Practising To See

You can’t be what you can’t see.
— Marian Wright Edelman

How can any transperson, growing up with mirrors tuned to limit their gendered possibilities to that which make others comfortable, ever see the possibilities that lie just beyond their vision?

How can we move past the socially imposed blinkers into what seems like secret knowledge, hidden by the cultural walls we see between the genders?

The biggest challenge I have is to help people see beyond the current limits of their vision, past the boundaries and expectations of conventional gender.  If they can see it, they can be it, but seeing it demands opening your eyes to a wide range of challenging visions.

We are trained to see the scary stuff, the stuff that should keep us in line, treading the straight and very narrow.   This is what people around us accept as normative, as the way that things are, so we learn to accept it too.

People can’t speak of what they do not yet see in themselves.    We cut the stories we tell about ourselves down to the language and concepts we have at hand, working hard to stay within the bounds of the known world, that which is already in the sight of those around us.

Moving beyond the current limits of your imagination requires feeding it with what was uncommon to you in the past.   It demands swinging the pendulum wide to find a new centre, one not bounded by what you are supposed to know.

To see beyond we have to let go of those barriers to sight, allowing us to see through walls.   The best way to do this is to learn to see through the eyes of other people who have very different experiences and assumptions to the ones that we grew up with.

The challenge isn’t finding new ways to be, the challenge is, as always, dropping the blocks you hold to that vision.  Unlearning what you know always has to come before opening your mind to what you do not yet know.  If you don’t do that, your beliefs of what is normal get in the way of seeing what is real.

It easy to tenaciously hold on to what you believe is the right way to see the world even in the face of evidence that the world is much, much more diverse and beautiful than we ever imagined it to be, that it holds possibilities far beyond our current sight and limits of understanding.

Before we can hold knowledge we have to build mental structures to hold it.   The discipline of understanding is in the way we categorize it.   Unless we are able to have access to what we know, we can never cross check it, never see the patterns that emerge or the contradictions we hold. Tearing down and rebuilding the bookshelves in our mind is the first step to moving beyond the limits of what we see, of what we know.

For me, the key to seeing beyond the imposed boundaries of gender was learning to see through the eyes of other people who were raised in another culture.   The more I engaged the narratives of women, the more I was able to see the possibilities and the limits, the delights and the pressures that exist inside the world of women.

Using the stories of women to see as they do, I was able to see past the boundaries of my own silo of acculturation, beyond my own frustration and rage.   It turns out that women already had solutions for the challenges of my heart, from dealing with emotional blowups to negotiating with men without being one to finding pleasure without erections.

As children we are open to the stories of those around us as we look to get a bigger picture of the world, of our place in it, and of the possibilities that are open to us.  Wide eyed and curious we take everything in, often working to imitate what we see around us in the process of play.

As teenagers we try on many different ways of being, assuming poses and attitudes to see what works for us, what fits us.   We look to other people and borrow their observations, their choices and their words to find though synthesis a personal way of expression.

When we grow up, though, we often think that we have become fixed, locked into who we are, only seeing the world through our own filters, biases and expectations.   We don’t see any need or use to see outside our own constructions, falling inward and losing sight of what could be if we opened our eyes, our minds and our hearts.

To see better, we must learn to practise seeing, becoming still and open to the world.  Seeing beyond our expectations, letting others visions inform and guide us, lets us move beyond our own blocks.

For many, the simple expedient of throwing away what does not fit neatly in with what they already know means that they will never expand the limits of their vision.

If you overlook the bit of information that will cause you to question everything, cause you to open your eyes and see the world in a whole new light, you will remain blind and ignorant to the need for change.

When we try and impose our own expectations over the wide world, choosing to take the past

Opening your eyes isn’t as easy as it sounds.   The limits of our understanding are the limits of our perception.  The limits of our perception are the limits of our expectations.  Unless we expect the unexpected and open to wider visions we will never really open our eyes.

Every humans has their own view of the world we share.  Until we open to those visions, there is no way to expand our own sight, our own understandings, and our own imaginings of what we can be.

Into Abundance

You need people to see your heart, to feel your heart, to connect with your heart.

It's easy for them to see your big smarts, and yes, it's easy for them to see that big body of yours, old and shaped as it is.

It's not easy, though, for them to see beyond those big things to your heart, the one that is so full of love, compassion and wit.

