like us, it becomes harder for us to sit in judgement over people who's lives are so connected with ours.  It becomes harder to treat them as anything other than what they are in reality; family.  We are all family.  So it doesn't matter if what you wear is mud cloth in Central Africa, or couture from the rue de Montaine in Paris.  It doesn't matter if what you clap on is Carhardt work pants, or Saville Row bespoke trousers.  We are all speaking, and wearing, the same visual tongue.
    It would do all of us nearly 8 billion, a great deal of good to think about this seriously.  All over the globe, we depend on each other for the very clothes we put on our bodies.  There is nowhere that this is not felt to some degree.
    The dress you have on might be made from fabric that was woven in India, but printed in Japan. The zipper might be from the American firm Talon, the interfacing might have been manufactured in Germany, or Brazil.  The thread might have been spun in southeast Asia. And nearly every garment or accessory you possess is a ployglot of such things.  To say that something is from this country or that, these days is a chancy thing. Surely, there are nations where the majority of the population dress in garments entirely from their own country, like India, but for the rest of us, we wear, everyday minute of our waking lives, the evidence of our familial ties, buried within the structure of the things we wear.
    Some overtly patriotic American who claims to wear only American made things is wrong.  Unless they have extensively researched the sourcing for every part of everything they don, its certain they are wearing the results of international cooperation, and the labors of people they may even disapprove of.  So its well for us to remember when we shrug on that favorite hoodie, that it represents the world of which we are inextricably a part.

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