I am just as shrill and irrational as the people I’m most afraid of. And chances are, so are all of you.
I realized this while discussing my paradoxical condition on the subject of firearms with a friend. On the one hand I abhor violence and do not own nor wish to own a gun; on the other hand, a nagging part of me fears violence from opposing factions or people who take exception to certain facts about me as a person and believes that my voluntary disarmament is tantamount to passive suicide.
There’s nothing more difficult to come to grips with than realizing that we’re all lunatics in this asylum, but it’s very plain to me that the whole of Western Civilization really is insane. And if the whole of our civilization is insane, then I am not an observer to that fact, but a participant.
I see proof of this in my own paradoxes, my bad decisions in this life and in the previous one, deep contradictions on how I relate to others, the part of me that can’t escape the normalization of certain irrational and self-destructive behaviors and thought patterns that have become the hallmark of our age.
Of course, in this life I can blame social and economic stresses, but what about the life before? Was it social and economic stress that made me march off to war when I was a year away from being too old for service? I can’t say that external factors are entirely to blame for what I’ve done, except maybe for the overarching problems of our culture that have survived the last century.
If we are all lunatics, then, who will cure us? Or will we all remain in the asylum we built for ourselves until the next generation of lunatics, more shrill and irrational than we are, takes over?
At times like this I regret that what I’ve experienced of past life recollection gives no hint that there is any god or divine will, or any hope that there is some master plan for us to exceed ourselves (which we desperately need to do). Even in the context of the soul being immortal, the aphorism “being aims at nothing and achieves nothing” resonates with an iron clang of truth.