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The Museum of Vestigial Desire

The Trespasser

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for Amitesh Srivastav and Celeste Regal

When an idea oversteps the terrain that it has been assigned to, it acquires the garb of being a trespasser. Ideas trespass when they uncover surprising connections. Connections they were not otherwise related to it in any direct or indirect way. Such connections cannot be predicted. They emerge out of the process of exploring something else. This accidental discovery is like an eruption. Eruptions are not intended and still they happen. The factors that cause an eruption to happen can only be understood in hindsight. In hindsight, the field presents itself to us and all the information is apparent. The hidden information actually disappear just like unheard stories. These cannot be recovered.

The idea of a trespass comes from an imagination of property and borders. Borders do not really exist. They are a synthetic, civilisational construct. But even if they are imposed on us in such a synthetic way, they have become real enough for us to not be able to ignore them. We cannot intervene in a situation saying that borders are fictitious and so we ought not to believe that they exist. We have to accept that whatever be their genesis, now they are an important part of the lens through which we view the world.

In this environment, the trespasser is an absolute. Borders, no matter how unconvincing they might be as a fiction are currently very real. This absolute nature of the trespasser makes it a label that can be applied easily. The word is actually difficult to apply so loosely and is a part of the identity and the character of the actor. There is a character who is a trespasser and there are many characters who are not. There are many who actually feel guilty the moment they violate a border of some kind. The trespasser never feels guilty. And that is a sign for knowing whether you are a trespasser or not. Do you feel guilty or not?

And if you are a trespasser, then recognise that fact and accept it. You will never belong anywhere. You will only be pleased when you are occupying somebody else's property. You will never have your own domain and you will always occupy somebody else's domain.

Trespassers are not tricksters. They do not have any objective. They are not striving for their survival. In all matters of social operation, they may behave in any way that seems strategic to them. Tricksters on the other hand are out to get their way. They don't want to feel that they are missing out. They need to be ahead of the pack - be the one who survives rather than the one who perishes.

To understand trespassers take away the agency that is normally associated with them. The refugee is a trespasser without agency. The wilful trespasser has somehow run out of favour and today we are much more likely to want to maintain the status quo by accepting borders to be sacrosanct and by favouring those who buy into this fantasy.

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