Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Grasping Relics

There are certain elements of the past that encumber our lives; pieces of a bygone era that threaten our ability to adapt and change. While we hold these fragments dear, we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to come to grips with the present.

When we sanctify memory due solely to the nature of remembrance, we consecrate delusion by enshrining an surreality with in the temple of truth. The lack of reality endues the past with a halo most appealing in many eyes, but our worship of such images become graven in our minds, displacing the actual history with the idols of idealized yesterdays.

The room needed for change thus becomes crowded by tchotchekes, our mental attics cluttered with baubles no longer serving an function but that of nostalgia; prohibiting growth by binding us to the departed times and places. For experience to serve, it must not remain a hallowed icon, untouched by reinterpretation, but a material upon which to build a clearer and more truthful present awareness.

Lest we devolve into dust covered memento ourselves, we need to relinquish the cherished relics of the past, and bend our digits to grasp a more solid, if slippery contemporary existence.

Of this time, of that place

The instruments of precision fail to serve when they supersede their designated purpose; the fear of uniqueness impairs the creation of the self that fulfills the deepest need of the individual. For the sake of conformity and acceptance into the society of achievement, machines degenerate the organic distinctiveness by denying soul spawned thought and feelings.

The enticements wailed by clockwork sirens befuddle all sense of navigation, sending the ship of reason yawing towards the shoals of desire; wrecking the voyage of self discovery. For want of certainty, for lust of security; progress is abandoned upon the rocky shallows of technology; the spirit left to bleach into a hollow carcass, bereft of beauty and life.

Here then lies the most terrible of all temporal and spacial junctions, the nowhere all-encompassing both self and situation; the negation defining existence that relegates humanity to an inanimate object, forever confined to this and that time and place.

As dead as You

Mutually assured destruction is a form of madness both readily understood, and strikingly perverse. When applied to the field of thermonuclear warfare between nation states, this balance of terror menaces even the irrational into immobilizing their aggressive tendencies; but when such forces loom over ideological factions within a community, they may prove insufficient to curtail the havoc wrought by divisive worldviews.

When compassion and respect for alternative viewpoints becomes viewed as weakness; when empathy and understanding towards those who differ is cast as capitulation; compromise and accommodation are deemed as intolerable vices, suitable only for the morally depraved.

Pride infuses doctrine with unassailable righteousness, and arms its adherents with the weapons of hate and intolerance. When the cause itself becomes the end, no sacrifice becomes too great; even those that nullify the moral obligations supposed to be the basis of such action. To prevent violence; violence must be used. In the name of truth, deception becomes viable. To prevent the death of innocents, the innocents die. The price of victory necessitates the desecration of the values which initiated the conflict, and the combatants become as expendable as the principles they pretend to cherish.

The death of ethics may prove just as ruinous as a corporeal demise; when the cultural becomes irradiated by the release of animosity's armaments , the resulting toxicity ushers in a moral carnage both devastating in scope and indiscriminate in its victims as any atomic blast.

Just a swallow away

The cartoon head gapes an open mouthed grin while sporting a large white tablet atop his cherubic head. Captioning the character, who is designated "Speedy", read the words -"Relief is just a swallow away." The tang of irony tastes bitterly metallic to one grown accustomed, and accustomed to groan at the burden of addiction.

The inability to regulate one's emotions without the use of chemical agents signifies more than just inexperience or innocent ignorance; it becomes indicative of an endangered individual. For some, organic causes indicate biochemical alterations; without which, the means to a healthy and productive life are elusive, if not most improbable.

For others, the use of such agents result in a pattern of maladaptive behavior which renders a worthwhile existence nearly impossible, and threatens those with which they interact.

Forces remain, however, that reinforce such self destructive habits; whether they consist of a lust for personal profit, or a need to foster a vulnerability to manipulation, the impetus towards cultivating pharmaceutical dependencies carves a swath of carnage across the body of society.

By limiting the analysis of this problem to that of the individual and their personal responsibility, one risks overlooking the benefits others may derive from such actions, and hinder the development of effective solutions. It is never a simple chain of weakness that binds the chemically dependent to their habit of degeneracy, but an web of interlocking gain and loss the that captures both society and its members in a sticky grip.

Relief is forever fleeting, no matter the number of gulps; hawking debasement remains a constant that the community should find increasingly difficult to swallow.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The most incorrigible vice

The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding. On the whole men are more good than bad; that, however, isn't the real point. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance which fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill. The soul of the murderer is blind; and there can be no true goodness, nor true love, without the utmost clear-sightedness.
--Albert Camus The Plague

The murder of Sanesha Stewart is more than an individual atrocity and personal desecration, it is a crime of collective malice and cowardice. Her homicide and subsequent debasement by the The Daily News indicate the abhorrent ignorance embraced by many of the general public, and the joy with which it is cherished.

Casting aside even nominal standards of decency and empathy, the killer becomes kindred in the eyes of onlookers; a pitiable victim ensnared by the web of fraud, overcome by a revulsion to act in an understandable fashion. Mindless fear and a craven aversion to those beyond their feeble ken lead the mob to gawk and snicker while mumbling incoherently about "retribution"; righteous outrage is reserved only for "real" people.

In asserting the right to kill, Sanesha's slayer lays claim to the most incorrigible vice; an ignorance that supposes it knows everything. The hubris in proclaiming to know the "true" identity of another, and thus invoking the right to exact the ultimate penalty from anyone transgressing such an immutable state bespeaks a blindness fetid with profanity.

Yet, such excremental views are spread across the tabloid press, and consumed with relish by those spineless individuals who cower at the thought of personal realization. Embracing such filth, besmeared by the putrefaction of moral responsibility, they seek to stifle the stench by burying the desecrated beneath mounds of derision and defamation; as if belittling the corpse would render the crime less heinous.

The exultations of the great unwashed may today drown out cries for justice; it will not always be so. Blindness, even one so cherished, leads into a ditch; leaving the road available for clear sighted to travel with goodness and love.