I know why people sometimes see you as a porcupine, bristling, challenging and best avoided and put aside.   They sense your struggle and your pain, always difficult for you, so strong as to be overwhelming for others.

I also know your kindness and engagement, how you can be caring in ways that feel very, very kind and present.   You have the power of making someone feel seen, valued and encouraged.

You need that kind of kindness and engagement for yourself, I understand.   It isn't easy to find and to give to someone who already knows so well how to take care of themselves, who has faced down the kind of challenges you have, gaining great tools and deep knowledge.

It would be great if you could pick someone out to give you what you need, only having to show yourself to them.  That would be wonderful.

The people who you need to be there for you aren't easy to find.  They are as special, as brilliant and as rare as you are.  Most people can't see the power, blessings and tenderness in you.

If you want to find the people you need, you have to be visible in the world.   You have to put yourself out there in a way that feels unsafe and uncomfortable, a way that is challenging, a way that bets what reserves you have left with the belief that shining will pay off for you.

Experiencing scarcity has been core to you, with parents, with the time since they have passed, with your whole life.   You learned very early to stay alone and protected, learned that not everyone was going to get the joke.

I believe, though, that there are rewards in the world for you.   To get them, though, you can't play small, can't stay hidden, can't worry about upsetting people, as you had to do so many years with parents.    You can't just wait until you see the right person, you have to be visible so the right people will see you.

If you were younger, less worn, and more enthusiastic this all would seem easier, as you could rebound quicker from the everyday knocks you are sure to get.   You earned your tiredness elegantly, really using up your reserves to do the right thing.

I just can't imagine that there is any way out without finding a way to put yourself out there, even at a high cost.

This is all about risk/reward.  I know how big the risk is; do you have the capacity to keep getting hammered.   I just really, really, really believe that the rewards are out there for you, not just people who want to put you on a pedestal and have you heal them, wearing you down, but also a few wonderful people who will meet you where you are, sharing healing and care in a symbiotic and healthy relationship.

You have much to give, yes, but you also have much to get in the world.

You need people to see your heart, to feel your heart, to connect with your heart.   You have found those people few and far between.   So you have learned to conserve yourself, living on rations to face the scarcity you feel around you.

The people you seek are also in the shadows, waiting until they see your light to come out and share what they have to offer.   They understand what is like to be an outsider, understand the experience of observing the world, of seeing patterns, processes, stories and beauty.  They won't come out unless someone lights the way.   Maybe that someone should be you.

You have never really had anyone to follow, never really had a simple path laid out for you.   Instead, you have broken ground, explored, found a new path.

All that experience shows, not just on your body and mind, but on the way you have unfolded your own heart.   While I know everyone can't see that, can't affirm that, can't be there for you, even the people who can can't be there until you show them who and where you are.

Taking the bold move and letting people see you is the way into a better future for you, and even a little bit for the world.

I know that you have to make some big leaps to start a new chapter in your life, one that leaves behind scarcity and embraces abundance.   It demands risk and guarantees taking the kind of shit that will irritate you, as sensitive and tender as you are.    The old hurts will be hit again and you will have to push through those pains which are so woven into your experience.

You will have to engage the price of denial, of not taking care of what was important, of allowing bits to break as you served others and stayed small.   That cost you dearly and still costs you, I know, as there is no way to not have suffered that damage.

But I also know, as well as I can know anything that the time is different now and those leaps will pay off in a way that they haven't before.   Your being out will bring rewards.

I also know that no matter how dried up you feel, you are a strong person, with endurance and abilities that are still untapped.    I have watched you use those resources to serve the family, using them to keep yourself small and serving the lives of those you love.   As you use those resources to serve the world, using them to manifest your big brain and enormous heart, people will see the work you have done and some of them will even see you, finding a way to be present in a loving way.

You have lived with a scarcity mindset so long that your dreams are flattened.  You didn't have the attention, the mirroring or the resources to go for a bigger life,  don't really believe that better is really available for you, don't really believe others will say "yes"  to your heart.

To me, this that flattening makes me sad.   I have seen the sparks in you, the caring in you, the smarts in you, and even, sometimes, the beauty in you.   You are so much more vital when you are full, whole and sparkling.

Beyond the breaks, beyond the wear, beyond the scars, beyond the burned, toasty dryness, abundance is still there and possible for you.   You can show your energy, your smarts, your tenderness and have it rewarded and valued, even have it seen and held with grace by others.

