Thursday, June 11, 2009

the long shadow

in the last couple of months i've written several times about torture, or at least, my own feelings as i try to find a sense of faith (beyond despair) in human goodness or perhaps of what the place for G-D is in all of this mess there is... knowing that being a decent human being is something i fall far short of all too often and that being human, i am not beyond the capacity for violence, as much as i desire to live in peace...

i think this will be helpful... Speaking of Faith: the long shadow of torture

Rejali's immersion in 40 years of social scientific research also yields the plain, unsettling message that these men and women who have perpetrated torture were probably not sadists, not just a "few bad apples" who defied the norm. The demonstrated if shocking norm of human behavior is that at least half of us are capable of inflicting harm on another human being under orders, in the right circumstances, with the right kind of authority behind the orders. [...]

Whether you call it "enhanced interrogation" or "torture," it profoundly traumatizes the lives and societies of those who experienced it and those who perpetrated it. Coming to terms with these human consequences will be the work not of days but of years and generations. For we know that in our lives, both individual and collective, traumas that we do not face will continue not merely to haunt but to define us. - from krista's journal: Facing the Malleability of Human Nature
(italics my own)

Our generation is realistic, for we have come to know man as he really is. After all man is that being who invented the gas chambers at Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered the gas chambers upright, with the Lord's Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips.
- Victor E. Frankl; Man's Search for Meaning (1946)


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