Monday, May 30, 2005

A few thoughts from after hours

When you come upon a man with nothing to eat, who is starving for nourishment, would you feed him? When you come upon the fearful, one terrified of the very world, would you comfort them?

These are the questions I ask myself late at night, knowing that the answer is never that simple. To many, the answers are simple at night. Everyone's asleep and there's no opposition. You can think and speak freely, even if it's just to yourself. But for some of us it is never that simple. The lingering memories of past arguments, failed communications and general, persistent human denseness seep in after dark and everywhere you see the blackened windows of those who'd answer "yes" but act "no". This is the world we live in and it's always been that way.

A few days ago I posted a message board comment about the nature of Hell, about where the idea of perdition comes from. It began literal with a cursed place, Gai-Ben-Hinnom, a place where refuse was burned...along with dead criminals. It was turned into Gehenna by the Greeks and Hell by those who came after, and somewhere lost in the mix was the truth of it, the idea of Hell being a real place, a place to punish those in this world by denying them the basic respect given to the dead. No Cocytus, no Styx...just a trash heap. The punishment for the dead, however, has become the damnation of the living. Hell exists in the head, the fearful reminder of social condemnation for sins real or imagined. In short, social evolution over the past millennia has succeeded in turning a trash heap into a mythological pit of torment. So much for rational advancement of our species.

These are the sort of things I think about when the hands of the clock meet and the hours fall behind the minutes. Not myself, not my loved ones...just the cold, darkened world laid bare under the moonlight.