Friday, September 23, 2005

The Ugliness

We live in a World filled with ugliness. Yes, Nature brings its share of death and destruction to men. But most of it, we bring onto ourselves. We maim each other. Kill each other. We let each other starve, and live in misery.

And we wage wars.

That's when we deliberately plan to attack and murder thousands upon thousands of other people, for some insane reason. Defending your territory. Establish stability. Take the fight to 'them' before 'they' get a chance to attack 'us'. Pre-emptive war. Lebensraum. Changing lines on a map. Settling age-old scores, for dead people. "An eye for an eye". Why is it that excuses for wars are always so lame? Why has nobody, ever, come up with a good reason to start a war? The answer is simple. War is such an inhumane act, so despicable, so immoral, so indefensible, that no good reason can be found for waging one. Ever.

And what is it that we do? How do we deal with the hurt in the world? How do we do our best to prevent War? What action do we take in order to take on the ugliness, and to stop it? Nothing. We do practically nothing. At most, we might write a few articles, walk a few marches. Carry a couple of signs. Yell something for an hour or two. But for the most part, we actually, deliberately medicate ourselves, by only consuming controlled dosages of the horror. The mass media also tempers the dosage, just in case. "I need to get back to my life again", we'll mumble to ourselves, adding that it actually isn't us that are physically pulling the trigger. And if it is, then it is under orders. And those giving the orders? Well, the other side 'made' us do it. We had 'no choice'. And the grandmother of all related lies we stuff down our own throat: War is a necessary evil. With all of the suffering of other people, we close our eyes, and cover our ears and repeat over and over and over again that it really is not that bad. That we are not to blame. That people, fundamentally, are not bad. That the World is in fact mostly a good place. That everything is getting better by the day.

That it will be allright.

I awoke, briefly, from my personal self-induced slumber earlier today. I had been reading a book, and my daughter was playing cds on her cd player. One of them has a production of a children's play on it, and it features a wolf, among other creatures. My daughter switched tracks, and suddenly menacing wolf growls were emanating from the speakers. It startled her, and she quickly turned and ran to me, jumped into my lap and demanded "Daddy, keep me safe!" Instinctly, I wrapped my arms around her, closed my eyes, and whispered softly into her ear "Don't be afraid. It will be allright."

It was then that I had my moment of clarity. It was as if I had the briefest glimpse of the angst of other people. All the other people. A tiny drop of the collective hurt of man. And it was vast. And black. Bottomless. Blind. Mindless. And there was no relief in sight. How can anybody say that there is hope, when we are still today embarking upon wars in which hundreds of thousands of real people are maimed or slaughtered? Where children, just like my daughter, sit crying in the streets. Frightened. Alone. Abandoned. Or where tens of thousands die from something as simple as diarrhea every day? Where millions of human beings die from diseases that actually are no medical challenges anymore, and cures for them are already available. Pills sitting in warehouses, collecting dust.

Would you believe me if I told you of a ocean, on the one side of which, millions of people are starving to death, but on the other side, millions are literally eating themselves to death?

Of course you wouldn't. That would be preposterous. It would not make any sense. It would be insane. And when you had been confronted with actual proof of how grimly true things like these really are, you would react in the only way that our tiny, puny selves are able to: Be sad, maybe give some money, shake your head, blog some pathetic drivel about it, and then 'move on'. Because what good would it do to dwell on these things? What more can you really do about it all?

What indeed.