Seeing Martin Lee Anderson’s death on video really struck a cord with me. Those involved are obviously guilty of gross negligence, and they passed their exam at the trial by what amounts to an apology and a pointed hand at the system. For if the law allowed these employees to force youths to physical exertion and use of ammonia, the apology goes, how could it be their fault. It took a jury 90 minutes to eat the apology and find them not guilty. By the same token, if the law allowed people to carry loaded and cocked guns casually about the place, I presume there would be no penury of accidents to blame on the system and of souls to exonerate.
We’ve got no moral impasse here, just rules mandated by a higher force (point your finger at the system for me) and that we all abide by; and why not, don’t we have to? Jolly good, then. Moving on.
Not so fast. You, my friend, are a member of a corrupt, expansive society that has mandated its own moral code on us all, a juggernaut moving inexorably in relentless growth, engulfing the planet and stampeding those who cannot keep pace with its Game. You are ignorant and comfortable in being so, for, as long as you can play the game and can look around and see that there are still less fortunate souls crawling this meek Earth, you get sort of a warm and fuzzy feeling in your heart and life looks nice. And you don’t owe any apologies to anyone either, you epitome of verticality! Your moral code saves you from it, tucks you away in your shroud of bred ignorance so that you can continue to function, a piece in the mechanism of a clock that has to pointlessly tick, tick, tick to its own measure. You’re not above that mandated code of morality, you poor fish in the ocean, cause nobody told you that you could evolve to live outside the sea and reach the land.
You make this society.
In those rare moments in which your mind tells you that something about this place is amiss, you must no doubt wonder what you could do to change things. Your fear of different ways of living notwithstanding, you are vexed by the impotence you experience in trying to answer this millennium question. Where would you even start changing things? And this conundrum serves to tame your thoughts and reassure you that this heretic preaching you’re reading must be just malformed thoughts sprung from a foul, lamenting mouth, and that everything is just fine.
I don’t know the best place to start changing things. Surprisingly, the act of noticing a problem does not always offer a solution. That said, I believe a society as polarized as ours cannot change its bad ways in less than generations. So you can start to defeat your nature-given shortsightedness and taught ignorance by teaching your children that this is not the Époque d’Or of man’s life on earth, but a society with many, many faults. Teach your children less competition and more harmony with nature. Not too much, lest they risk shunning the ways of society entirely and compromising their place in an organism they will need for lack of any other, and not too little, like now, lest we all risk another millennium of ignorance or a precipitous doom to our species. Plant in them a different meme than that which you’re tending to now.
When the Inquisition burned Giordano Bruno at the stake, its agents felt entitled to do so as instruments of God. And they acted within the confines of a moral code that seemed fullproof at the time. But history showed them and their moral code wrong and self-serving. Theirs was an act of murder. In this the apex of our life thus far, our agents continue to murder innocent people because our moral codes allow them to. After all, those dead misfits have got it coming to them for their inability to keep pace with the Game. No more. You are guilty of first degree ignorance and history will judge you in absentia, in part or in bulk, for this sacrilegious act. Do not let yourself be just another part in the mechanism of society. Stop caring about yourself and invest more interested thoughts in your children’s future. Put that in your mind for a todo, for if there’s a way anything can happen, well by God it must begin with people putting it in their mind.
And of course, a sincere apology for my vicarious participation in this society’s darker deeds goes to all the Martin Lee Andersons of this world.