Monday, 16 November 2015

Another Day In Paradise

Despite recent events in Paris, I'm still of the opinion that most denizens of planet Earth are basically good. I'm equally convinced that idiots come in all shapes, sizes, and skin tones. I don't heap all the religious people into the same group, but I do hold the view that that none say anything that secular voices haven't already said better. It would be easy for me to rip into the concept of jihad or Islamic extremism, but frankly if you're not clued up on the dangers these pose then there's simply no waking you up. So instead I'm going to reflect on the goodness of humanity, the better angels of our nature, and try to make the case that despite the existence of evil and delusion and barbarity, most of us actually want to leave the world in a better state. As such, when faced with terrorist atrocity the only thing to do is, well, exactly what we were doing before. We live out our lives, live by our shared values and seek to deepen the Well of human kindness. We alleviate suffering, comfort the stricken, and show sufficient courage when faced with the savagery of terrorism. I for one do not intend to let the bearded fools of IS prevent me from loving my wife, protecting my children, and making for ourselves lives that are rich and deep and satisfying. To change how we are would be to acknowledge that such evil has the power to do so, which I do not think we can allow. I cannot imagine what possesses a fellow human to seek the harm of another; the whole idea is alien to me. What I do know is that I want no part of it. Their violence is their violence; their delusion their own unique delusion. Nor will I let rage and bile get the better of me, for to do that is to take a tiny step towards mirroring the obscene hatred the extremists have of us. I do not hate them. I pity them. I find them tedious examples of what happens when people cease to see others as human. And at the end of day are we really so different? Aren't we just hairless apes bumbling through? And what makes certain people so committed to making the whole world dance to their tune? As if that's even possible. Give me diversity, give me opposites, give me an expansive banquet of colour and variety, and I'll give you world that's worth living in. And that's what we already have isn’t it? And you don't need to cross oceans to figure this out. Walk down any street and see divergence, variety, eclecticism and oddity. God forbid we ever find ourselves in world where we are required to think and act the same. Ultimately, the battles of today might look as though they are waged on the ground, but the truth is far simpler. These wars are battles of ideas, and they rage in the hornet’s nest more commonly referred to as the human mind. This is where tomorrow's world is forged, in the white hot furnace of today's intellectual discourse. So we better ensure our narrative is a good one, and that we back it up with courageous acts, because if we do not create the mood music then other’s will, and if it's all the same to you I'd like this world to remain a diverse and intoxicating place. Contrast this with the dreary monotone dirge of extremism with its edicts and instructions and prohibitions. What a horrible world it would be should it ever come to pass. What a small world. What a turd of a world. Put me on the next boat out.

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