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You're angry. Accept it.

You might think you're angry at the people responsible, or you might think you're angry at the people who want to stomp those responsible into the ground. Or both. Or something else.

Be angry. Accept it. But don't pretend that your motives are more pure and compassionate than others'.

"Holier than thou" is exactly what leads to stuff like this. There's only a tiny step from thinking you're better than the local thug who is badmouthing Muslims and thinking you're better than the passengers on the plane you are about to use as a large bomb.

The only response to something like this is to try to get it to stop. But trying to get it to stop is also what leads to more things like this.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
cha
Sep. 11th, 2001 10:02 pm (UTC)
I'm not angry - just very sad.
elynne
Sep. 11th, 2001 11:18 pm (UTC)
Yah... I'm a bit angry, but mostly sick, and resigned. If I could afford it, I'd plan to have lunch tomorrow at the local Mediterranean resteraunt - something tells me they could use the clientele, and the support, but money problems continue to make any kind of financial planning an extravagance. I'll try giving blood later this week, or sometime next week, when the donations are dropping off. Last time I tried I was turned away for low iron count; I'll do what I can to bring that up before I try again.

I'm just crossing my fingers and toes and praying that we won't wake up to news like this again tomorrow.
firecat
Sep. 11th, 2001 11:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, we have been discussing how soon to go to our local Afghan restaurant.
nimma
Sep. 12th, 2001 03:28 am (UTC)
I'm not angry, though, at least not yet. Horrified, numb, but not angry. Not sure why. I try to picture what could have been in the mind of a person who would fly an airplane into a building full of ordinary people working in an office, and I just can't. It's incomprehensible. It's like watching a shark eating someone swimming in the water next to you; you're screaming, in shock, but do you hate the shark? Nobody expects human behavior of a shark. Those people must have been completely insane, completely inhuman...

Am I wrong? Is there some way a human being could retain a shred of sanity and do such a thing?
firecat
Sep. 12th, 2001 05:09 am (UTC)
Unpacking it some more at 5 in the morning
I think it's dangerous to write off people who do stuff like that by saying they're "inhuman" or "insane." Humans have been killing innocent people in the name of hatred or religion since history began. To me that means it's entirely human to do it. That doesn't mean it is comprehensible. A great deal of what humans don't is incomprehensible, to me, anyway.

If I saw a shark eating someone I cared about, I would get very upset. The upset would take a lot of different forms. I might hate the shark, even though I know "rationally" that the shark is just doing its thing. I might be angry at the person for letting this happen to them, even though that might not make much sense either, they might not have had any way to avoid it. I might be angry at the government for not getting rid of sharks. I might be angry at the universe for creating itself in such a way that some beings have to eat other beings to survive. Or I might take a step away, take my upsetness and turn it against people who want to kill all the sharks. Or I might even take it in the direction of admiring the shark for being such a well honed hunting machine.

So far my expressions of such upset and anger aren't in the same league as those of people who fly jets into the WTC. But I think the differences are more in degree than in kind.

I've cheered action films where the bad guys get blown up. I've wanted people I thought were dangerous to get killed or punished or incapacitated.
nimma
Sep. 12th, 2001 10:59 am (UTC)
Re: Unpacking it some more at 5 in the morning
Okay, I withdraw "inhuman." You're right. I shouldn't have replied at 3am. And I certainly don't mean to imply that I'm beyond anger. Or beyond rage, for that matter; I have plenty of experience with both emotions.

The dilemma that's tormenting me is that I don't feel "it's those guys over there that are insane." Remember who flattened Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Dresden... Cities full of innocent civilians, just like New York.

In theory, at least, there are valid reasons for fighting a war--the belief that if we don't defeat them, those people over there are going to harm us or our familes. To me, ethically, you do whatever you have to in order to stop them, and no more. The American pilots believed their leaders knew what they were doing when they flew those raids. I can't even blame Truman--his military advisors told him he had to drop the bomb. But what was in the mind of those military advisors? And in the mind/s of whoever sent the hijackers yesterday? Somehow, in their minds, they became shark.

I don't believe that the attacks on New York, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, or Dresden served a valid defensive function, and I have serious doubts about the destruction of Tokyo. I try to understand what could be in the mind of a person who would do such a thing, and it feels like insanity--or, in the case of the pilots, blind Trust in Authority. They must have believed that those acts would in some way protect that which they loved and held dear. But the person who sent those pilots... Some acts are either completely misinformed, or evil. I can't feel anger at someone who was completely misinformed, and when it comes to evil, I can't wrap my mind around it. I don't think I want to.

Koizumi isn't the only one who has prayed at Yasukuni. I have.
firecat
Sep. 12th, 2001 11:17 am (UTC)
Re: Unpacking it some more at 5 in the morning
Somehow, in their minds, they became shark.

I agree in both cases. And I think it's not that hard to become shark. I'm not an expert on WWII but I have read a bit about it, and I might well have advised to drop the first bomb (though not the second). I am saying that also having read a lot about the effects of the bomb.

I don't believe that the attacks on New York, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, or Dresden served a valid defensive function.

A lot of people would agree with you. I think I'd prefer war to be carried out strictly on military targets myself. But there are disagreeing points of view based on rational arguments. And then there's also the mind simply screaming "NO," that's capable of much that's irrational.

But the person who sent those pilots... Some acts are either completely misinformed, or evil. I can't feel anger at someone who was completely misinformed, and when it comes to evil, I can't wrap my mind around it. I don't think I want to.

Interesting. I frequently feel anger at people who are misinformed. Especially people who are highly intelligent, with many resources -- I think they don't have an excuse to be misinformed.

I guess I do want to wrap my mind around evil, in part because I think the more I know about it, the less likely I am to perpetrate the worst forms of it. I think it's easier to do evil if you think you're not capable of it.

I think the people behind these attacks, and the people who said to drop the atom bomb, and the people who committed the holocaust, all believed they were entirely or mostly on the side of good.
nimma
Sep. 12th, 2001 12:11 pm (UTC)
further thoughts
Interesting. I frequently feel anger at people who are misinformed. Especially people who are highly intelligent, with many resources -- I think they don't have an excuse to be misinformed.

Anybody can be misinformed, imho. Even highly intelligent people. Unfortunately, part of being misinformed is that you don't know you're misinformed. I think it's tragic, rather than something a person can be blamed for.

It's different when you have a reasonable expectation that the person should have known better, but through laziness, greed, fear, etc., they choose not to. That's what makes me go ballistic.

I think the people behind these attacks, and the people who said to
drop the atom bomb, and the people who committed the holocaust, all
believed they were entirely or mostly on the side of good.


Yeah, I believe you are mostly correct. But I haven't ruled out the possibility that one or more said to themselves, in effect, "I know this is wrong, but I'm going to do it anyway, because I want to. Because I can."

firecat
Sep. 12th, 2001 01:03 pm (UTC)
Re: further thoughts
You have a point that sometimes a person can't help being misinformed. I was mostly talking about the laziness, greed, fear situations. Of course, it's often impossible to know for sure which applies.

And yes, I think people sometimes do evil things "because they can."
xp85goblin
Sep. 13th, 2001 03:25 pm (UTC)
I think almost any definition of the term "Evil" applies however, which is a concept that makes no sense outside the human sphere anyway. To me, the term "Evil" connotes inverse altruism, which is to sacrifice oneself to cause suffering in others with no hope of gain to oneself or those you hold dear. I think that what these people did fits that definition in spades.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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