Living in the Shadow of the Worst Possible Thing
As Cosanostradamus suggests, evil of this magnitude is literally beyond conception. Faced with it, you are plunged into a world that is beyond logic and sense. Whatever you thought about the world before no longer applies, or at the very least, it is going to be seriously challenged. It does have a distant analogy to my recent encounter with that snake in the wild, only magnified a thousand fold. As he says, "Similar evil scenarios get repeated daily across the globe and it's too easy to come up with some philosophical explanation when it's far enough away. But when it gets close, there is a visceral red gut reaction that comes from the deep. We don't live life just in our heads; we have far more investment here than that."
In what follows, I sincerely hope I do not cheapen anything Cosnostradamus and others who are closely connected to this situation are going through. To "analyze" it at all in a detached way is a form of sacrilege. And as he says, "maybe we are asking the wrong question when dealing with the personal lashes of evil. Maybe we are called only to answer it with fierce love and attention to life."
I think that is true. We must understand evil viscerally and have an appropriately visceral, but always sober, response to it. To the extent that we lose contact with this visceral reaction, it does not make us more civilized -- as the contemporary liberal imagines -- but less so. It alienates us from our core of humanness, and clears the path to the leftist's overturning of the moral order of the world. We end up being like that fooish unnaturalist who attempted to live with grizzly bears. Just as the leftist does with our human enemies, he disabled a deep and wordless part of his mind that connected him with primordial reality -- with nature red in tooth and claw. In other words, he imagined that he was connecting with nature, when he was actually disconnecting from it -- both natura naturans and human nature.
Whoever is responsible for this murder deserves the swiftest and most severe justice available to us, which is the solemn taking of his life. He has stolen something infinite, something priceless, something that can never be replaced, not just from the person whose life he wrenched from the world, but from hundreds and perhaps thousands of others who form concentric circles of connectedness around his epicenter. His immediate loved ones -- parents, grandparents and siblings -- are simply crucified. The rest -- friends, teammates, and others -- will live in the shadow of this crucifixion, many for the rest of their lives.
In a very different way, I too live in the shadow of the Worst Possible Thing, but even so, it is considerably tempered by virtue of the fact that it was not intentional. It was a tragedy, but it was not evil, which I suppose is the only thing that makes it remotely assimilable. I am speaking of the sudden death of my sister-in-law four years ago. She died of a routine staph infection that overwhelmed her body within hours, so that she died of toxic shock within two weeks despite the finest medical care the world had to offer in New York.
As I said, it was not evil, but it nevertheless had the effect of completely pulling the cosmic floor out from under me. I mean this literally, and I am sure others will have experienced the sensation at one time or another. Normally the world is there to catch us when we fall, so to speak. We fall only so far, but no further. We get sick, but only to a point, and then miraculously get better. Bad things happen, but they don't last forever. Somehow, things always turn around -- "all things must pass."
But occasionally we are faced with a "one way slide" that cannot be arrested. Please, I do not intend to make this about me, but this was the feeling that occurred with my sister-in-law's illness. She's in the hospital? Great! That means whatever the problem is, it is now essentially solved. She slid down. Now she will slide back up. Back to what I was doing.
But she kept sliding and sliding down -- and the rest of us with her -- in a way that could not be arrested, all the way to the bottom. As it so happened, she died on her son's second birthday, making it all the more traumatically ironic. Now, my son's second birthday is approaching. I am once again in the shadow of what happened four years ago. And to a lesser or greater extent, I will live in that shadow for the rest of my life. It cannot be forgotten, if only because it will always remember me in some way. Since I am currently closer to the shadow, I cannot help "remembering" things that never even happened to me -- for example, what it must have been like for my brother-in-law, Steve, that first night, when Aiden cried out "mama" in the usual way.
For me, the whole realm of "health" has been permanently invaded by this shadow, so that I can never look at it in quite the same way again, mine or others. You could say that I have simply been "traumatized," but I don't think so. Rather, I think it is reality, a reality that most people must deny in order to get through life.
I have treated many cases of post-traumatic stress, and one thing I always mention to them is that, in a way, their trauma has caused them not to be less in touch with reality, as is true of most mental illnesses. Rather, in a certain way, it has caused them to be more in touch with reality. This is because the denial -- which is a defense mechanism -- which allows all of us to get through the world has been temporarily disabled. Figure and ground have been reversed, so they vividly see this or that danger that the rest of us deny.
A typical example is someone who has been involved in a serious motor vehicle accident and becomes apprehensive about driving. But some 40 or 50,000 Americans die each year in automobile accidents, so the traumatized individual is hardly out of touch with reality. Imagine if the ghouls of the MSM kept a running tally of this "grim statistic" every day, day in and day out, as they do with the war in Iraq. Every day, on every newscast, the lead story would be: "Another day of death and serious injury on America's bloody highways, with no end in sight. Today another 100 people perished behind the wheel, innocent people on the way to the grocery store, or perhaps to a well-earned vacation."
