Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light …

Dylan Thomas wrote the poem I quote as my title about the death of his father; felt that the end of life should not be accepted quietly.

I think that about the world we live in today and how “the light” — what used to make life good and worth living and sharing with others — seems to be dying. I think about the young man who shot the pastor in Illinois yesterday. Or the recent shootings here in Cleveland — the young men in the park or the family on the East Side. Even something as simple the common (and dangerous) discourtesy in how people drive. Just so much of the life I had growing up and which I took for granted as my right is gone irretrievably, it seems to me. And I want to rage against it. Or I would, if I thought it would make a difference.

I’m not naive. Some anger is bound to come out given the current economic environment. Every day, I hold my breath, waiting for someone who has lost their job to strike back, and every day, I thank the Lord it hasn’t happened. We are part of a culture that, if not glorifying virtual blood, gore and hatred, shrugs its shoulders at video games and movies that do. Many people are submerged in these things, and it’s not a big step from detaching yourself via media such as these to detaching yourself from real people and real life. When you achieve that, it’s an even easier step to take what you want without feeling anything about those you take it from, whether it’s their position in traffic, their money or their lives. I remember seeing a part of a 48 Hours on CBS a while back. One young man who was involved in a plot to kill his friends’ parents and siblings said it was easy — that they weren’t people.

We know more about what goes on around the country and the world these days because of the ‘Net and the nearly global coverage. Sometimes that’s good. And it’s also likely we know more of these events because of that. But it really IS naive to believe that’s the whole answer. There are simply more of these things than there used to be — more anger, more cynicism, more detachment about others, with the end result being violence of all stripes. The light in our culture is in danger of dying — and that is worth raging against — and praying about.

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