What Reason Is There In Violence?
There are times when life’s ends are so raveled that reason and sense cry out that we stop and gather them together again before we can proceed.
Shuddering in the aftermath of the bombings in Boston, we ask unanswerable questions. Some will be answered in time. Some never will—not fully. The question, why? purses our lips and furrows our brows. We may discover a semblance of reasons—perhaps anger, frustration, childhood abuse, disaffection, or untreated mental sickness will be given causal credence. Still, no full answer can be posited. Our capacity for reasoning is swift, but even our oversized brains balk when asked to account for violence.
We pray that the call of violence be anathema to our human sensibility, but too often—with too much precision and far too much intent—violence overtakes human action, obliterates human life, and threatens human accord. “Why?” Job asked the whirlwind that had taken so much of his precious life. “Why?” asks the young Siddhartha Buddha before he discovered the centrality of suffering in life. “Why?” ask the victims of a society like ours that keeps errupting in outbursts of terror. Our whys fall on the deafening silence of our unknowing.
How do we respond? I shared a note just after the attacks in Boston asking us to give our attention to the what, to the reality that humans with inherent worth a… More...