The Visionist sees far and wide. He sees, but he himself is invisible. Nobody sees him. Of course, it is perfectly logical that an outsider would be invisible. One of the books that deeply shaped my early view of the social world, was Invisible Man, by Ralph Waldo Ellison. I was particularly fascinated by African American writers during my college years and their stuggle with their identity in America. I will save for another time, going into my fascination with issues of race. Let's just say that I loved and love jazz, and my interest was one of understanding Black soul.
Jews and Blacks are the only peoples in the world who include the experience of slavery as part of their history and cultural baggage and who celebrate their liberation from slavery. They have that in common. There are Black Strassers. I wrote a term paper for my college freshman English class on James Baldwin. African-American writers, particularly of that era, saw themselves as alienated outsiders, and Ellison took that idea to the extreme by stating the sense that nobody saw the character in his book, and by the way, the only book he ever wrote. I was fortunate to meet and hear Ralph Ellison while I was a student at Columbia University. I have a signed copy of Invisible Man, but was disappointed when I got home and found he had dedicated it to "Daniel Stern."
In any event, the Visionist is like Superman: he has x-ray vision and can see through walls, but nobody notices the Invisible Man; they see right through him without noticing him. As Ellison notes, this actually has some advantages. Being invisible allows one to be stealthy. A seeming weakness is thereby transformed into a strength. How many of us wish we could be a "fly on the wall" during great events? There is less risk in not being noticed. Many great writers are like this. They observe enormous social or political movements, Tectonic shifts in the world that nobody else is noticing, but they can do it without fanfare. It is only when he writes his observations down that he become visible. The Visionist does not need to be a celebrity, does not seek notoriety. He wishes, however, to be an advisor, a wise man, an insider, someone behind the scenes. He wants to help humanity and believes he knows how to do it. But he himself cannot do it. He needs to find that Great Man or Woman whom he can help to do it. He needs to convince others of his credibility, of his powers of observation, of the value of his ideas, of his vision.
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