Ambivalence: Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu

It has long been a theory of mine that the myth of our lives is created in the reflection we see in the eyes of our loved ones and friends. It is through our trying to live up to the myth created around our lives by those who watch that we surpass the mundane.

Stowe Boyd (no relation that I know of) seems to feel it also:

Ambivalence: Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu: “Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu

There is a common expression in Xhosa (Zulu), I have read, umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu which means ‘a person is a person through other persons’. This is just as true for the nomad as it is for the villager, perhaps even more so, despite the distance and the time that holds us apart from others we know and love.”

“A person is a person through other persons”, you are forced to live up to the myth you create by living up to the myth that others create about you. It’s all so circular, you have to wonder…wander as a nomad, live as a villager…it’s still the reflection of your life that you see.

Just as it is the brightest lights that cast the darkest shadows, the strongest bonds are those linking travelers to the unmoving world, but they are loose ties, hardly felt, like the embrace of the Earth holding us, or the push of the wind at our backs as we move ahead in the night. We are defined by our circles, but for the traveler these are loose, flowing, light: not a box and a book, but instead a bedouin’s robe and a song or two, songs to be sung alone, or with others over the next rise. Travelers are never more themselves than then, sharing our innermost songs, singing the circles, telling our own tales. and then, moving on.

I can see I will need to keep track of what stories Stowe has to tell.

Thanks to Shelley Powers at Burningbird via The Magpie Nest

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