We all need to escape every now and then.
Some of us take trips, consuming oodles of jet fuel while pretending to care about being Green.
Others, like myself, escape in a far more subtle but perhaps more real and effective way. We travel not physically but experientially. Experiential travel means peeling back the layers of the pscyhe to discover the past, perhaps our collective past. And I’m not just talking about junior school and the primal scream. No, I’m talking about the possibility of venturing through time, as it were, to find out what it really was like before we were born.
One way I do this is through dreams.
Last night I dreamed that a Roman tyrant gave an underling a choice. They could offer themselves to be executed or have their testicles removed. Not a very nice choice.
There was a bad crop that year. The grain count was low. And the poor sap given the unfortunate choice was the Head of Agriculture.
I have no idea if this kind of thing actually happened. But in my dream it was real. The human predicament of being given a horrendous choice under the whim of an ignorant, arrogant and cruel tyrant is something that has indeed happened far too many times in human history.
Why are human beings so cruel to one another?
Why did that strange 21st-century professor murder and chop up his student/lover?
The next time someone tries to call you crazy, just remember that it’s a crazy world out there and pretty much always has been. We put a tenuous veneer of “civilisation” on top but that is just a very thin layer. Defunding the police will only serve to show just how deep our collective savagery really is. The riots in the US are already demonstrating that.
For the record, black people in Africa practiced slavery against their fellow blacks. And the Arabs did it too. An inconvenient truth for the rioters. But it’s just the truth.
My point is that we all suffer in different ways. And it’s high time we stopped seeing problems in terms of “us” and “them.” Each and every one of us has some tyrant ancestor. So why make it worse by behaving like unruly savages today?
Final point is that I do not want to point the finger at the rioters alone. There are many types of aggression and violence. Psychological and economic aggression. White-collar crime. Clandestine violence.
If I were to give humanity a report card right now, it would be “F” for flunk.
We can do better. At least, I hope we can.
However, the omnipresent reality of evil makes me wonder. And that’s why I don’t buy into sugary ‘pie in the sky’ scenarios that overlook or gloss over the realities of evil. To beat something, we have to face it. Not ignore it.
Why don’t we begin today?