homeaboutarchivenewslettermembership!
aboutarchivemembership!
aboutarchivemembers!

The Discomfort of Self-Immolation

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 29, 2022

In the wake of climate activist Wynn Bruce setting himself on fire in front of the Supreme Court on Earth Day to protest political inaction on climate change, Jay Caspian Kang writes about the difficulty of figuring out how to think about self-immolation.

Self-immolation forces the witnesses, whether in person or through the news, to confront an intensity of conviction that goes well beyond what they may think is possible. In this way, self-immolators like Thich Quang Durc become almost inhuman, even holy. At the same time, the act establishes an entirely personal connection because the real question at hand isn’t really, “Why did he do that?” Rather, the self-immolator is asking you — with all the intimidation and self-righteousness a person can muster — “Why don’t you care even half as much as I do?”