Springingtiger's Blog


Chapter 12: I See The Darkness
November 12, 2016, 23:40
Filed under: Health, Justice, Politics, Religion, Technology, Travel, Writing | Tags: , , , ,

(A shorter piece today, I have been travelling all day)

 

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Sitting alone in the cockpit looking out into the darkness playing Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen and pitching my smallness against the vastness outside the window. The music reminds me that however the empty and dark the void between galaxies nothing can be as dark, as empty or as lonely as a human soul. I have been in this place before, not physically, but emotionally. Sitting alone in the desert answering the howl of a lone wolf with the mournful note of my shenai.

As ever, regardless of the slaughter, I survived. I have fought Mongols and Moghuls, Tatars and Terrorists, and men of all colours and faiths. I watched the Crusaders rape and murder their way to Jerusalem and Aurangzeb glorying in the slaughter of holy men and innocents. It may not have been part of my curse, but I seem to have had a gift for being on the losing side of every conflict. I have looked into the darkness of the human soul and rarely found a soul that was as dark and cold as mine.

In a normal lifespan it is impossible to avoid actions that leave a man feeling guilty of ashamed. In a hundred thousand lifetimes imagine how many more regrettable, shameful deeds I have committed. I have made more mistakes and suffered more mistakes than most people have seen sunrises.

People feel that there is nothing worse than feeling guilt, shame, and embarrassment. The think that their life will be happy if they can look back from their death beds at their lives without feeling regret. I think the worst day of my life was when the guilt and shame died.

Perhaps I had killed once too often. Perhaps too many years of living among men. Perhaps an understanding that every ‘war to end all wars’ is nothing more than a prelude to the next. Perhaps a realisation that in the scales of history every single life carries very little weight, even the greatest historical figures – worth a book or two and perhaps statues – eventually fade into an undistinguished past and unconscious dismissal by later generations to whom they are irrelevant. I knew that shame had died and I shed not a tear of regret.

I was helping clear rebels from a village in the Congo. In one hut I found a terrified woman and her small daughter. I shot them because it was easier than trying to keep them alive. I was just about to torch the hut when our corporal Arnie Janssens asked me what I’d done. I told him and he was angry,

“Why did you do that?” He demanded, “We could have had some fun with them first!” I shot Janssens and felt no more than I had in the hut. I had become a monster. I had not become evil, evil requires a degree of malicious intent. I had become indifferent. The evil man is aware of the difference between right and wrong and chooses the darker path. Me, I just ceased to care and my choices based upon arbitrary expediency. The evil man feels malice…I felt nothing. It would be many lifetimes before I felt again.

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