Pushing past all the loss you have endured, past the suffering that has lead you to cut yourself down and hold onto scarcity is the only way to get the life and love that you not only need, but that you deserve, that you really, really, really deserve.

You have given so much, for so long.   You spoke for our parents.   But who will speak for you?   Where are you in the world?

I believe that the world is there for you if only you can step beyond the scarcity that has dried you out and can claim the abundance that should be your inheritance.   You have so, so much to give, so much to delight people, so much to share with the world.   Letting that out, boldly and beautifully,  with faith in your own gifts and possibilities, is just a good thing.

You need a new chapter in your life.  You need to cross over and engage the world, even if that world is going to hurt you some, going to open old wounds and demand more than you think you have left to endure.

Scarcity is not serving you.  And its obvious outcome is a denial of all the magical gifts I know are inside you.

Abundance can be there for you.  Out of the basement, out of the cul-de-sac, out of the county, out into a world that needs what you have to offer.  Show yourself, bold and beautiful, beyond your crushing experience, and I know that somewhere, someone will see the magic.

You need people to see your heart, to feel your heart, to connect with your heart.  

People need to see your heart, to feel your heart, to connect with your heart too.  But they cannot do that unless you reveal that big, brilliant, beautiful heart.

Abundance is available to you.  I believe that because I have to believe that, have to believe that something bigger, better and prettier is there for someone as strong, as smart and as beautiful as you are.

Take the hits, take the risk, take the path to bold visibility.   Believe that beyond the pain lies abundance.  Believe that when you open to the world, the world will open to you.

You need people to see your heart, to feel your heart, to connect with your heart.

That's what I really want for you too.

A Problem

How do you fix a problem like Maria?

Now, Maria is a transwoman who has been scared and shamed into the closet for years and is now trying to find some way to become more integrated and actualized in a very sex focused world.

The one thing we know is that you can’t reverse time.  You can’t just rewind her life and have her start again with girl socialization and the inhibition of male puberty.   That’s not an option.

Even if it were an option, it wouldn’t be a perfect one.   Transkids who are supported in that way still face their share of problems, either having to hide their history and biology at a cost of denial, or to face fundamentalists who really believe that reproductive biology — birth genital configuration — defines who you are and even who God created you to be.   They face crap, too.

We cannot yet change the sex of a human body, even if we can change various characteristics with hormones and surgery.   Maybe in the future, maybe, but not anytime soon.

Any fix for Maria is going to involve compromise.

Maria can’t really be fixed, she can only be supported.  Those who look for a cure won’t find one.

In her dreams, Maria knows what she wants.   She wants to be transformed into her perfect model of womanhood, female and fabulous.  Stripping off all that has been painful and challenging, she dreams of walking in the world with a new skin, one that fits her imagined self.

While the quest to achieve that change can be a crucial part of a trans life, the outcome will never, ever meet the color of Maria’s dreams.  Compromises are inevitable when dreams meet reality.   We have to learn to let go of our imaginings to get what we can get from reality, which may be better and more full, even if it isn’t what we thought we wanted.

Negotiating between dreams and reality is the enduring struggle of any human life, especially a trans life.   We can never be unmarked by the experience of growing up in a gender that bruised and scarred us.   We can never really manifest our dreams, instead scampering somewhere between.

Who do we love?   Who will love us?  How do we negotiate our place in a system of desire that seems to depend on a willingness to play the role our partner has in their head?

Fixing a problem like Maria isn’t simple and it isn’t any one shot operation, any more than fixing any human life is.   We grow and we change and we have to become new, finding different ways to get what we need.   Every choice is a trade off.

For researchers who want to solve a problem like Maria, this is a frustrating problem.

If the standard old solutions, like medical intervention with hormones and genital reconstruction surgery don’t fix trans people, then why are we doing them? They are expensive and intrusive and they don’t give the kind of clear statistical results that can justify the intervention, then they aren’t really productive.

But if medical intervention can’t solve the problem, what can?   Should we just tell transpeople to suck it up, that no change is really possible, that they just need to stop carping?

In a world where Maria has endured the bruises and scars of being scared and shamed into the closet, where when Maria becomes visible, many will continue to see her as sick or freaky, a world where she has to keep her defenses up, what can possibly help her?

By putting so much emphasis on medical intervention, many transwomen place enormous expectations on the intervention process, believing that it won’t just change their body but it will also change the way that they are seen in the world, change the way people relate to them, change the burden of their history and scars, change them into women.

