Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Red Lake

I have never much cared for the collective wringing of hands that follows horrible tragedies. For that matter I have never much cared for how our society mourns in general.

This kind of thing in particular, this horrible, senseless tragedy, shines a light on our societal shortcomings when it comes to dealing with grief.

I'm not sure if it's Buddhist past life heritage or a particular twist on my internalization of Catholic Catechism, but for whatever reason, I have alwaysfound it easy to have empathy for a person who has committed terrible acts.

A few years ago, shortly after the rash of school shootings had subsided, I got to see a PBS Frontline about Kip Kinkel (sp?) the Suburban Oregon teen who shot up his school.

I had thought then (and still think now) that the driving force for these shootings, rural, suburban, on the res (not so many in the big bad cities...), what have you, is just the void. Adolescents are so open to the bleakness possible in life, and so many of the rest of us build our lives around not seeing that bleakness.

2 Comments:

At 8:57 AM, March 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We ignore the bleakness. Who wants to admit the possibility of it just being around the corner of OUR OWN psyche?

 
At 3:56 PM, March 27, 2005, Anonymous sillydog said...

Here's the thing though, you need some mental tools to be able to look at the bleakness that lies at the dark end of our pallate and not go a little mental.

For whatever reason, the human mind seems to be usuaully arranged in such a manner to make that sort of uncertainty very uncomfortable.

I have a silly little theory as to that:

Up until the evolutionary recent, we have been creatures of nature. As such, night time has always been a time of danger. Where dangerous animals and other people can sneak up and do some damage. Preceeding that, darkness has meant an uncertain kind of cold that could also harm. We view uncertainty, as the possibility of danger and our big, fat brains make the metaphorical connection between darkness and the possibility of baddness, that the underlying notion permiates all our cultures and languages. It's a big deal.

So, we have three ways to deal with uncertainty. We can face this and risk some rather unhappy time, we can reduce the choices and make the problem smaller, or we can face it w/ perfect courage. The latter is the hard part and the part that requires training of some sort.

The problem is the rise of the "fewer choices" method.

As DEVO once said, "Freedom of choice is what you've got. Freedom from choice is what you want."

 

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