Telos?

Originally listed as “Purpose” on this site, before I gave in to pragmatic concerns & wrote something more conventional to put there instead.

Now more than ever, I know where I stand and what I am fighting for. Yet I still balk at the prospect of pinning it down here in the context of what I can admit is little more than an online CV.

A previous incarnation of this site contained a “meta” page in which I reflected upon the tension between fragmentary self-knowledge and the public performance of a coherent identity. Does making a personal website like this always entail self-commodification and alienation? Or is there a dialectic of self-creation we can attempt to salvage in this task?

In the vein of Mrs. Who from Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, rather than finding my own words, perhaps it will suffice simply to gesture toward the words of others—the people through whose writings I began to locate myself, even without knowing what I was looking for. Here are a few of them, by order of appearance:

  • Italo Calvino
  • James Baldwin
  • Stuart Hall
  • Laboria Cuboniks
  • Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Octavia Butler
  • Leslie Feinberg
  • Audre Lorde

These names, their referents all either dead or fictional, are among the living images I call upon as I seek to embody a future of my own choosing. “The nature of the utopia I am trying to describe is such that if it is to come, it must exist already,” says Le Guin. “Perhaps while we speak it is rising, scattered,” writes Calvino of the same place. Utopia means “nowhere,” and sometimes I’ve thought that maybe the self I have been looking for is “no one.” But if another world is possible, maybe I am too.