Anyone who goes into the process with those expectations is bound to be disappointed, if not be crushed.   Their outcome will not make any doctor immediately think that the intervention to solve the problem was worth it.

I haven’t had to deal with a problem like Maria.  I have had to deal with the actual problems of Callan.

In my first 15 years out, when I looked at the outcome of others who had hormonal and surgical intervention, I knew that wouldn’t directly change my life.  It may give me more standing, more comfort, more empowerment, but it certainly didn’t come with any guarantee of happiness.

The change I needed wasn’t external, it was internal.  I had to learn to engage my pain and shame, had to learn to change the way that I approached the world.   I saw, quite clearly, that the ultimate tranny surgery was pulling the stick out of your own ass.

I did that work, but ran up against the “Guy-In-A-Dress Line” that place where the best you can ever really hope to be is bounded by your birth sex, by a body that clearly went through puberty as a male.   That line is the powerful, the one that researchers come up against when they ponder how much gender can really change.

Having been an outsider since I was a kid, I knew the alternative.  People would say things like “I see your gender as Callan.”   That was an acknowledgement of my bold, individualistic approach to the world, of the truth that I walked through walls that constrained other people, but I knew that Callan wasn’t a gender.

I know how to be a weird iconoclast (shout out to Stu Rasmussen!), but I also know that approach doesn’t empower me to come from my feminine heart.

It was impossible to walk through the world without experiencing those moments that the sex of my body didn’t surface sometime, with people assigning me as a man-in-a-dress.    This left me feeling unsafe when making the choices of a woman, knowing that the expectations around woman wouldn’t hold.

I’m a femme lesbian woman and that means I would be queer even if I was assigned as female at birth.  That makes me double queer.   My sister reminds me that my body was never slight, never easily femaled.

My challenge has been solving a problem like Callan.  I used the best tools I had to do that, and as someone who leads with their brain, first experiences the world through sound, and has the bent of a theologian, I thought about the stories that surrounded my own nature.

The problem is that I need to make a new chapter in my life, have needed that for quite some time now.  I need a new public persona, a new social identity with which to engage the world.

For me, though, that guy in a dress line gets to me.   I know that truth has to be at the core of everything I do, especially after spending so many years examining the question of transgender and deceit.

While I admire many transwomen who have approached the world in a take charge, butch kind of way, that has never been the pattern of my heart.  I have never, ever been cocky enough to make that strategy work for me.    That also means that I have never been butch enough to find a femme who wants to invest in me.

The hardest thing about solving a problem like Callan has always been having to do it alone.   There are no books, no coaches, no real supports that I have been able to find that are useful.   It’s lovely that I can support others on their journey with notes from my travels and by reflecting what they manifest, but that doesn’t move me forward.

For people who see me as a guy-in-a-dress, a “man plus” as one therapist called it, they can’t imagine why I would want more or different.  I seem to know how to do the whole quirky guy thing so well, and anything else seems impossible.

I know enough transwomen who have bodies shaped like mine to ever imagine that just hormonal and genital intervention will solve everything.  Hell, at my age and with my body, I can’t even wear the lovely leather shoes I have collected.

How do you solve a problem like Maria?   How do you have some sort of canned procedure that turns people who know that they are trans and who are soaked in so much pain that they will look for any hope that they can move beyond into happy, healthy, well integrated people still living in deeply binary world?

I have no idea.

I do know how to claim yourself, how to get more at peace with who you are, to find your own strengths.

Coming out from behind your armour, though, being vulnerable, open and free in the midst of other people, well, that is quite a challenge.  When you keep getting reduced to the gendered expectations of others in a way that feels erasing and even abusive, you learn to stay guarded.

I need to open to the world.  I have some things to say.  If I have no next chapter, well, no next chapter.

And that is a problem.

Work Of Caring

The work of caring is the work of playing the role that those you love need you to play in their lives.

People have the answers within them, answers you need to hear and play back in a way that reveals twists and encourages clarity.   Only their own solutions will work for them, no matter how much you are sure you have the right approach.

Starting by listening closely you merge your character and knowledge with their needs. They can’t listen to you if they don’t believe you are listening to them, can’t take on board what they don’t find respectful.   Everyone heals in their own time and their own way, even you.

The only way to encourage the loving best in them while helping them see the fearing worst they need to move beyond in them is by mirroring all of them.

The core of caring is making others them a priority in the space you commit to them.  Caring requires taking an active role of service to be in the moment with another person, as any good mom will tell you.

