Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Running Away...

My honest observation is that almost everyone is running away from something.

The consequence is that we can never find peace or rest, we cannot come home until we come to terms with the thing or things we are running away from.

Those who appear to be running after things, reaching out and maybe even catching some of the brass rings dangled in front of us on life's merry-go-round, even they, perhaps more than most -- even they are running away.

We've been running ever since we were locked out of the gates to the Garden of Eden -- the story of Eden is a parable for how most of us die in our childhood.

What horrors we are running from? Do we run more from that which happened to us or from the horror that we ourselves may become the very horror from which we run?

By stopping up and turning to face these horrors, that is to say, our personal demons, that is the only chance we have to bring them down to a size we can handle. Intuitively, I doubt we can make them disappear completely, but we can bring them down to a size an ordinary man or woman can handle. That is to say: we can live our lives with some decency and dignity, and -- most important -- pass as little as possible of the horror on to our children and coming generations.

In my thinking back to childhood, I realized the monster I could have become.

Somehow it did not happen. The best things I've done in life were perhaps not what I did, but what I did not do -- things which rage and loneliness had primed me for. I suspect this is a more general or at least a common rule than the exception.

What I am saying is that many if not most are tempted by inner demons to surrender our being to an ugly evil. This is a general thesis of all the authoritative religions -- true it is often abused in order to control people, but this does not, in itself negate the validity of the intuitive insight.

For some reason, most do not do the ugly thing.

We win our spurs on lonely battle fields that no one ever sees, except perhaps our guardian angels and God. We grow up, our souls and spirit are perhaps maimed and crippled, but we have become, more or less, complete human beings. It is important to understand here that the demonic is not intrinsically evil -- generally speaking it is no more than life-force flowing incorrectly.

I am acquainted with a young boy, perhaps thirteen years old. I see him with the cap to the cathode ray tube of a television in his hand. I see him sizzling a little lizard with the twenty-thousand volt spark as it surges through the soft belly and the small body writhes in agony.

Suddenly -- the boy sees what he is doing to a living creature and never, ever did such a thing again. Do you understand?

It matters little whether somebody sizzled lizards or blew up frogs with firecrackers when they were boys. The axis on which evil turns is why they no longer sizzle lizards or blow up frogs!

Is it because it became boring? Or, is it because they realized the ugliness, that is the utter meaninglessness of what they were doing?.

I suspect that such experience is more common than we know, that young people and children, as well as adults, are, from time to time, faced with such choice and, for reasons the Eternal only knows, choose humanity instead of some numbing release of life unto a dark and nameless Absolute...

This is the added element to our anger when some little shit blows complete strangers away in a burger bar, or trashes a young girl and dumps her like a piece of garbage. No one does the ugly thing unless they somewhere along the line surrendered or lost their connection with our common humanity, or loses it in doing service to the ugly evil.

However, it is not a simple thing to judge when this break has actually and irreversibly happened.

Victor Frankl, in "Man and the Search for Meaning" tells of a doctor in the death camps who showed himself to be one of the few people whom Frankl said he would call truly satanic. And yet, Frankl has witness from other people that this same man, as a prisoner in the Soviet gulags, showed him himself to be kind, even a compassionate being, so much so that, although he himself perished, others through him did survive Stalin's horrible "university".

In his memories of the death camps Frankl repeatedly states, "The best did not survive...". He also observes many times that in order to survive as a human being, one must know the limits of what one will do to stay alive.

As I understand him, the survival of the human being is in the spirit and not the continued activity of the physical body alone.

The horror, the ugliness of the anti-god of the camps was the destroying the spirit of their victims, turning them into raw material for the industry of death -- Eli Weisel has refered to it "sucking soul from bone".


Passenger said...

Breaking the spirit is the goal of those who torture and is just as evil if not more so than murder. It is also the way the military removes the humanity from a soldier in order to turn him into a killing machine. Most of us are running away from those years of our childhood that broke our spirits, and we spend the rest of our lives trying to regain that spirit of joy and innocence that was taken away too soon. The best thing we can do, if nothing else, is to make sure we minimize the damage we do to our own children's spirit.

Chuck Cliff said...

We do what we can, Passenger, we do what we can with what we have and try to leave the world a bit better than we recieved it.

Torture has always been an evil. It's well-spring is the urge to dominate others by any means. Torture today is more evil than ever as it has been scientifically refined and codified so that the mind can be destroyed with less invasive means -- Jose Padilla is a case in point.