Anne stopped short of swinging a last uncalculated blow. She wasn’t quite sure what stayed her hand from the final punctuation of what started in her mind as righteous retribution for an unforgivable act. Enveloped in blind emotion and flailing arms, the torrent lasted for what seemed like hours but was actually a few short moments. When it was over she took a few deep breaths and stared blankly at the quivering hunk of child at her feet – her flesh and blood – though in that moment it was neither child, nor her flesh and blood. It didn’t have a name – it was inanimate – a blank canvas on which to paint her rage. A rage born of the poison vapors of broken trusts and betrayals on which her vision of reality was formed – so many years prior… A rage that surfaced as an absurd attempt to once again purge the memories far too painful to taste again – a rage she desperately wanted to crush in her more reasoned moments but had no concept of how to harness much less subdue. At the same time she embraced the passionate futility of reliving the very angst she was trying to forget, she passed the same toxins to her child through the social umbilical cord that once fed her now wounded and misshapen psyche.
So many places in the world are known concentrations of injustices like the one just described. Some are far more subtle forms of rape and dehumanization, but none the less destructive and none the less able to ripple through our collective body of life. It is not a casual undertaking to recognize the full extent of the happenings that cultivate and perpetuate our collective self-inflicted wounds and starvation.
One of the ideas we must grasp if we are to actually remedy the vicious cycle is that blame is an unreal ghost that – if anything – runs through us and not to us – we far more often become toxic expressions toward life because we are carried on the currents of our toxic local culture and not because we were ever in a place to knowingly and willingly make choices. While this fact doesn’t eliminate the need to subdue destructive elements within our midst, it does reveal that a crime and punishment mentality perpetuates destructive behavior and is useless as healing and nourishment agents which are required to address the real wounds and starvation that drive such misery. This idea is not easy to hold on to when some injustice comes our way, especially when it happens to the likes of an innocent child, but the depth perception and constancy of purpose required to actually move humanity toward a better state of being must have this deeper field of view.
While apathy toward injustice is violence disguised as sleep, responding to injustice with further injustice makes us our own enemy, and that is the greatest injustice of all.