You can’t give more than what you have inside of you to give, can only be who you are.   Caring demands, though, that you shape your expression in a way that serves those you care for, playing a role that they need.

Yes.  Caring is just that hard.

Personality, Character

If the best we can get from other people is having them see transpeople as courageous and sick or having them see us as perverted and sick, that’s not much of a choice.

The slug line on the Rolloff’s show Little People Big World used to be “We want people to know that we can do everything other people do, just in our own way.”

Jeremy and Zach are twins, though people often don’t understand because Zach is little and Jeremy isn’t.

Jeremy married last year and Zach followed this year.   Jeremy reciprocated in being the best man at his brother’s wedding.   He had to follow in the tradition of  a great speech.   He said something like:

I’m the taller one, but I always looked up to you.

I saw the commitment and drive it took you to do things I took for granted, like playing soccer. Kids would mock you, you had to work much harder than the rest of us, but you kept working at it and became a good soccer player and a great coach.

You are picky about the commitments you make because you know how much they will cost, but I have seen that you are amazing at whatever you commit to.

Today you fully and lovingly commit to your wife and family, so I absolutely know you will be an amazing husband and father.

This is an ally, someone who knows that it isn’t  about being sick and courageous or about being sick and broken, it is about being different and human.

Zach’s wedding to Tori was special because Zach is special and Tori is special because she sees past his physical body to what is inside of Zach.

 I’ve finally recognized my body for what it is: a personality-delivery system, designed expressly to carry my character from place to place, now and in the years to come.
— Anna Quindlen, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

The amazing thing about outsiders is how they have had to focus on their personality and character rather than taking things for granted.

Jeremy really, really gets that, even as he helps his brother buy his first suit.

If we value ease and sameness, we see people not like us as broken and separate, as courageous beyond our understanding or just as weird and offputting

If we value character and personality, we see people not like us as someone who has different gifts that we can share.

Different people are human, just doing things in their own way.   Simple lesson.

Living Outside

I can’t imagine being who I am and not being an outsider.

My experience is of a world seen from the margins.   I have always been on the edge, looking for patterns, trying to understand.

Living life up close was always problematic for me.  I just didn’t have the levels of latent inhibition that allowed emotional bumps and bangs to slough off.  I knew from a very early age that only context could save me.

For people who want to be insiders, who crave being insiders, who need to be insiders, the ideas that anyone would resist being an insider is just beyond comprehension.   Doesn’t everyone want to be at the centre, be part of the action, be an insider?

I learned to be an outsider very early.  When I finally got in social spaces, I saw the cost of being an insider, the price of being one of the gang.  You had to want it, want to assimilate.

I needed to stand alone because I knew what I was going home to.   As the lovely Kiki DuRane (an outsider if ever there was one) reminds us, “Don’t get too comfortable!”   When we get too comfortable, we let down our guard, and that means losing ourselves because you are subject to the demands and hurts that most people inside don’t feel anymore.

Outsiders know that we need defenses, need some space between us and the crowd.  We need our isolation, be that physical, mental or emotional.   That isolation protects us, keeps us safe, and cherishes what we hold most dear, our hard won identity.

Insiders find comfort in fitting, being one of the crowd.  Outsiders find comfort in standing a bit apart, in being with ourselves.

The primary duality for humans is wild/tame.   How much do we want to be tame, to assimilate, be connected to others, follow the rules, be valued for how we meld and how much do we want to be wild, to claim individuality, to be bold and rugged, engaging the world on our own terms and in our own way?

No human is one or the other, of course.   We all need both community and creativity, both support and separation.

No insider wants to just be erased, denied having their own unique identity, and no outsider wants to just be totally isolated, not having the connection they need with other people.  Outsider/Insider isn’t a binary, either/or thing, rather it is a fluid duality, one we find balance in everyday, trying to make the right blend.

I can’t imagine being who I am and not being an outsider.

My biggest challenge, though, is how hard it is to explain that need to insiders.  While they value what I can offer when I climb inside their world, when I come inside with them, it is hard for them to get their head around why seeing the world as an outsider has benefits.

It is our uniqueness that offers the most powerful gifts we can share with the world.   In a franchise based world where compliance with operating rules is valued, this is hard to explain.   Why would we want someone who doesn’t fit what we expect?

