It made me wonder. “Slay Cancer with dragons”, were the words projected at Conference Hall 2 inside the UN Headquarters towards the end of Nexus 2014 Global Youth Summit. Jesse was coming off the stage after telling us the story behind his creation of the Tyler Robinson Foundation (http://tylerrobinsonfoundation.com). It was dedicated to his brother, Tyler, who passed away at a very young age from Cancer.
It made me wonder twice. The fact is that Tyler would not be able to survive his illness. That is a biological fact proven by microscopes, textbooks, genetics, syringes and sterile instruments. Death is a natural and recurring occurrence where deterrence is not possible despite the abhorrence of torrents of humans who naturally and recurringly kneel in reverence and adherence to the conformance of “normal” life. In other words, we have grown to know death as an insult to that which is deepest inside of us. A tragical curse we may never rid ourselves of and which we must try to escape from or battle (to the death?).
I wonder again. There seems to be a moral campaign against genetically-modified organisms (the infamous GMO’s). Their heinous crime: not being natural. Let us entertain this assumption and accept it for argument’s sake. The word “natural” has then taken on positive social meanings, or metaphorically gained light. As we know, light casts shadow, and the brighter the light the bigger the shadow becomes. In my opinion, “natural” has gained quite a strong illumination, and thus has created an abominable and significant shadow in its contrary we must all fear, combat, hate, and eliminate. In this case, the shadow is “unnatural”. If this is so, anything that is deemed “unnatural” is considered the enemy. No pity shall be shown. Victory shall be obtained and conquest of our “unnatural” enemy must be accomplished.
Let us wonder together. If this is our value system, conscious or unconscious, haven’t we fooled ourselves? Haven’t we selectively and manichaeistically chosen who is my friend and who is my foe? Re-enter Cancer and death. Are they not natural natural and recurring occurrences where deterrence is not possible despite the abhorrence of torrents of humans who naturally and recurringly kneel in reverence and adherence to the conformance of “normal” life? Let me say this in another way. Is death not part of the life we love so much? Is Cancer not an element of the “natural” world? I believe that indeed a world where people do not die is quite an unnatural place to inhabit. Why must we despise death?
Jesse made me wonder. What I love about him is that he is perfectly human and assumes himself as one. Nothing more, nothing less. A human being capable of the brightest and the darkest, and of course, victim to the constant contradictions of daily thought.
He made me wonder over and over. In the one hand he champions the explicit vanquishment of a perfectly natural disease. He rallies and recruits an army for a battle. In my book, and some others as well, this behavior requires a definition of good and evil, love and hate. And in this sense, he assumes himself as nothing more than, and nothing less than an excellent member of humanity. “Slay Cancer with dragons”, which to me he really meant, “Eliminate a ‘bad’ thing for love”.
The final wonder. Despite his discourse, despite his language, despite what seems to be a textbook and predictable human expression, Jesse makes me wonder one last time. The death of his brother did not bring hate. It did not. It would’ve been perfectly human for anger to emanate from Tyler’s passing and Cancer would be the sworn enemy. That would’ve fit perfectly in the binary code. It would’ve been natural. But he goes somewhere else, he goes beyond. Tyler’s death emanates love and hope, rather than grief and despair. Instead of closing himself (natural), he opens himself (unnatural) and creates a foundation for families experiencing Cancer.
I hope I made you wonder. Is “natural” good and “unnatural” bad? It is a question for you to answer only to yourself. Your value system, your cosmovision is neither right nor wrong. It simply is, just like Jesse’s.
If I can take something away from Nexus, it is that wondering is indeed a beautiful experience. I saw a human being being the most human being one being could ever humanly be while being absolutely beyond human being. Jesse Robinson embraced his humanity and abandoned it to go somewhere beyond it. He was there but he wasn’t there. His work and his life is a complete contradiction. But, I see absolutely nothing wrong in that.
What a wonderful contradictory human non-human existence.