Je Suis Le Reptile

Unless life is predetermined, everything that happens in our world is the result of a complex mix of occurrences that are of both human and natural origin. Some of these events are intentional and others are random. Some are rational and understandable, others are not. Most are a blend of both. 

Three gunmen, belonging to a radical Muslim group, enter the office of Charlie Hebdo Magazine in Paris and kill more than a dozen people working there. They feel they have a moral duty to take violent action because the publishers have acted with knowing and blatant disrespect for the symbols that give their lives meaning and enable them to draw breath. They vow that they will die as martyrs to what they believe. 

The French police soon have the killers contained. Dealing with a complex of moral concerns for the welfare of hostages, public safety, and the need to restore confidence and order, they act with disciplined violence to bring the situation to an end. 

A couple of days later, the streets of Paris are flooded with people holding signs saying "Je suis Charlie Hebdo". They are led by a formation of Western block leaders walking arm in arm in a demonstration of unity. 

Unity in what?  Clearly, it is at least partially a unity of victimhood. Everyone seems to be saying, "We are all Charlie Hebdo... we have all been attacked!... what gives meaning to our lives and enables us to draw our next breath has been knowingly and blatantly disrespected. We will not have it". 

What is not visible in the photos of all these people walking in righteous indignation is the blood dripping from their hands. In the name of the things they and their peoples hold dear and sacred, these leaders have, with what they believe to be great moral justification, done sophisticated military, political, and economic violence to peoples and nations all over the globe. Not just twelve, or even three thousand, but millions of people have died as a result of these self-justified actions. Some of them were the cultural and familial relatives of the Charlie Hebdo gunmen. 

What happened in Paris last week began in a swamp millions of years ago. The effects of it will continue to ripple through whatever time life has left on this planet.

The cosmos has no mind and there is no plan to evolution.  But a creative consciousness has appeared. There is a mind in our universe. It is our own. Can we accept responsibility for directing ourselves? Can we begin to break the cycle of violence?   

Bill