Monday, 11 August 2014

The evil of men

The recent genocide committed by the ISIS on Christian minority is beyond comprehension. There are reports of the most inhumane and heinous crimes with babies decapitated, women raped and sold as slaves, and men mercilessly killed and their bodies dumped into unmarked mass graves. Among other horrors, a father committed suicide after he was forced to watch his wife and daughter subjected to rape.

How do you understand that? How do you get over that? How do you even start to forgive the rapists? If life as we know it, in the safety and comfort of our shielded world, is all about making the grades, climbing up the career ladder, clinching that deal, following that fad, setting up a family, nurturing our children, worshipping our god, feeding our mind, and growing old with acquired wealth, then what does a life lived in a way that is no different from the human savagery we are reading about and are witnessing in the media mean to us? What ultimate meaning does the inhumanity of men offer to us?

I think the search for meaning is a red herring here. The meaning we are looking for exists only at a slightly lower, less layered and complicated level. This meaning we seek can readily be found in the everydayness of living. In the schools where studying smart and working hard are the key to academic excellence. In commercial complexes where profit rules and shareholders are enriched through clever innovation and pervasive marketing. And in some sense, in politics where democracy is nothing more than a nation-wide personality contest and credibility in our leaders is all about projecting an image of authenticity and keeping all our conduct as close an approximation to that image as possible.

But where is the meaning when men, with their mouth profess virtue and love, respect and honor, integrity and personal sacrifice, but at the same time, with their mind and in their actions, demonstrate everything that denigrates, decimates and destroys all that? Does this just add cadence to the tongue-in-cheek saying, "paying lips service"? I guess the red herring strikes again. I always believe that there is no greater delusion in life than the delusion of a self-professed full understanding of a seemingly complex subject that only gives us the illusion of knowledge so as to keep our ego stoked, our curiosity enslaved, and our ignorance sedated.

Can we ever understand or is there ever any meaning to the grim reality where men of the cloth fight the subordinate evil they create by willful blindness while leaving the principal evil they represent undeterred, unremitting and unflinching? This is the meaning that we desperately seek that has and will always escape us. It is simply beyond comprehension if we are earnestly subscribing a meaning to it. Like quantum non-locality, like human consciousness, like our beginning and our possible end, like love and suffering, the evil of men has no meaning and trying to make meaning out of it only keeps us from truly understanding what we need to understand about it.

When you are at the receiving end of the knife or when you face the open end of a loaded gun, what meaning are you seeking after other than that your life (or your loved ones' life) simply stands in the way of a self-deluded ideology where evil and good are merely a fungible head concept disguised to ensure self-preservation and self-glorification. The simplicity of that thought is admittedly devoid of any religion-like grandiosity that humanity has been craving after and have been building monuments after monuments to encapsulate; but accept it or not, there is really nothing behind door number 42 (Douglas Adam's number) other than that simple, visceral, and bare-thread motivation. This has never changed and never will.

And the truth about us, whether religious or otherwise, is that there is no evil and good in this world apart from us. We exist to give evil and good a complacent and convenient purpose we are most comfortable with. To the religious, evil and good are both inside us and out there; they are forces to be denounced and embraced. To the irreligious, evil and good are social and psychological constructs; and most of which are no more than the vanities and insecurities of men publicly condemned but privately perpetuated. And to the rest of us who even bother, evil and good are merely a means to an end; an instrument to assist in the realization of our personal goals to feel safe, loved, inspired, proud, prosperous, alive, smart, adored, recognized, admired, remembered, and the list goes on and on.

So, that's the full spectrum of our understanding as well as its inherent limitation. Any meaning subscribed to them is simply self-serving and self-delusionary. At most times, we will do better as a human race if we take the time to accept this limitation we all suffer from rather than try to penetrate what is beyond us and give it a meaning so that we could experience a soulful sleep through the night. Cheerz.

No comments:

Post a Comment