Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The title of this blog is an adaptation of the title of my favorite book, David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas. While the novel did not inspire me to undertake my current journey, its final words succinctly encapsulate the worldview which has led me to this place. As one chapter of my life has recently ended, and another is just beginning, I feel it appropriate to begin this journal with Mitchell's ending...

Upon my return to San Francisco, I shall pledge myself to the Abolitionist cause, because I owe my life to a self-freed slave, and because I must begin somewhere.

I hear my father-in-law's response. "Oho, fine, Whiggish sentiments, Adam. But don't tell me about justice! Ride to Tennessee on an ass and convince the red-necks that they are merely white-washed negroes & their negroes are black-washed Whites! Sail to the Old World, tell 'em their imperial slaves' rights are as inalienable as the Queen of Belgium's! Oh, you'll grow hoarse, poor and grey in caucuses! You'll be spat on, shot at, lynched, pacified with medals, spurned by backwoodsmen! Crucified! Naive, dreaming Adam. He who would do battle with the many-headed hydra of human nature must pay a world of pain and his family must pay it along with him! And only as you gasp your dying breath shall you understand, your life amounted to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean!"

Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?