One reason why I fell in love with philosophy in college was because it’s a safe place to be inconclusive. As human beings, we are very uncomfortable with the uncertain, which makes sense in a lot of ways. I don’t think it’s unreasonable that we need the comfort of a steady job, a long term lease on an apartment, a committed relationship, etc. What areunreasonable are the boxes where we file away difficult topics so that we can continue with our daily lives, ignoring issues we’d rather not confront. In her essay entitled “Sandwiched Dignity,” it is Jamie Odom’s inability to come to a pat conclusion about homelessness that makes her writing so powerful.
Ten years after an enlightening (but confusing) trip to learn about the homeless in fifth grade, Jamie went on an immersion trip in college that shook up her perspective and taught her that perhaps the homeless weren’t to blame for dropping out of their traditional lives. Jamie writes about how she and the other students did not know what to expect from the immersion, because the organizers withheld the agenda: