Empty Days

Thursday, February 19, 2004



Confession II

Now is the time for my second unpalatable confession. Long belated - the puter burned down on me minutes after the first one. So I don't know what will happen to the machine I am using now - hopefully it will be spared.

***

I am partly responsible for the death of another person. Partly - because it was going down-hill for her anyway. Partly - because I was put in her path and through my stupidity did not think twice before jumping in and lending a hand. But my hand was not enough - all of me was required. I got scared and opted out. Without looking back, without mercy. I felt guilty for a while. Now I can't even feel guilt - it's beyond my grasp in many ways.

***

The rational point of view is always the same: in any case I couldn't do anything. The irrational pov is always the same: of course I could.

My confession does not concern the fate of that other person directly - because I understand very little of that fate. It concerns the fact that I cannot resolve the two contradictory points of view - both are right to an extent I can't appreciate.

The rational take removes guilt and lays down familiar boundaries. The irrational one opens up the sort of perspective that is truly frightening - I can't accept that it should be true, yet I know it is true. Why must I know it?

***

To speak another language. I would like to say that my worst sin against all life, including my own, is neither pride nor vanity nor arrogance - it is fear.

I can't resolve that contradiction because of fear.

No matter how far away from life I tried to pull myself, still I managed to cause another's hatred and death. This is beyond my grasp at the moment - I think of myself as harmless. Indeed I am. Except for the fact that I live.

It was demonstrated to me, clearly and decisively, that the truth is with the second proposition. It has nothing to do with being morally responsible. It requires fearlessness. I refuse to know it.

***

The fear of another's suffering is greater than the fear of one's own suffering. The true good does not consist in doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. It consists in fearlessness. I refuse to know it.
Guilt is unforgiving. It is an extension of fear.

***

Parable from real life, harder than my own. This happened in Bosnia, during the Balkan wars. A man was working as a translator with the UN forces there. When the enemy came, the UN base had to be moved in earnest. They had to abandon the local population to their fate. A selected few were given the right to leave with the UN forces. Among them the translator. In the last moments his family (father, mother and young sister) came to the gates of the UN base - the translator begged the UN commander to take them in. But the commander refused adamantly, on the grounds that they were not accredited at the base. The translator left with the UN forces. He never saw his family again - most likely they were murdered with the others.

Moral of the parable as known by the translator in the depths of his heart: I didn't try hard enough.





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