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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

On living in dark and terrible times

I took off for home extremely excited - I couldn't wait to see my family and be in my room again.

Then I came home and discovered that the world was exploding with news of Peshawar.

That we are capable, as a race, of such monstrous and atrocious acts feels incomprehensible... I used to think that we are "beings of Light." That deep down in all of us there is a spark of goodness and even greatness that is the essence of humanity. Now, I am tempted to agree with Golding - that we are barbaric and monstrous at heart, that we have a 'Beast' within, and that without the constraints of civilization we would tear each other apart - perhaps we are less 'civilized' than we think because we are tearing each other apart. And yet, I look inside myself and I see empathy and compassion. I am an ordinary human being, and if I have these qualities, so must everyone, or almost everyone else, right? But is it possible for individuals with empathy to turn into mass murderers who attack the innocent? What kind of circumstances or environment could possible turn anyone even remotely 'human' into the perpetrators of such acts? If 'humanity' is humaneness, then does it still exist in our society? If there are vestiges of humanity, how do we cling to the dying embers in a world that seems to be devolving into utter, howling madness?

God help us.