Saturday, August 25, 2007

Dark Night Of The Soul

President Bush is (once more) drawing heat over his comparison of an Iraq withdrawal to Vietnam. We all should cringe to think about the consequences the President suggests would happen, should we pull out before stability in the country is attained.

Even so, the reminder bites. Those who remember Vietnam, also remember that cause as the beginning of an era that has divided the country to this day. Using lessons not learned won't mend any fences and pull the country together, when it comes to those who believe in the cause and would fight and those who don't and won't the division will remain intact. In this instance, using history as a club to instill unity through fear of the unknown won't work. History is subject to being reviewed with present day views and opinions.

"Remember the Alamo" worked for awhile to unite, but with the Tex-Mex border as it is today that battle cry is a new slogan for everything it didn't stand for with the present day invasion that floods the border. Regardless of how horrifically detailed the history of the Holocaust was, modern day interpretation based on present day perspectives hasn't united the world against genocide, if anything it has become a source of inspiration by those supremacist's (religious or political) seeking to justify their cause. What it proved to them was it could be done and the lesson to be learned they take away from history is that supremacy can be obtained if it is done more ruthlessly and on an even larger scale.

When using history as a means to justify one's cause, the inevitable will occur. No cause will ever be won by reviewing past lessons learned. Regardless of the case in point, regardless of historical documentation without bias, individual perception will twist history to accommodate that individual's belief system. The only history lesson learned here is that history can and most probably will be repeated because of that uniquely human quality of intelligence combined with a soul, which allows us all to take away from life's lessons a rationalized view of things that personally we can live with.

In Mother Teresa's self description of her personal belief system, she described over 40 years of persevering amongst the worst conditions that mankind has wrought upon itself, as the "dark night of the soul". Even though she led a life in service to God, she lamented that internally His light never entered her soul during that time. She was the wick and the flame to multitudes, yet her body, her soul, her vessel remained as dark as the inside of a metal oil lamp. Hers may not be a historical lesson, but instead is a prime example of individual perception being the base of purpose. She strove to do God's work, rationalizing that darkness as a motivator to do more.

I suspect the dark night of the soul that Mother Teresa described may be the one common denominator that mankind shares. When looking to the past for any kind of inspiration, the times past mark history with many such as herself who were a light in the darkness for many, but who also privately questioned themselves and their own abilities (they doubted) which inspired them to levels of motivation most of us can only dream of. The childhood song goes "this little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine...", not I'm gonna see it shine. So even though we doubt (and we all do) others see, what we can't.

Historically speaking, someday President Bush will be remembered as a flame or an inflammation. This, like everything else mentioned here, is going to be a judgment made of individual perception. One thing that could unite us, even if history lessons won't, is to let our own lights shine.

Let them shine, let them shine, let them shine...

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posted by Is It Just Me? at 8:09 AM