I've recently found myself on a rather bleak and dark journey through my days and nights. The hunger for knowledge and the desperate need to confront reality can become all consuming. That hunger for wisdom, however, carries a hefty price.
The evils of the world become overwhelming when one acknowledges its success over honor and morality. The world and its many ills and horrors often becomes simply too much to deal with. The knowledge that each day brings about more and more pain and death to the planet's children and other innocents simply becomes a weight without reprieve for one's soul. The realization that the vast majority of the American people are completely happy in their ignorance and apathy about the world is so stunning that it's difficult to absorb as authentic.
I spend as much of my life as possible at the middle school that my twelve year old son attends. It is a small, country school filled with wonderfully caring and talented teachers, and for that I wish for a god to thank. I see the other children as they go through their lives, innocent of the evils around them (save for those sad few that return into an evil world each time they enter their own homes). As they learn and play and interact among themselves I see a microcosm of the planet's vast natural resource of joy and hope. I watch as the lessons that their parents and family have taught them come out in the laughter or the seriousness or the isolation that is becoming their future.
Each time I stand on the playground I remember that this tiny slice of the planet's population is about about equal to the number of children who die every hour around the globe. Those deaths are nearly entirely caused by the horrors and the evils that their parents willingly or unwillingly expose these innocents to. It has never been the children who start wars or who cause mass starvation or religious fanaticism or any of the myriad paths to pain and suffering and death that the so-called adults so gleefully create and re-create over and over. It is never the children who cause those evils but is always the children who pay the highest price for the stupidity and brutality that is triggered by those insane and malevolent individuals and factions who strive for more money and more power and more and more and more.
I see those little faces in my dreams. The darkest recesses of my mind retrieve the images I wished long forgotten. Images of a mother and child, the infant still trying to suckle nourishment from the long dead mother with the huge hole where an eye once was. I am gifted with reruns of the sight of a child no older than two eating dirt to try to quench the gnawing hunger caused by another stupid war that its tiny heart is completely unaware of. I see again the picture of a starving and sick child, sitting on the dirty, rocky ground looking in helpless dismay at the retreating figure of the man who stole her day's ration of a tiny bowl of rice.
I see these things in my dreams because I saw them in my waking nightmares. I know that these scenes are being replayed over and over in nearly every land on Earth. I can almost feel the stark terror that soon becomes the norm for these innocent and blameless babies and children.
I cannot escape this reality, no matter how great my struggle. It is no longer possible to push these unspeakable visions back into that murky, miserable place within my waking consciousness where one hides what one can no longer deal with. No matter how hard I try, no matter what effort I expend, they return again and again and always with the same heart breaking and crystal clarity as the first time.
I stand in the night, under the trees, wishing that tears were still available. I write my little collections of words, hoping beyond hope that they somehow craft a power that can assuage my guilt over being so ineffective and so inept towards the only part of humanity that I still give a damn about.
I listen to the childish complaints of too many Americans who whine that they aren't responsible for this enormous tragedy and that they refuse to part with even a penny of their wealth or a moment of their busy lives in an effort to change those abysmal realities. I watch as the gutless and soulless 'leaders" of the world smile for the cameras while holding children in their laps at the same preschools and hospitals and day care centers and Head Start programs that they have every intention of closing in order to gain more money to build more weapons to kill even more children and create even more wretched orphans. I cringe as I witness the useless and wasteful engines that are used as a substitution for America's lack of character, spewing poisons into the air and necessitating the murder of more and more children in order to supply this nation's sick thirst for exhaust fumes.
I am aware that many will say to me, "See a shrink" or "Get over it! It's just the way things are!". My reply to the first is that the point isn't for me to learn "coping skills" so that this universal shame can be "lived with". My answer to the second is that things are however we adults agree they should be. Sadly, the vast majority of the world blissfully agrees that the suffering and death of children is how it should be since it is the least arduous path to more and more wealth and power.
Time will, as always before, eventually wear the sharp and sorrowful edges back off of the memories and mental snapshots that constitute my nightmares. I will, as all who wish to continue, find some way to draw a curtain between these sad memories and my daily existence. I know, though, that it will only be a matter of time until those cries and screams and gray, empty faces return to remind me that humanity has attained very little humility or decency in the thousands of years that it has dwelt on the ground rather than swung through the trees. During those welcome respites, I can only continue to hold onto the wispy ideal that mankind is a species with the capacity to still learn and improve itself. At times like this, though, I deeply doubt that man will ever rise above the cesspools of greed, meanness, apathy and stupidity that are the only hallmarks it seems to cherish enough to sustain through the generations. I can only see a future where the few continue to attain great wealth and power while the many innocents pay for the wealth through suffering, hopelessness and death. There is little of note to make me believe otherwise.
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