I hope this doesn’t come across as tone deaf or dismissive. My heart breaks for Istanbul and the rest of this seemingly absurd universe. The innocent dead and wounded, the diameter of the bomb(s). There’s really nothing that can be said, done, or prayed on to restore what has been destroyed.
But I’m something of a relentless optimist. Hannah Arendt wrote about the banality of evil. I think ( a lot) about the banality of good. Evil people, like those that committed this most recent atrocity, have the “benefit” of doing “sensational” things. The truth is, that good people, decent people, humane and human people are constantly, relentlessly, and endlessly doing things that are far more powerful, transformational, impactful, and spectacular every second of every hour of every day.
Acts of violence, terrorism, destruction, and hatred are, in my humble opinion, not the beginning of a new era of human self-destruction. I obviously can’t say for certain, but I suspect they represent the end of that era. They’re the death rattle of emotionally abused, mentally deranged, psychopath, fundamentalist, desperate people who know (even if they don’t know it) that they’ve lost. In their slow but inevitable demise they’re sadly trying to take as many good people and as many functional structures of humanity and civilization with them as they possibly can. And they’re doing it with the only power that they seem to have left– sensational violence. The irony in their tactics that so many of us see is that each act of violence certainly brings with it tremendous pain and suffering, but it also evokes immeasurable goodness, non-violence, and human solidarity. Eventually there has to come a tipping point. Violence won’t beget more violence. Violence will beget goodness. We don’t need violence to bring goodness in the world, but the rise of goodness has, in my opinion, a certain inevitability. The evidence is all around us.
We may not see it in our day, and it is never going to heal the wounds or bring back the dead, but good is much more powerful, sensational, and abundant than evil. Thank God.
I don’t think I’m saying anything here that the rest of us don’t know. But I think we can all think about what stage in the cosmic and timeless battle of light and darkness we’re witnessing. I think, I pray, and I believe that it’s the end, not the beginning. And if it’s somewhere in the middle, then good people need to amplify our spectacular efforts and keep positive.