Or what if they kept score of all the murders and other serious crimes committed by illegal aliens in America? Do you doubt for one second that this would have a similar effect on the immigration debate as it has had on attitudes toward the war? You might even say that the MSM is attempting, in its always perverse way, to induce a case of post-traumatic stress among Americans so that they lose the will to fight.
I say this because they could easily cause the opposite emotional reaction if they were so inclined, by showing what the terrorists have done to us over and over again, and with that, keeping a running tally of how many of these evil bastards we killed that day. But they never show what the terrorists have done. History is sanitized of this evil, which in itself is a great evil. It is as evil as teaching about World War II but omitting that little part about the Holocaust and showing only Dresden, or teaching about Hiroshima but not Pearl Harbor -- for the former was a great mercy in light of the unforgivable barbarism of the latter. It was civilization responding with all it could muster to pure evil -- something we are apparently no longer capable of doing because of the creeping spiritual disease of leftism.
For if there is one thing that has always characterized and defined leftism -- and what makes them so dangerous -- it is naivete about human evil. One thing for which I give George Bush credit -- and for which history will eventually reward him -- is for never forgetting the nature of the great evil we are up against. Everyone was traumatized by 9-11, but within a matter of days, the left had already begun manifesting a deeply pathological reaction to the trauma, displacing their reaction from the terrorists onto the West in general, America in particular, and President Bush specifically. And it has not let up since. It is so sick and pathological that one could literally post about it every day.
President Bush lives in the shadow of the evil of 9-11 in what I regard as a healthy and realistic way, inevitable tactical mistakes notwithstanding. To his great credit -- because it brings him nothing but internal pain and external scorn -- it is something he refuses to forget. It is not accurate to say that leftists forgot about 9-11 and went into denial. Rather, they remember it in their own twisted way -- Rosie O'Donnell is the current poster infant -- by displacing their rage onto President Bush, which is just about the greatest gift they could offer our enemies. Now, keep in mind, I am not questioning their patriotism. Rather, I don't think there's any patriotism to question. Democrats would much prefer to hand a defeat to President Bush than to the terrorists. It's not even a question.
I remember when I made the "mistake" of listening the audio of the Muslim savages cutting off Nick Berg's head. I say "mistake," but this is actually something that Americans should have been required to watch, hear, and bear within their psyches. But as far as the Orwellian MSMistry of Truth is concerned, it did not happen. But imagine if the reverse had occurred -- imagine if we had actually tortured someone at Gitmo or Abu Ghraib. They would have never stopped showing it. This is why we can say without flinching that the liberal MSM serves evil and is an enemy of America. Please bear in mind that I am not saying that this or that individual is evil. Rather, I am simply talking about the reality of the institution. It serves evil ends. We'll have to get into their motivations in a later post.
In any event, when I heard the audio of Nick Berg's life being snuffed, it absolutely overloaded my circuits. I suppose you only discover how much reality you are capable of assimilating when you are faced with too much of it at once. I did something I had never done before, in that I spontaneously fell to my knees and muttered "oh my God," not in any kind of rehearsed way, but from the depths of someplace way beyond thought. I was just overwhelmed by the truly unspeakable, unthinkable, and unimaginable magnitude of the evil. In a way, I suppose it was also a very pure experience of God as well, because it came from a place that is way beyond mere concepts of God. Undoubtedly, this is what the account of Christ's passion is trying to drive home. Human evil doesn't get more concrete and "in your face" than that.
To paraphrase our Unknown Friend, it is not as if the Christian God exerts complete control over history from the top down. After all, he himself was crucified in it. Something to ponder. But only for a lifetime.
Which circles back to the only appropriate response to what Cosanostradamus is dealing with. As he said, when it gets close, there is a visceral red gut reaction that comes from the deep, and maybe we are called only to answer it with fierce love and attention to life.
Love, yes, always. But the operative word is fierce -- absolute fierceness in defense of what is good, what is decent, what is beautiful, what is holy, and of all that is worthy of love. We are not supposed to "gently" love great evil, a perversion of the meaning of the words, "love your enemy." Love of evil is not love, but a disgusting form of hate. God hates evil. For humans, hating evil -- again, always with solemnity and sobriety, not the intoxication of the left -- is love in action.
When a great evil occurs -- Columbine, Oklahoma City, 9-11 -- you will inevitably hear liberals who come out of the woodwork advising us to "love" or "hug our children," and all that.
Wrong response. We already do that. Rather, if anyone -- or any global movement -- is so evil that they wish to so much as harm a hair on the head of our children, kill them. Doing so is the height of civilization, because civilization can evolve no higher than our willingness to fiercely defend it from its internal and external enemies. Liberals think fierceness is uncivilized unless they are attacking Karl Rove's motorcade, or fiercely fighting for the life of the predator who murdered the teammate of Cosanostradamus' son.
Only by remembering evil can any good come of it. Conversely, forgetting it is to die of it -- both physically and spiritually.
May a just God remember the victims and never forget the evil ones who prey on the innocent.