June 30, 2007

The Evil That Lurks... Without

Dread and foreboding filled the city’s atmosphere. The worst part of it all was the uncertainty. No-one knew who the bombers were or where they would strike next. And the city… wasn’t even Baghdad.

No… it was London. A bombing attempt had been “foiled” by the police and security forces. The city that should long ago have been racked with guilt, and was not, for the suffering that its national government had brought to the people of Iraq, was now racked with fear – all because of a single bombing attempt. The million Iraqis that the British and their criminal partners have killed or caused to die, the millions of Iraqis that have suffered unspeakable injuries and have had their lives and their country forever ruined – all of that meant nothing to the noble British race. The actual daily bombings in Iraq mean nothing to them. But a bombing attempt filled them with foreboding and a sense of doom.

To me, the event brings to the surface, yet again, the question of whether the human race is inherently and irredeemably evil. Do even the best and most altruistic of us only really care only about their own personal safety and apparent well-being? And if so, is there really any hope at all for this miserable world and this miserable species?

I have not blogged for a while. In fact, I have not really done much serious thinking for a while. These days, I often feel tempted to take Voltaire’s advice near the end of Candide, and concentrate on “cultivating my own garden” and consigning the rest of the world to the hell it seems to be bound for. Is the human species really worth worrying about? Is it not the case that the essential character of the human being negates the very possibility of a better future?

An interested reader of this blog, whom I'll identify as Mike S. from Winnipeg, having noticed the absence of activity on this blog, kindly wrote me a couple of days ago to ask about my welfare. He added:

You posted on Iran's president and his (misrepresented) remarks about Israel a while back. I thought this piece by Juan Cole might interest you:

Informed Comment - Jun 26, 2007


Ahmadinejad: "I am not anti-Semitic"

"Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul continue to show themselves among the few in Congress with any integrity and backbone. They declined to go along with a resolution charging Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with incitement to genocide, given his alleged call for Israel to be 'wiped off the face of the map.'

"As most of my readers know, Ahmadinejad did not use that phrase in Persian. He quoted an old saying of Ayatollah Khomeini calling for “this occupation regime over Jerusalem" to "vanish from the page of time.” Calling for a regime to vanish is not the same as calling for people to be killed. Ahmadinejad has not to my knowledge called for anyone to be killed...."

Thanks Mike.

Our entire “reality” is a tissue of lies and misrepresentations. Nearly every “truth” and “fact” that we believe in… is some kind of lie. Given the falseness of our “reality” and the apparently innate corruptness of the character of our species, does it make any sense to hold on to a dream for a better future?

Here is part of my reply to Mike:

I am physically fine, but I don't feel quite motivated to spend much time on blogging. I guess there are two factors involved: (1) I see one of the tasks of people like me to be to prod the conscience of the world. Since Israel's invasion of Lebanon, though, I am not so sure the world has a conscience. (2) A related and possibly more important point is that I am no longer so sure I know what the solution is. The human species seems so profoundly evil and incorrigible to me right now that I suspect there may be no solution. And yet... I hold on to the dream of a better world, though the dream keeps receding. It looks more and more like nothing more than a dream, an unrealistic aspiration of overly optimistic idealists....

But, on the other hand… maybe the dream can some day become a reality…

This is how:

We are evil, but only conditionally so – and not inherently. We are evil as servants of the ruling classes and their propagandists who have indoctrinated us with a false picture of reality and a false picture of our own best interests. The evil does not inhere in us, but in them. Yet they cannot be fought with bombs and guns, because they possess far more powerful arsenals as well as the ruthlessness to use those arsenals. They can be fought by disseminating knowledge about the real nature of reality and about the lies we have been told about it. A New Enlightenment can save – and redeem – the human species and simultaneously save the world.

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