Today, while reading about the London bombings, I began to consider that for those of us fortunate enough to live in the West there may be a benefit to the terrorism of recent years; namely that it has forced us to awaken somewhat from the idealistic Norman Rockwell small town mindset that is hammered into our brains from the day we are born.
We have been raised to believe that “our” world is a peaceful one, where bombings and death happen on television, or in the movies, not to us. Wars come to us through a tiny screen, we’re told they are happening ‘somewhere else’ . . . one of those places where wars happen . . . but to many (myself included) these wars don’t hold the weight of our reality; the guns don’t even sound ‘real’ like they do in our war movies, the blood isn’t red like in our war movies, and where’s the love story?
September Eleventh sliced through our layer of protection, but not completely. Even then, myself and most people I knew watched the horror huddled around tiny television screens and described the events as being ‘like something from a movie’. These events still had no bearing on our lives, we had nothing to compare the situation with in our lifetimes except for Hollywood entertainment.
We have been shielded from the realities of our world. The fact is terrible things happen everyday all over our world to both the innocent and the not-so-innocent, making no distinction between the two. Nature has no morals or ethics. We decide to name certain events as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but in an objective reality there are simply events.
Taoism teaches us to watch nature to see how we should try to live, because nature is as close to perfect as we are ever likely to witness; it’s been doing fine since before we were around, and will do just fine after we are gone. To witness nature in its truest form people need go no further than your closest toddler, as they are still unshaped by our conventions, and as a result often act in a manner we find barbaric. Watch about five toddlers play almost unsupervised sometime, and see how they treat one another. That, my brothers and sisters, is true nature.
The world is a scary, vicious, beautiful and funny place. Sometimes we tend to forget about the ‘scary vicious’ part. People in most of the rest of the world don’t have that luxury.
It’s not often that quoting songs written by Alan Thicke are relevant in something written about terrorism, but in this case the first few lines of the theme song to the Facts of Life seem to fit:
You take the good / You take the bad;
You take them both, and there you have,
The Facts of Life . . .
Hail Eris. All Hail Discordia.