He hated the society that forced him into such an equivocal position. He hated civilization. Once in a moment of bitterness he said in Harlem, "Civilization is rotten." And the more he traveled and knew of it, the more he felt the truth of that bitter outburst.
He hated civilization because its bitter attitude toward the colored man was such as to rob him of his warm instincts and make him inhuman. Under it the thinking colored man could not function normally like his white brother, responsive and reacting spontaneously to the emotions of pleasure of pain, joy or sorrow, kindness and hardness, charity, anger, and forgiveness. Only within the confines of his own world of color could he be his true self. But so soon as he entered the great white world, where of necessity he must work and roam and breathe the larger air to live, that entire world, high, low, middle, unclassed, all conspired to make him painfully conscious of color and race.
The sentiment of patriotism was not one of Ray's possessions, perhaps because he was a child of deracinated ancestry. To him it was a poisonous seed that had, of course, been planted in his child's mind, but happily, not having any traditional soil to nourish it, it had died out with other weeds off the curricula of education in the light of mature thought.
It seemed a most unnatural thing to him for a man to love a nation, a swarming hive of human beings bartering, competing, exploiting, lying, cheating, battling, suppressing and killing themselves, possessing, too, the faculty to organize their villainous rivalries into an organized system for plundering weaker peoples.
Man loves individuals. Man loves things. Man loves places. And the vagabond lover of life finds individuals and things to love in many places and not in any one nation. Man loves places and no place, for the earth, like a beautiful wanton, puts on a dress to fascinate him wherever he may go. A patriot loves not his nation, but the spiritual meannesses of his life of which he has created a frontier wall to hide the beauty of other horizons.
Some dreams tell us what we wish to believe. Some dreams tell us what we fear. Some dreams are of what we know though we may not know we knew it. The rarest dream is the dream that tells us what we did not know.
It's only by being shameless about risking the obvious that we happen into the vicinity of the transformative.