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Sacrifice

Our society was built upon two stories of sacrifices that may or may never happened millenias ago. Whether they were real or not doesn't matter: the stories still echo through the ages. They were embedded so deep in our collective memories and reflected in our value systems.

The first one is Cain and Abel’s—in which Our Father determined that settlers would inherit the earth and deplete all of its bounties.

The second is Abraham’s—in which a father almost abandoned the life of his most beloved son for an enigmatic vision that gave birth to endless dispute on individual morality vis-à-vis compliance with the law.

The most interesting part about these sacrifices was, for me, not about the selfless submission, or the act of sacrifice itself. It is interesting for me because both stories involved some sort of rivalry—sibling rivalry in these two cases. Cain is competing with Abel for God's acceptance, while descendants of both Ismail and Ishak were competing about which son was Abraham about to sacrifice—that resulted in meaningless debates (and unending wars) between two great nations and their allies on earth—as if Abraham’s favoritism still matters in this time and age. Was Abraham a selfless father for (almost) giving the life of his own son for “the greater good” we would never know. In modern age, though, we would say he’s schizophrenic.

Which leads me to wonder if most forms of sacrifice were actually some kind of competition for attention—whether the attention is from The Higher Being or from other humans—or a competition to win The Great Reward. From Mayan to Aztec to Islamic cultures, we celebrate our sacrifices in flamboyant feasts. Or take those modern examples of sacrifice stories like Battle Royale or The Hunger Games. Though the tributes were not intentionally sacrificing themselves, both stories underline the massive amount of attention the winning tributes would garner.

I do believe that there are genuine acts ofgiving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy”—sincere, heroic sacrifices—abound. There are countless sacrifices made by unsung heroes for the sake of their dearest ones or some truly worthy causes. But I think that is exactly why the most heroic of these acts were never the stories of grand, dramatic sacrifices, but the unwritten little tales, ones that are often overlooked in the everyday life because they seem too trivial, too insignificant to be recorded in mythology or history… Or ones that happen in darkness, silence, or any place without internet connection. The Great Reward that these “insignificant heroes” would reap for their sacrifices? Nothing but a sincere gratitude (which could be spoken directly to them or simply felt and understood by them) and a warm, fuzzy feeling within. Which is another way to say, everything that is worthy, everything that really matters.

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Double personality is so 2000. Mobil jemputan warna hijau telor asin Brebes yang hobinya kebut-kebutan di Kalimalang sambil menggeber Joy Division. Kretek, kopi, dan gorengan bersama Derrida di taman kota. Es krim rasa tape dan gulali rasa nangka. Situationist International. Risoles isi daging rusa asap. Lingkar samsara Sisifus. Tanda seru. Selamatkan seni dan desain dari diri mereka sendiri. Petir. Piknik antar peradaban. Fluxus yang tersumbat, gerak yang terhambat. Kembang api. Interupsi. Negasi. Saya percaya pada kekuatan dialog dan pendidikan menengah, inisiasi remaja menuju masyarakat. Narasi besar telah runtuh. Mari nyanyikan epik kita sendiri. Seorang teman berkata, yang bisa menggambarkan saya adalah sebuah wadah yang ke dalamnya terus menerus dilemparkan apa saja oleh siapa saja. Semoga wadah itu tak ada dasarnya, tak akan penuh ataupun tumpah isinya. Semoga wadah itu tetap ada, terus membendung keriuhan di dalamnya. Semoga keriuhan itu tak mereda, dan semoga semua manusia tak berhenti bertanya.

Aidil Akbar Latief
@idlelatief