Be the Best You Can Be

After reading this BBC story late Sunday, I had to devote more time than usual to my breathing and relaxation exercises. In fact, I spent so long relaxing my muscles that I actually fell asleep on the floor, and woke up tense.

I even spent several hours playing around with the new iPhoto trying to put together a slide show on Hummingbirds, but I still couldn’t get it off my mind.

When I woke up this morning I was still haunted by the article.

When I realized I probably had to write about it in order to purge myself of the anger I was feeling, the first thing to come to mind was this Yeats’ poem that I’ve referred to earlier:

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

This is Moral Anarchy.

We pretend to believe in freedom and JUSTICE for all, yet can justify locking up Muslims who were fighting for their country for years in cages in Guantanmo without a trial, but, after a jury convicts marines of executing innocent Iraqis, a Marine General, obviously following his Commander and Chief’s example, pardons those convicted.

Surely the “blood-dimmed tide is loosed upon the world, and everywhere/The ceremony of innocence is drowned; /The best lack all conviction, while the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity.”

8 thoughts on “Be the Best You Can Be

  1. It boggles the mind. And yet, I know people who are blind to the evidence, and retaliate against those who question what we are doing with vitriol and flag waving, and pledge that, given the chance, they’d kill as many Iraqis as they could and wouldn’t weep one tear, all because of 9/11. One of them is my former mother-in-law, a white-haired lady in her 70s who might otherwise be called sweet. If that isn’t scary, what is?

  2. Since you picked Yeats as a jumping off place in this case, it seems natural to quote him again in this comment: while his history poems (like Lapis Lazuli) put things in an almost mythological frame, he also has an elightened view about the nature of cruelty, as in THE GREAT DAY:
    Hurrah for revolution and more cannon-shot!
    A beggar upon horseback lashes a beggar on foot.
    Hurrah for revolution and cannon come again!
    The beggars have changed places, but the lash goes on.”

    I’d like to believe I’d be better than the beggar (or the marines). But I may lack the self control that would require. But I’ve been known to yell at the President while taking my shower, “You’re an idiot!”

  3. For sure…

    “Now days are dragon-ridden, the nightmare
    Rides upon sleep: a drunken soldiery
    Can leave the mother, murdered at her door,
    To crawl in her own blood, and go scot-free…”
    (Nineteen Hundred And Nineteen)

    And yet…

    “Considering that, all hatred driven hence,
    The soul recovers radical innocence
    And learns at last that it is self-delighting,
    Self-appeasing, self-affrighting,
    And that its own sweet will is Heaven’s will…”
    (A Prayer For My Daughter)

    A fervent hope for the future. As so often Yeats says it best…

What do you think?