By Emily Rosen
Don’t you just want to throw a shoe at the cable news programs on TV these days? Regardless of your political preferences, the bulk of what we get is killing, savagery, partisan ravings, nit picking at insignificant nonsense, and how long can we prolong a “gaff” story. I know, I know, there’s still no law preventing us from clicking the power-off button, and I find myself doing that more and more often. But it’s the killing and savagery part that continues to haunt me – on screen, in print or dining discussions. And I’m thinking that so much of the casual killing that is in current trend began with the Big Bang of 1945, which is surely not to say that killing hasn’t existed since the dawn of time.
I just finished reading the intriguing, “The Wives of Los Alamos,” by Tarashea Nesbit. The title tells all and the ending was no surprise. The original small group of scientists and their wives, and families, were holed up for two years basically incognito, as the atom bomb was a-birthing. And then it was dropped — not once, but twice — causing incalculable horror, and producing a seismic change in the way foreign policy is conducted. Oh yes, it ended World War II and saved many lives, we were told. But hordes of people were haunted by the apocalyptic event and questioned the morality of this monstrous creation.
A Marine Corps officer wrote in Sunday’s New York Times about giving an order to kill a young boy who was seen at a distance in a battlefield to be digging into the ground, while holding an unknown object in his hand. Was he planting a grenade? Could he give the kid the benefit of a doubt? Did he have time to weigh the pros and cons? No. He gave the order to kill. But he was haunted by his action and questioned the morality of his deed.
And of course, The American Sniper had bouts of haunting misgivings despite the demands of survival, as he expertly plied his “trade.”
As I see it, the good people on this earth are living through a collective unconscious state regarding “killing.” Collective unconscious is a term of analytical psychology, coined by Carl Jung. It is proposed to be a part of the unconscious mind, expressed in humanity … and describes how the structure of the psyche autonomously organizes experience. Jung distinguished the collective unconscious from the personal unconscious, in that the personal unconscious is a personal reservoir of experience unique to each individual, while the collective unconscious collects and organizes those personal experiences in a similar way with each member of a particular species.
Slowly, and with each killing that we rationalize as being in self defense, the reluctance to take another life eases, becomes more acceptable, less immoral. We defer to Darwin, in the name of survival.
Is this as disturbing you as it is to me? We are fighting a true enemy of the mind and for a set of what we consider to be moral values — but when do WE feel forced, in essence, to become THEM?
I’m going back to Turner Classic Movies — the musicals!