As I walked down the hallway of the department of religion and sociology, my attention was caught by the writing on the wall. Words surrounding a caged bird. As I came closer, nothing made sense, except for a few scattered. So I stepped back and read what became an invitation to awaken oneself to the harshness of my narrow understandings and the seriousness of the problems faced by many. It is easy to point to a solution that cannot work under the circumstances of the person. It is quite hard to look for the opening latch to set that person free.
“Cages. Consider a birdcage. If you look very closely at just one wire in the cage, you cannot see the other wires. If your conception of what is before you is determined by this myopic focus, you could look at that one wire, up and down the length of it, and be unable to see why a bird would not just fly around the wire any time it wanted to go somewhere.
Furthermore, even if, one day at a time, you myopically inspected each wire, you still could not see why a bird would have trouble going past the wires to get anywhere. There is no physical property of any one wire, nothing that the closest scrutiny could discover, that will reveal how a bird could be inhibited or harmed by it except in the most accidental way. It is only when you step back, stop looking at the wires one by one, microscopically, and take a macroscopic view of the whole cage, that you can see why the bird does not go anywhere; and then you will see it in a moment. It will require no great subtlety of mental powers.
It is perfectly obvious that the bird is surrounded by a network of systematically related barriers, no one of which would be the least hindrance to its flight, but which, by their relations to each other, are as confining as the solid walls of a dungeon.” from Oppression by Marilyn Frye.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *