Archives for category: World War II

Where do we turn knowing that the world we have inherited may not support our continued existence? It is much too late to go back and take a different path, one that might have seemed unbearably difficult to navigate at the time. The path we did take, however, led right into what we thought was a walled garden. Vines covered the bars on the windows, masking the garden’s real function. We’ve been locked in for so long, we now mistake the vines for the bars.

Having time to reflect on our situation, however, we can begin to understand our imprisonment. We are imprisoned not only by our choices but by the existing systems that we are brought up with. We can change personally but still can’t shake the feeling of being imprisoned, knowing that our own refusal to accept the system that runs the prison does not affect its continued operation. That often leaves us only one place to turn.

“…links between mythology and vision make for mechanisms of remembrance and prediction, fiction and representation, repression and categorization, which are at the core of humanity’s self-perception and sense of identity. Materially nowhere, utopia fills the mind; a site of infinite fantasy, it can also trigger limitless destruction.” (Bartov, p. 148)

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What happens when humans bombard the planet into an entirely different state of being? Do we own up to our participation in the destruction or do we go on with our lives under the new circumstances, adapting to our changed environment? What is the defining factor of our response: powerlessness, guilt, shame?

Germany Year Zero (1948)

We only have to go back as far as World War II for some answers. It marked a turning point in human history when our ability to destroy each other became absolute. In a matter of hours, we could undo billions of years of biological life striving to adapt to an ideal planetary environment. The stage was set; we were just waiting for the play to begin. Read the rest of this entry »