A few days after the initial shock of 9/11 wore off, I too had thoughts that perhaps there could be some way of making sanity prevail. That maybe we could somehow neatly cut off the head of this monster and buy us enough time to review the situation in Asia. Sit down, negotiate, lead the way, broker lasting deals that would bring peace, and with it, the much needed education that, in my view, is at the very root of this problem. Educate the masses, I thought, and the chances for another bin Laden would greatly diminish for only the hopelessly diluted would buy into the apocalyptic messages of another madman. There was comfort in thinking that way, a belief that the greater good of humanity would prevail.
Now, I’m not so sure. With everyday that passes, my feelings of impending doom increase. No pessimist I, but in light of what we’re seeing it’s becoming increasingly harder to fool ourselves as to what lays ahead. Not when you realize that the notion of bin Laden as a ‘lonely extremist with a small though fanatical following’ is just that: a notion. A notion which looks increasingly more like a product of our own wishful thinking than a reflection based on the crude reality in the Muslim world. No, he’s not alone, no, he’s not relying solely on the uneducated, no, there’s no real outrage in that region with his murderous ways, and no, whatever happens in Afghanistan it won’t be the end of it. In fact, I say it’s only the beginning. The beginning of unmitigated terror, the beginning uncurtailed bloodshed, the opening salvo of opposite and unbridled passions facing each other to the nihilistic end.
History teaches us that war is intrinsically sewn into the fabric of human nature. That it comes in cycles. That we’ve enjoyed one of the longest periods of relative peace the West had ever seen. That prosperity doesn’t come without a price – in human lives. That the idea of world peace is but an illusion, contrary to our very nature. A beautiful chimera well worth telling our children about, but in all reality, with just as much foundation as the tale of St. Nick. See, if we “lived happily ever after” we couldn’t very well be here, could we? Happy has no meaning without sad. Take a look around you, nature is neither “good” nor “bad,” it just is. And in it, war rages on every day. It is the very essence of its survival. And just because we’re sentient beings we can’t escape the very fact that that’s all we are: a part of nature. Our dreams of an afterlife, just that, dreams. Unfortunately, and as we’re currently seeing, those same dreams are strong enough to lead many to forgo the here and now in hopes of a better tomorrow. And for those of us that would like to extend our time here, the choice has considerably narrowed.
Unless sitting around waiting to be murdered is an option, the latest, and perhaps final test, of Darwin’s survival of the fittest is upon us.
With all my heart, I hope I’m wrong.