As long as I’ve had any understanding of Canadian history and politics, I’ve also believed — almost reflexively — that “the Two Solitudes” is a natural and essential feature of Canadian society.
And why not? From grade school history class to the front pages of the national media, everywhere we’re told, French and English Canadians are essentially different and disinterested in each other.
Thanks to my discovery of Translating the printemps érable, it dawned on me that there is nothing natural or essential about the Two Solitudes.
The vast majority of humans everywhere are instinctively curious about each other, will communicate when they can, and are almost always inclined to seek mutual understanding. It is, in fact, far more unnatural for people to live side-by-side and to ignore each other.
Of course, we humans can and do become divided, but conflict isn’t ever sparked by mutual indifference and, even in the face of brutal war, the human tendency for mutual recognition always intervenes. For this reason, states and warlords go to tremendous lengths to demonize the enemy and dehumanize their own supporters because most humans are otherwise disinclined to visit horrors on other humans.
From this perspective, it now seems obvious to me that there is nothing natural about the Two Solitudes and that it is a pseudo-fact manufactured and perpetuated to divide Canadians.
If there is one constant in human history it is this: the tiny minority of people who control most of the wealth and power will always work hard to divide the people whose wealth they’re plundering because it is these divisions that allow the minority to plunder the wealth and to consolidate its power.
If you want a more complete picture of the protests in Quebec, please check out Translating the printemps érable. Also, search #GGI and #casseroles on Twitter.