I’ve often explained my passion for history to my friends by quoting opens in a new windowAmerican philosopher George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The events of the past have the power to guide us to correct our failings so we don’t reprise the same painful mistakes. That simple concept of not drinking from the same carton of sour milk twice is the foundation of civilization as well as of personal spiritual growth. Countries that don’t adhere to this die out and individuals who ignore it die off.
Yet, here we are again.
More shootings. More dead bodies. More outrage. More finger-pointing. Like a grotesque Quentin Tarantino version of Groundhog Day in which we are trapped in the same horrific day, experiencing the same violent atrocities over and over. Our only hope for release from this loop of lunacy is to learn how to display our virtuous humanity.
Except that yearned-for release never comes.
And we battle-weary survivors are left wondering whether we’ll ever be capable of displaying that virtuous humanity. Because the only way to break this ugly cycle of violence begetting violence is to honestly examine the obvious pattern of causes, without defensive posturing. Without looking for scapegoats to assuage our fear and anger. Without denying our own complicit and complacent guilt.