Several years ago I was making a gift for a friend who was turning 30. The gift was a time capsule box in which friends and family would put pictures and memories. We had a lot of good stuff in there. On the outside of the box I drew a timeline from the year my friend was born to the present year and included all of the major events that happened each year. In doing this I went back through 30 years of history and realized something that I should have already been aware of - we've been fighting the same war for my entire lifetime. Or at least, some version of the same war over the same religions and the same resources. It was a moment of Orwellian recognition. "Crap," I thought. "This sucks." But the world is huge! So maybe it's best to ignore what is listed on Wikipedia and focus on the beauty and the happiness that can be found in humanity versus the fear.
But the thing is...it feels like there have been more attacks in the last five years that ever before. Attacks in cities, at concerts, in public, attacks at schools. So this is becoming a new normal and we're stretched to find the empathy to process it as it occurs so frequently. Malcolm Gladwell writes an excellent, albeit terrifying piece on the normalization of violence in a recent New Yorker article.
I don't know...there are so many people living in this world. And everyone is cooking something different for dinner, scoffing at those pants their friend is wearing, hugging their crush in the park, running away from home, running back home, fighting with a friend, praying inside a building or outside in front of the old wall of a temple, wishing, feeding a dog in the street, calling their parents. We're all just human. But hearing about the attacks in Paris yesterday, remembering attacks in Spain, all over the US, in so many places, it feels like that humanity is being taken away. Removed layer by layer until there is an exposed core that wants to protect itself above all else. My greatest goal in life is to avoid becoming cynical. Man, that's tough sometimes..