It’s four in the morning in Tel Aviv and I just woke up wondering what time it was in America and why I was suddenly ravenous. I had the headache you get when you’ve missed your coffee: you know how the body gets, the way it gets used to things. The body wants what it wants. And I was wondering why people who weren’t friends with the people I was friends with…. had decided that this meant they couldn’t be friends with me. Were they thinking or just responding to conditioning? Are there things only the body knows?
I spent most of the eleven hour flight from New York to Tel Aviv seated next to a Holocaust survivor with Alzheimer’s. She kept repeating, “I am the only survivor.” I looked at her nose and ears grown wide and bulbous with age, in a face that must once have been beautiful. Still splendid cheekbones, hair the color of summer sun. Her lost mother, father, brothers must have cherished her once. Who had decided, years ago, they couldn’t be friends with this person?
Is there a biological imperative to human tribalism? I don’t know. I may not be sure whether it’s day or night as I’m adjusting to this time zone, but I do know this: when a leader stokes hate in order to secure their own place in their tribe, much can be lost.
This is my first experience of being in a place, in this case Israel, where the models in fashion magazines have bodies with a tribal resemblance to mine. This experience is nice for me… but I am more than my body.
We are all more than our bodies.
I want to look at others with respect, compassion, and brotherly and sisterly love. I do not want anything else.