| Sunday, November 9, 2008 - 12:33 am |
That was a wonderful example of what I admire in you, Dub.
A powerful intellect coupled with personal character.
Your character is what I am addressing here. I am attempting to introduce a another principle for you to consider as you assimilate your formal education into your belief structure and worldview.
To put it as simply as I can:
History is more than a rational organization of our knowledge of past events.
There is a very personal element for some people. You doubtless think I am somewhat crazy for jumping on you about such a minor and trivial argument and I will explain myself. When objectively analyzing these very important times, events, and issues that are tossed around on these forums or even with others in your "real" life, please take into consideration this fact.
History for one man may be memory and experience for another.
When we speak of war, genocide, and the horrific events of past and present, it is not theoretical exercise for me. It is sights, sounds, and smells. Obviously, I was not even alive at the time of the Holocaust, but that event is more than an intellectual concept or collection of facts and data to be anayzed in my mind. It is an emotional reaction of fully grasping the reality of it. I will fully confess to being very sensitive about race and issues of mass violence. Because I have seen them first hand.
I have stood in mass graves with a bandana soaked in kerosene to filter the smell. I have seen children with their limbs hacked from their bodies because they were of the wrong tribe. It isn't theory for me. It's waking in middle of the night with my heart racing and almost hyperventilating from the nightmare. It's ../images in my mind I wish I could erase. It's vomitting uncontrolably at the faintest scent of rotting meat. It's also overreaction to minor events.
What I would wish you to take from this, dub, is the desire to develope a sense of emotion connected to the mass of objective facts that you are learning.
Don't be so disadainful of morality. I hope that you never have to learn that sometimes a sense of morality will be the only thing that prevents you from going insane when confronted with the real horrors of man's insanity.
My connection of morality to historical events is not an exercise in philosophy or academic theory.
It is a plea to a God in which I don't believe to "Please. Let there be a purpose to this. Let this MEAN something."
You can destroy my intellectual challenges to you with your outstanding education, Dub.
But, I can destroy your soul just telling you what I have witnessed with my own eyes.
You aren't just learning objective data. This is someone's reality. Someone's lost family. Someone's guilt.
Don't surrender to the pure academic mentality, my young friend. Try to temper it with humanity and frame it in compassion. Trust me when I tell you that you will be a better man for it.