Through the years, I have always offered a different view.  I take people on little journeys of perspective, allowing them to see what is so familiar to them that they have created a rut in a new and powerful way.   This is how I break loops, not by trying to impose some standard but by letting people see past their habits to solutions that are already inside of them.

Yet, if all your life you have dreamed of being an insider, why the hell would you want to listen to an outsider?   Shouldn’t you be looking for people who you want to be, who you want to be friends with, who already model your dreams?

We outsiders don’t try and model our dreams, working to fit ourselves to expectations.   Instead, we remodel our dreams, working to fit our expectations to what is.

If you want to be new, innovative, creative, out of the box, groundbreaking, and powerful, following the old rules will never get you there.  You need to break the rules and breaking the rules means harnessing your own outsider power.

The problem I have, though, is that I need some insider power.  I need connection.

Still, I can’t imagine being who I am and not being an outsider.

When I go to insiders to talk about my struggles, they just can’t imagine why I hold on so tightly to my outsider identity.  They like being one of the gang, they hold onto that identity, and I am smart, so why can’t I do the same thing?

To be who I am, with my trans heart, my big brain, my Aspergers by training, and all the rest and to be an insider has always felt like a way to be erased and diminished.   I don’t speak for letting people become normative, in the mainstream, rather I speak for embracing the normal range of humanity, a big bell curve where no one is precisely in the middle.

I can’t imagine being who I am and not being an outsider.

But  I can’t imagine being an outsider giving me all I need.   And I can’t imagine how to offer my outsider gifts to insiders who have no idea that they need them, nor what they cost to gain.

We outsiders, you see, aren’t just failed insiders.

Many of us just can’t imagine being who we are and not being an outsider.

 

Artifice As Authenticity

Which is more true: facts or art?

Facts bring a kind of shotgun approach to truth, observations of details or moments without context.

The minute we try to craft facts into a story we are required to apply our own biases, deciding which to include, which to omit, and how to link them with applied context.   The basis for our report may be factual, but the construction of it must always be subject to the limits of our observations, to our values and our assumptions.

Art brings a cannonball approach to truth, the symbolic representation of our rounded observations.   In art, the context is always an attempt to share a vision, to capture our sense of the world in a way that others can glimpse it.

Facts hold bits of observed truth while art holds our acquired wisdom in the best way that we can communicate it, a wider, panoramic view which looks deeper and longer.

As humans, we construct our expression in the world as art, a collage of what we value, from ethnic traditions to cosmic visions.  We work to show what is inside of us on the outside of us, mixing inner & outer ease & expression (1994).

The one thing I want to say to you about transgender people, about homosexual people, or any “queer” person is simple: They are trying to find a way to live out the truth of their lives, the calling of their hearts. (1997)

Are humans best defined by the details of their history & biology, or are they best expressed by their choices of identification, action and expression?   Are they best understood by looking at the facts or at their own creation of their life, their own art?

For me, the clothing I wear that reveal me as visibly trans are vestments, garments that reveal my connection to God.  Like any clerical garb, they mark me as someone who has taken up the calling, choosing to serve my God in the world.

Every trans expression is the triumph of inner knowledge over banality.  We claim our own knowledge and beauty over the standard, routine, issued drab uniforms that just allow us to disappear.

There is an old trope that says the human body has a comparatively small value when reduced to chemical components.  More modern analyses value the highest level components of the body rather than the lowest reduction, the price of organs, sophisticated compounds and so on.   The resulting number is much, much larger, because the value isn’t in our elements but in the way we put them together.

Artists understand that value.   It may take the same amount of paint and materials to make a decorative painting as it takes to make a masterpiece, but the masterpiece is much more valuable.   A mediocre dinner may use the same ingredients as a sublime one, but the memory of the sublime dinner will last, resonating in our experience.   The art we create is how we turn elements into magic.

For those who want to reduce humans to their lowest common components, their facts, the real value in human lives is discounted, tossed out.

Which is more true, facts or art?   Are we at best just our raw materials, points of measurement, or are we synergistic, creating ourselves in a way that is much more than the value of our parts?

The truth in artifice is the wisdom, intelligence, and skill that we use to add value to the off the shelf issued bits of a life.  It is how we create elegance and artistry by using what we learned from trial and failure to create the divine.

I have faced those who want to reduce other people so much that they remove the power from them in an attempt to remove their magic.

Those people, though, miss the way that humans have moved beyond mud and muck to create art, art that carries with it the spark of human brilliance.

Artifice often reveals powerful truth that simple listings of facts just conceal.