Thursday, July 28, 2011

(1) The Greatest Vice (2) Military Suicides


THE GREATEST VICE


  At first, Muslims were blamed by the mob for the mass murders actually commited by those clean-cut young native sons of the U.S.A. and Norway, Timothy McVeigh and Andrew Behring Breivik.  As McVeigh was murdered by the state we will never have the opportunity to see if in the future he would have comprehended his own actions, or how society might have learned from observing him how to prevent future McVeighs.  Fortunately, the Norwegians are not so murderous, and Breivik will not be killed by the State, while he has stated that he knows he will serve life in prison.  We will have a chance to see if he ever wakes up to the reality of what he has done, or tell us how he got there.
       One thing that these two young men have in common is what is universally considered a “virtue,” but what is actually the worst vice on the planet:  self-righteousness.  In simple old common sense language, they were “so right they were wrong.”  Beside the factors in their personal psychology histories – which are as important as anything – they were clear in their statements about what had aroused their righteous indignation, which, for them, justified the most extreme reaction. 
           Even those not directly harmed by their acts are apt to be seized by the vice of self-righteousness and will call for their murder by the state, a state of mind no different from the state of the mind of the murderers they want to murder.  But will the people who call for their deaths recognize that they are the same as those they wish to murder?  How many people possessed by the vice of self-righteous will openly celebrate or smile in private when they hear of the murder of a doctor who provides abortions.  While in other parts of their lives they may be loving citizens who personally would never murder, when it comes to whatever makes them feel full of a supposed virtue of self-righteousness, they will feel justified to celebrate a murder.  Bless Norway that seems to know the poisonous nature of feeling righteous.  Look at every sick situation on the earth, in the nation, and in our personal lives, and you will see that the root of the conflict is this vice of self-righteousness.  The robber feels that, compared with others, he is not getting the share he deserves, and feels righteous about a rough achievement of equality.  Some will react negatively if I say that resentment and envy justifies in the rapist’s mind his violent act.
Does anyone do wrong?  Or, rather, is the wrong they do not done with a sense of self-righteousness that empowers?  I have certainly in my life not been free of this so-called virtue which is the worst vice, and I always hope I can face up to my fear of examining how it exists in my life, past and present, but I do know that enjoying a sense of self-righteousness is the opposite of being one who helps create a world of peace and love. 
Postscript:  I have to add this about another matter – military suicides.  It is heartbreaking to hear the “sleepy” reaction of relatives of service people or veterans who commit suicide:  “I don’t understand.  He seemed O.K.”  Will the time ever come when they will understand the decency of their child being troubled by murdering people (let alone if they awaken to the fact that they have been manipulated by the sordid motives of nations and war profiteers).  Here is a human with a conscience reacting with horror at murders he or she has been forced to commit. Around them, there is no one to celebrate them as the true heroes, and they are far from people who might have told them the thoughts that lead to their suicides proved their greater humanity, not that they were failing some primitive definition of manhood or  spurious patriotism.  
  

1 comment:

Marmsk said...

Very thoughtful.