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December 7, 2010

To say that the poor are not otherwise because they cannot be or are prevented is to say that they would be were the tables turned. If they were in our place, they would be us, they would not be them. Poor people are different, they are not like us (though they are in other respects, just not with us as we are with them). There is no need to begrudge them, much less to make them or help them be like us. As far as we’re concerned, they are generous toward us insofar as we are rich. After all, they could with relative ease take over everything we’ve parceled-off parts of our lives for. If anything our anger, awkwardness, distancing and simplification ought to be directed at ourselves. These sentiments allow us to ignore that it is better to give than to receive. We do not trust that in their position we could rely on those who could to help, or negotiate with them to fulfill some of our desires. We do not believe in ourselves. That is why we do not do what we can. What we can do is to renounce othering ourselves, atomisation and isolation; to embrace the alterior, other selves, belonging, meaning, mutual inclusion and so on.

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