Monday, May 02, 2011

on bin laden and being human

Do I feel like dancing about it? No. The feeling is quieter and darker and grander. Profound grim visceral satisfaction, and something like awe. My reaction may not be coming from the finest part of my nature, but I'm not concerned about that at the moment. It's story, writ large. The shock and grief and fallout of the plot point on 9/11, and the felt weight of an answer on 5/1. Not the answer. An answer. Something direct, finally, that spoke right to the wound.

The rightness of a full circle. The narrative isn't left dangling, the story feels - rationally or not - less senseless. The physics is right, too. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Yes. YES. Gratitude for when that looks or feels true.

Whatever this gives to the families who lost loved ones that day, I endorse wholeheartedly. Some kind of dark, deserved exultation.

And there's the feeling of connectedness - all of our enormous combined attention moving to the same place - that happens when something truly historic takes place. The grand feeling might have something to do with all of our consciousnesses linking up for a moment. That we're all forever located in time together in some concentrated way.

And there's the pure, mind-boggling appreciation for the execution of an incredibly difficult task. The ferocity and elegance of the maneuver. Hot damn.

I know that this feeling isn't the best we can do. I know that exulting over a death isn't what some people might call God consciousness. I grant that, I agree with that. But this is human with a capital H. It's dark, light, high, low, sorrow, glee, anger. The most eternally human mix. There's something right in not disavowing this other part of ourselves, the part that creates all the story in the world. There is no resolution without conflict.

So in a reverse "Namaste", the human in me salutes the human in us all, and I'm savoring this feeling while it lasts.


Anonymous said...

Etsaman & Nema. Let him work his way back to human once again. It was about time he started his karmic repayment plan.

Anonymous said...

Consider this then when you say that this may come from a darker part of yourself.

Bin Laden's actions resulted in suffering and death for countless people. Either by the creation of fear, or of infliction of harm.

If you truly believe in the concept of karma and the perfection of spirit, then his death now is a joyous thing. For it ends this cycle of his being and prevents him from doing yet more damage to himself. Now he can be reborn in a lower form and try once more to break free from the cycle of pain and suffering. If he'd been allowed to continue, he'd have wrought more harm upon himself from his evil acts. At least now he might seek to redeem himself. Yes?

Tina Rowley said...

I see your point completely, Anonymous. And I do believe in those things. However, joy is one of those things that can't be dictated, isn't it? It arises or it doesn't.

To recognize the workings of karma, if that's what we're looking at, is one thing. That's not the dark part. For me, joy is a purer flavor than this kind of meaty satisfaction. This has blood lust in it, and it's nice to try to hook it onto the star of karma and perfection of spirit - and it may well tie itself perfectly to that star, all by itself. But I'm isolating the impulse in myself, and I can tell you that the quality of mercy is not present. The exultation I felt was darker, thicker, more embodied. (And - for the moment - it has passed.)

And when I transfer that notion of karma and perfection of spirit to the idea of a loved one receiving painful comeuppance for something horrible they'd done, even a deserved comeuppance, there's no joy there. Just sorrow at how much we still have to learn.

Tina Rowley said...

The purest feeling I can isolate (or the highest?) is some kind of wonder or reverence at witnessing something large, and an accompanying sense of the narrowness of my vantage point. A nod to history, a bow to a greater force, and then the impulse is to be quiet and stand aside.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #1 here again. I had the same kind of initial, fist pumping reaction. Given time to reflect, however, I'd like this quote to be my official position. MLK puts it more succinctly than I can.

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate" - MLK JR.

Unknown said...

No, I never felt any of that, and the fact that it is well written doesn't change it for me. I don't know how anyone can feel anything good or satisfying from a cycle of violence like this. It is a somber moment, a moment that maybe had to come, for some people. For me there is grief that all of it, any of it, ever happened. In me, there is a prayer that we will learn how not to answer hate with hate, suffering with more suffering. That each one of us will find our own paths to freedom from feelings, thoughts and behaviors that create pain for other people.

Tina Rowley said...

I respect that, Pegeen. And I'd be happier to report that that your reaction was my sole reaction, but it wouldn't have been honest.

Marcheline said...

Hi Tina,

Just wanted you to know that I spent the last three days (every spare minute thereof, rather) reading your blog from the first post to the most recent.

As the Vicomte de Valmont (John Malkovich) wrote from his rather fleshy desk in Dangerous Liaisons, "I have been tossed from exhaustion to exhilaration and back again".

To say "I love you" right off the bat would be a bit forward and create that awkward pause. So instead I will say I love your brain, your heart, the way you think, the way you write. And I will be back to read whatever shoots out of your fingertips next.

Feel free to come over and wander around in my brain a bit if you need a vacation from your own.


Tina Rowley said...

Marcheline! Please forgive me for taking a while to respond to this wonderful comment. I was abashed by its loveliness. So kind! (And it's funny - when I read your comment, I'd just been writing about Valmont, incidentally, elsewhere. I love it when that happens.) I'm so touched by what you said, and I visited your blog right away, and I shall return. Thank you for coming here and thank you so much for that enormous compliment. My word.

gusDon said...

A deep feeling of loss of weight .... Whatever the step after the events of 9/11 was to deal with feelings of losing it ....
Life is always unpredictable though sometimes in front of many events that we do not want to happen ...
But I believe God is always good!