We all believe to a person that human life has value, to some degree. We take this for granted and live our lives oblivious to the world and its harsh realities. I judge us harshly because our actions reveal the truth about us. Still the truth is surface. The truth is cursory. We are violent. We kill each other with abandon. We revel in murder, condemn it as a personal calculated action for personal gain, prosecute it as an act of malice or vengeance, and rationalize it as justifiable defense both personal and nationalistic. Still, I don’t condemn us in total. I believe in the brightness of humanity and the potency of our possibilities. I believe we are better than the actions of some.
However, on days like Friday December 14th, when one man can commit mass murder and press upon us a tragedy that breaks both heart and mind, I am made to question my belief. I become shaken. For me, the tragedy of such an incident only adds to the despair I sometimes feel for all humanity, as we imbibe on the inane and give our hearts over to candy-colored entertainment, and empty ambition. I fret over a societal model that places profit over humanity, and celebrity over critical human endeavors that move humankind forward. We laugh at the mathematician, and ridicule the scientist, and shake our heads in mystery at the engineer, make gleeful use of the tools their minds create, and with those very same tools elevate and worship the celebrity that lives for the photographer, revels in the sound of fabricated drama, generates empty profit, and unfortunately produces very little of true value.
We are upside down.
The sum of today’s society adds to what is as old as humanity itself. The value of human life extolled and held up as a virtue, priceless to a person, versus human life as a worthless commodity, to be ended with impunity based on purpose. The agenda defines who has value. The profit defines the life’s worth.
Today in Newton, Connecticut 26 people were murdered by a man who may have lost his mind. What was his purpose? Who was this man? Why did he feel the need to kill 18 children and 8 adults? Why? We are horrified, as we should be. However, if we are to grow from this incident, if we are to grow from the other incidents, if we are to truly aspire to live in a society that does not watch horror unfold as little lives are snuffed out by madmen, then we must consider the truth of who we are as human beings, what kind of world we created, and think honestly about how we can remedy what has gone so tragically wrong, and been wrong since creation. For if we look outside our borders at the rest of the world, we will see a truth about ourselves that we don’t often consider.
Look at our wide world, and consider us all in total, and see the value of human life as we truly assess it. Realize that the truth is we are horrifying as a rule, but we can and must aspire to be better. As great as our accomplishments are so too are our tragedies. The lives of children are snuffed out readily, sold for profit, sold for sustenance, sold for slavery, sold for sex. Humanity is the evil we seek to hide from, and only when we realize our fundamental truth, that to be the bright beings we should be we must recognize the horror of our potential and move past our pettiness to prosperity and value for all human beings … only when we actively begin to do this, we will become what I believe we were meant to be, human beings.