Report from Ice Station Zebra

No, I’m not writing from some geographic location near the North or South Pole. It’s more of a place in time, my own personal Zulu time, as I drift farther and farther away from the equator of human warmth toward the eventual pole of my loneliness.

This is precisely the kind of blog post I don’t like writing. I’ve said it before: a writer should only write what he would like to read if it existed. I don’t like to read blog posts on what people love or hate. How can anyone relate to what someone else loves or hates? There is no rationale to lead one from his current emotional state to someone else’s state of love or hate. There is no justification for love or hate. It’s just someone’s reaction to something else. Idiosyncratic.

Are you still with me here?

Ok, so a few years after I had immigrated to Israel, my new country and I were in the midst of mutual adoption, and I was immersed in the ambience and culture of this modern yet ancient land, I discovered how much I loved what my new-found countrymen loved but I couldn’t hate what they hated. Maybe, if I had been born here and had experienced what they had experienced, I’d have been more like them, I’d have hated what they hate. Imagine the Wild West and the familiar cliché, “the only good Indian is a … Indian” transposed to the Middle East, and you have the environment in which I found myself. That’s not to say that everyone born in this country thinks that way.

What do I love besides the obvious (my wife, kids, grandkids, parents, and dogs)? I love the sunlight and the gentle summers and winters, but I hate the gritty sandstorms that sometimes come in from the deserts.

I love the generosity of spirit, courage, and physical beauty here that some people seem to take for granted, but I hate the lack of empathy of far too many people for others different from them.

I love that we have a democratic government but hate that many of us don’t have a democratic spirit, a spirit which values democracy above winning an election, a spirit that accepts the rule of the majority but also protects the rights of minorities, that codifies those rights in a written constitution for all to see, to know, in which to feel safe.

I love the purity of our arms, our self-defense, not that God is on our side but that we are doing the right thing, but I hate that some soldiers use unnecessary force with noncombatants or combatants who have surrendered their weapons and no longer pose a threat.

I love our genius and the intelligent conversations so common here, but I hate that many intelligent people attempt to hide what they don’t know. What I know is of less value to me than what I don’t know. That’s what impels me forward to carve out new knowledge from this vast block of ignorance. That’s right. Knowledge is created by running head first into what we don’t know.

Most of all, I love love but I hate hate.

Mike Stone

Raanana Israel


Filed under & Philosophy, Essays, Essays, Dilemmas, & Philosophy, Journals, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Report from Ice Station Zebra

  1. Beautifully written dad. I share every sentiment that you wrote.

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