Perhaps we live in an age in which the question we must deal with first is, “Is it possible to practice Christ and not be poor?” Our age of self-sufficiency works well for those for whom it works well–the great tautology. For those whom it does not work that is their problem; not mine, not yours, just their problem.
Our world is the product of the self-portrait, a world where “I” am the subject of “my own” universe in which all is objectified (one need only login to MySpace, Facebook, or Twitter to understand this–the new technologies have turned everyone into an artist, and he can think of nothing better to paint than his own technological image).
In this world “human laziness makes people pigeonhole one another at first sight so they find nothing in common,” said Dostoyevsky’s Idiot.
This refusal is a renarration of self-identity as self-preservation–the preservation of a false self. We know as we are known, and if I know “you” within a specified category, then “my” identity remains securely fixed within “my” own mental construction. Until the real work of getting to know “the other,” “I” remain enclosed in the virtual realm of “my” own making.