On Human Evil

Lines Written After Witnessing Yet More Scenes of Genocide/ War/ Massacre on TV

O my beloved dogs and gentle horses,
my squirrels in the trees,
my thousand singing birds,
my badgers and my foxes,
my sweet herds and sheep:
help me find the courage, if you can
to look upon the nightmare
countenance of man, and ask…
if the boots
of all the soldiers
killed on the battlefields
throughout history
had been left as hides of cattle,
and the metal of their spears,
guns and missiles
had either remained in the earth
or been used for ploughshares,
would those who go to war
now be such brutes?
or would those see the worth
of one cow
and that of a thousand generals?

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4 Replies to “On Human Evil”

  1. War actually makes me believe that human being is, in some ways, less evolved than other creatures. Do we see genocide, meaningless killings among animals of the forest? Human beings are unusual in this – is it negative evolution?

  2. It was William Blake who wrote:

    To see a world in a grain of sand,
    And a heaven in a wild flower,
    Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
    And eternity in an hour.

    Since then society has made little attempt to follow Blake’s vision. Our time is, perhaps, the only time in which Blake can be finally understood and appreciated. But Blake wasn’t alone there’s Walt Whitman, Rumi and many others. I feel that the reason the world is at world (with itself) is in part because we ignored poets like Blake and Rumi. There are of course other more complicated political justifications for conflict and war, but I would say that man needs to look within himself to see some capacity of peace before embarking on the path of peace.

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