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  • © 2013 Sigman Shapiro All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure

I had planned to begin writing about “Bliss” as Joseph Campbell called it.  But recent events in the news have caused me to set that project aside for the moment.  I will return to it, but this is not the time.

Instead, I want to talk about the randomness of existence and the wave of madness and terrible violence that seems to have suddenly appeared in our world these last few years. 

I know the media have made much of the seemingly unprecedented nature of the senseless, impersonal, random killings that have occurred in this country.  We have been lulled into thinking these sorts of things “don’t happen here”; that they are outside the realm of human experience; that they are symptoms of some great change in the nature of the people who surround us.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  These acts have been much more the norm than not throughout history, among all peoples and in all parts of the world.  No people can examine their history with honest eyes and not be forced to admit to murder, slavery, atrocity, genocide.  In fact, there are many places in the world where these kinds of brutality are occurring right now – as you read these words.

I am not advocating acceptance – these acts are unacceptable.  I am advocating honesty; sad honesty, but honesty nonetheless.  If we are honest about the sort of creatures we really are, the things we are capable of doing, then we can, perhaps, find ways to ease the pain and misery, both of the victims and the aggressors, before they bear their bitter fruit.

Full Disclosure

Once it has been spoken;
once the terrible truth has turned all sound to poison;
once the refuge of innocence is left behind
and even the desperate ploy of ignorance has been denied us;
what is left is knowledge; an unwelcome knowing;  a truth too terrible to own.

The random blows of catastrophe; the tidal waves and vortex winds;
the train wrecks that form the senseless backdrop of our precarious lives;
all these we meet with soothing words.  Our cherished myths of meaning,
our time-tested clichés are all designed to disarm the madness and the chaos that shadow all our days.

The horror of full disclosure; the knowledge of our neighbor’s capacity for deliberate depravity;
shatters the comfortable forever, strips away the soothing tales told to calm us on the threshold of darkness
and slip us, trusting, into sleep.

The horror of full disclosure destroys the lullaby promise
tears away the nursery myth of human decency and leaves us as we were born;
naked, cowering, shivering at the coming of the dark.

So, block the knowing, close your eyes, stop up your ears,
don your father’s armor against the seeds of madness.
Cling to your heavens and your hells, your gods and your justice.

Believe with all your might that horror is not random;
that right actions, old rituals, good intentions and magic words  can offer immunity;
That only the “others” are victims grazing, peacefully waiting for the wolves.

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4 Responses

  1. Interesting. Some good lines. Is love, compassion, virtue, courage, etc….have any significance? Where would those things belong in the horror? We are nothings. Specs.

    • Put down that mirror and see the truth
      outside the boundary of your eyes.
      Let go of useless thoughts
      of “how it is” and “what it means”.
      The universe exists, indifferent,
      to narrow, human dreams of order;
      and will exist, unruffled in its ceaseless change,
      when all the molecules that make our kind
      are motes of dust circling a fading star.

  2. “shatters the comfortable forever..” I like that. Nice poem, Sig. But I guess I do believe in random violence with no immunity for good intentions, rituals, or magic words.

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