I forget where it was: Amsterdam or Haarlem, someplace Dutchish or Hollandese. Or San Francisco. Anyway, I was in an art museum, looking at all the pretty pictures, when I was taken aback by a painting of a group of townspeople focused on some spectacle in front of them . . . all except for one, a little girl, who has turned to make frank eye contact with the viewer of the painting. It was the most extraordinary thing, and I’ve been unable to get it out of my head recently, that knowing, conspiratorial gaze. You and I know better, it said, but we are paralyzed, unable to affect a single molecule of change in the pageant of human nature that must eternally play itself out. In the painting, in the world of the wise little girl, there is no evolution, no uncertain theory of Heisenberg; there is no hope in that jolly scene, no peace in that serene expression. Only horrors.
With you, dear reader, I make eye contact. I stand against a scene of torture, wars, lies, corruption, profound and willful ignorance, materialism, flashing lights, glamour. For a moment, we understand each other; that which is similar about ourselves and about our worlds pulsates, produces a chilling hum. You turn away.