By Patrick Metzger
I grew up in America. I am 28 years old. I was born in 1987 in Macon, Georgia. I lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee for about 15 years (from around 1991 to 2006). I’ve lived in New York for the past 10 years (Yonkers, then New York City, then Beacon).
I was born with white skin. Both sides of my family (Scotch-Irish-Dutch-French-German) have lived in America for hundreds of years. I am a cisgendered male. My family was pretty much upper-middle class while I was growing up. Given the exponential curve of economic inequality, we were simultaneously very lucky and also not rich. My parents are both psychologists (both have had various careers that involved therapy, research, and teaching). They divorced when I was a kid.
I went to public elementary school on Signal Mountain in Tennessee. For middle and high school, I went to a public magnet school near downtown Chattanooga called Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences.
I have never been a member of a church. I grew up in a household that encouraged open discussion of spirituality, but with no particular religious practice (until my teenage years when my father converted to Judaism and shabbat became a regular part of our lives). I have a profound wonder for mystical and metaphysical matters. I tend to describe myself as a student of the Tao. I have spent a great deal of time contemplating the nature of existence with friends, books, and professors with backgrounds ranging from Taoism to Baha’ii faith to Judaism to many variations of Christianity (particularly Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Mennonite, Catholic, and Quaker) to many variations of Buddhism (particularly Mahayana, particularly Zen/Ch’an).
In these writings, I intend to be contemplative, critical, and curious. In anything humans create, we tend to restrain ourselves to some degree. This process of filtering is part of what gives us our sense of taste and style. But I will try not to hold back my perspective. This means occasionally touching on issues of power, issues of political or religious belief, issues that may be uncomfortable for some. I have no doubt that there will be points of disagreement between myself and you, dear reader, across these writings. In these cases, I hope to have an open, civil dialogue.
The pieces on this blog will explore a diverse set of subjects. While it may sometimes be disorienting to go from one post to another, I encourage you to seek the common threads that underlie the topics I’m discussing. In the end I am hoping this work will elicit some awareness of the interdependence of all things upon each other.