Journey Well, my unnamed friend. May the speed at which you enter the unknown bring you comfort and peace. Regrettably, you have missed one of life’s surest experiences, a chance to visit the battlefield of ideas.
The living you left behind will wage moral arguments of political duplicity, with one side convinced of their sureness, and the other convinced of their unsureness. I sit uneasy with both, which is the price of being an idealist.
Let me tell you what you missed, and of how love and hate commingle in an incestuous relationship. You have been defeated by both. Those who love you hate your mother, and those who love her have abandoned you.
What can you teach us, what do you know? Your silence I find so deafening. Let me tell you my best guess.
There are some who see nudity as pornography. Where one sees beauty, the other sees lust. There are some who see sexuality as beastly. Where one sees expression, the other sees obscenity. There are some who see compassion as indifference. Where one sees suffering, the others sees disregard.
Here on this battlefield there are only two choices. To be free, or to not be free, and both seek to be the one by denying the other. You impose yourself. You are a third party in a battle between two. No matter who wins, you lose, because the victor does not tolerate dissent.
There was a time when I could not drink to you. This was a time long ago, when we were both of the unborn. Let me tell you about what you did not get to learn.
Back then, a group of people took it upon themselves to design what frailties you were not allowed to have. They meant well of course, concerned as they were for the example that was set for their young, and perhaps as well for the spirit and the soul of fallen. So much pain can flow from the neck of a bottle. Unfortunately, the human spirit cannot be taught a mistake until it experiences it firsthand. Prohibition became the law of the land, and people drank all the more. The makers of the law became angry that no one complied, and the more people drank, the angrier they became. The people who drank, became trickier and trickier, and angrier and angrier in return. Before long, everyone was really angry, and the lesson for the children was something quite other than what had been intended. They were being taught about moral certainty. A lot of killing always takes place with the expression of moral certainty.
Moral certainty, on the battlefield of ideas, is the notion that whatever I believe is right, and therefore I have the power (and the right and the duty) to stop you from whatever it is that I think you are doing wrong. Both sides were convinced of their moral certainty, and battled ferociously until finally the people who “did not have a dog in the fight” said, “Enough!” Not having a dog in the fight means that you could see both sides of the problem. Some nudity is pornography, but not all. A taboo is not a moral certainty, and different peoples have different social customs. Finally, everyone was able to have a drink and not cower in fear. The killing stopped.
You have left a situation where religions and continents and nations are now locked in epic battles regarding what are equally trivial issues. All of the players in conflict are convinced of their moral certainty, while the idealists sit watching sadly from the sidelines. What binds these forces of moral certainty together and against each other is the concept of being a moral warrior. For some it is being a Christian warrior, for the others it is a Muslim warrior, both share the same elements of hate. No Drinking Allowed. No Listening to Music. Whatever is decided, it is morally correct.
This certainty expresses itself as the right to control others, but not in the way that a parent lovingly controls a child, but rather in the way a mob abuses its victim. I describe this to friends as a kill-first conservative morality. Like the difference between nudity and pornography, it is a fine line. The kill-first morality may care about an important issue, but it strikes a person down. The die-first morality likewise cares about the same issue, but it seeks to lift the person up. Unfortunately, like most affairs of men, the issue is just slightly more complicated.
Both the kill-first moralist and the die-first moralist are the same person. They both believe they occupy the center on the battlefield of ideas, but there are actually two battlefields, not just the one. One battlefield is personal, the other battlefield is public. This is where the incestuous relationship between Love and Hate occurs. Conflicts are always between the two kill-first moralist positions from their respective fields of battle. In your case, your mother was a private kill-first moralist on the personal battlefield, and the people who tried to stop her were kill-first moralists on the public battlefield. Your mother did not care about you, and those trying to save you did not care about her. The same controlling moral certainty, different interpretations, aimed at each other, from a different battlefield perspective.
The private die-first moralist mother would not abort you, and the public die-first moralist would not attempt to control your mother. You will only find kill-first moralists on these battlefields. We all enter onto this battlefield. It is only by doing battle that we can learn what is so precious to defend. Only in battle can we learn to drop our armaments of moral certainty and open our hearts to our unending moral tragedy.
The die-first moralists will defend against the public mob, and do their best to lift up those kill-first moralists from the error in their ways, but not every battle will be won.
I am not a big drinker, but there was a time when I did so regularly. Someone fought a battle for me, so I would have the opportunity to make my own mistakes. I will do the same for you.
You have left behind a world of partisan anger, and of rising moral certainty, both nationally and internationally. The kill first morality took you, and if it didn’t take you it would have taken your mother. The sad reality is it could have taken you in a thousand different ways; this method was just the most poignant. The ironic thing is that the children are always the victims of kill-first moral certainty.
Journey Well my unnamed friend, I will toast your silent courage. Some would call me a bleeding heart liberal. I proudly stand accused.