October 29. A long train ride.

The next morning I take the train to Diyarbakir. It will take the whole day.

A kid is looking suspicious at my bag. So I take it with me to the toilet, making up some vague excuse to save face. The child is only fifteen and I am obviously misinterpreting his dark staring eyes. This is not a thief. Later he lies down on the overhead luggage rack and sleeps like a baby.

An old toothless man from Diyarbakir, wrapping himself in his old overcoat as he sleeps on his seat looks at me, smiling. The train moves very slow, I estimate the average speed to be 30 km/h.

That is slow enough for a thought about taking another person seriously. Is there any objective criterion we could figure out for this virtue of human understanding? We can try and listen without bias to everything someone has to say. Would that be enough? I should be able to think about this, after long years in philosphy, but I am incompetent. My thinking apparatus is jammed, and the linguistic rendering apparatus is clogged. I can only tell you my raw intuition. There has to be a nonlinear power relation that goes back and forth, entangled, rumpled, intimately dependent. So that implies there must be weakness or affection involved on both sides. You can only take a person seriously if you are affected by what she says, no matter how well you understand her.

Published by

Kamiel Choi

Dutch philosopher and poet, sometimes sharing thoughts on the internet.

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