Fighting Indifference, pt. 1

“The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them,”

George Bernard Shaw



The gunman stood at the window looking out over the crowded streets below. Bobby paused from typing and surveyed the situation. Could he make a break for the door? What happens if he refuses to type? Maybe, he would simply charge and tackle the man, sending him crashing through the window to the street below. Something akin to an action hero would certainly do the trick. Then again, there was that gun. Knives are considered rather personal, guns seems so cold and impersonal. A sniper can shoot a complete stranger from a great distance and still remain seated at that great distance. Stabbings, though, happen at close range amongst people who can know each other. Guns seem to prevent struggles. In that case, so do bombs, missiles, torpedoes, and nuclear weapons. When a rather large bomb is dropped, there is nothing really personal about it; it simply means that people will die. We have simply become too efficient at hurting each other.

“You want out of here, don’t you?” said the gunman.
“Yes, sir, I do.”
Neither man moved and to Bobby’s surprise, the gunman never even looked over at him.

Fantasy - A door to reality that's closing, and why we should keep it open

This past weekend, as part of our plans to insulate our attic bedroom, I was searching out the “art” part of the project and stumbled upon these lovely works from England.  They’re part of folklore, fairy tale genre that hints at a different world – they’re not the world itself, but just a hint of it, a marker pointing us in a direction beyond what we can touch, taste, and feel in this here and now.  As Lewis says, they are “only the scent of flower we have not found, the hint of a tune we have not heard, the news from a country we have never visited.” Lewis proposes that our love of fairy tales reveals that we’re made for more than this life, more than buying and selling, living and dying, watching Glee and filling our our March Madness bracket.  He proposes that the fairy tales themselves point towards another part of our world, invisible yet real.

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The Red Elephant (Part One)

I don’t remember the other animals. Only the elephant.

Over my mattress and my baby blankets, a mobile slowly revolved, drawing a merry-go-round of animal shapes to a jingling nursery tune. Without a word in my head, without names to call my parents, without any capacity to help myself, I lay there, wide-eyed and drooling, watching for the Red Elephant to float by again. And again.

It was hypnotic, mysterious — this parade of pillowed characters in primary colors, drifting around and and around. And every time the Red Elephant came around, with his jolly smile and his dark shiny eyes, I felt a surge of desire and reached with all of my might to grab for it.

When I was old enough to wrap my fingers around crayons, I went for the reds. I scribbled shapes with jolly smiles and dark, shining eyes. I wanted now to go beyond reaching for and seizing the Idea that had triggered something in me. I wanted to become a part of it. I wanted to ponder it through the vigorous act of imitation. By focusing on particular parts — a body, a nose, an eye — I was familiarizing myself with elements that were Important.

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