I just got home from three days in Ann Arbor with my close friend, Ben Sayler. Spending time with Ben always sends my head spinning; Ben's lens on the world is different than mine, and just as carefully curated.
I'm so thankful to have friends like Ben - people who I love, who can teach me new things.
Ben has taught me to think about the hard, physical, concrete limits on material wealth in this world. He's taught me to think about power structures and privilege. He's encourage me to ask questions: "In our world, who are the winners? Who are the losers? Why is that the case? How was the system designed? What was it designed to promote? What was it designed to protect?". He's taught me that Capitalism is not the only economic system that makes room for a market, for the open sharing and trading of specialized goods, services, and ideas. And he's warned me: this world cannot stand. The status quo is not an option. Our choice is not whether to change. Our choice is how we will change.
Far from cultivating guilt or anger or condescension, Ben's lens illuminates my world, they help me see more clearly, more deeply; they help me to more fully understand my country and my state and my city.
I listened to public radio on the way back home, and I felt like I was wearing Ben's brain - I heard every story through his lens. Or rather, I heard it through the off-brand version of his lens that I managed t cobble together during 3 days of conversation.
Seeing through someone else's experience is a bizarre and wonderful experience; I highly recommend it.