100 More Years of Solitude

Jose Vilson 1 Comment

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been reading 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez (great book, just takes some getting used to), and the central theme of the book is the idea that life simply works in cycles: it doesn’t just move forward, but plays hopscotch with its past.

While that may not seem like a detriment in the general sense, the characters might have had a better chance of preventing the tragedies that occur in their lives if they actually took the time to learn the lessons form the past. As this town of Macondo changes, the family Buendía develops a pattern of misfortunes that only give credence to the last one. The matriarch of the family, Úrsula, observes that the many characters in in her family are really doppelgangers of their ancestors. (Won’t spoil the rest for you, really. Just go read it.)

It made me wonder how the past entraps us as a society, especially in light of the recent Virginia Tech tragedy. Unfortunately, not only did the killer fit the “suicidal and ostracized loner” profile, he also laid his plans out for the media to see. I have to ask, when will we come to a consensus on the way to make sure these events don’t happen? Unfortunately, the shock factor has died amongst some of this country’s citizens for various reasons, and it will only continue to dissipate …

Not only do I see this as a security issue, but also student development issue. If, for instance, institutions of (any level of) learning took a hard look at themselves and decided to take preventive measures against these incidents from happening, we would most likely see a change for the better in the student population as a whole, not just those who are at risk for passive-aggressive behaviors.

More importantly, though, those of us who aren’t part of the infrastructure of these institution (as in people like you and me) need to become aware of ways to prevent our loved ones from becoming a Cho Seung-Hui or one of the Columbine shooters. Unfortunately, the hateful speech made against Cho spurs on the very violence and isolation that begot this incident to begin with.

Somewhere, Márquez must be observing us the way he observes Macondo

jose, who wishes the families of the tragedies his deepest condolences …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

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