Karl (louderback) wrote,

  • Mood:

I've been out of it for a while


I follow a number of other Journals on LJ and was inexplicably moved by a phrase contained in one.

"My mom came home today and said we were at war."

I know nothing of the individual who recorded those words and want to stress that what I have to say has nothing to do with the young man in question. I read his journal because I enjoy it and fancy that he is possessed of a strong intellect. He has put forth some insights that I find quite good. I say again, what follows has nothing to do with that person, just with that entry.

I don't know if those words were recorded as they were for dramatic effect or not but their effect on me was dramatic, indeed.

I, at first, thought nothing of it — quite literally nothing. My eyes skipped by it and it was not until I had seen the entry for the third or fourth time (on re-checking my "friends" list for new entries) that I really paid them attention. The words, had an ängstlich (is there an English word for that?) character that is usually a quick way to get me to ignore them. I've raised several sons through their teenage years and have had quite enough of angst, thank you. That it is a quality of young men in their teens is almost universally accepted and the sort of Byronic despair that so many experience is something of which I have quite a lot of experience both as a parent and as an ängstlich despairing young man. I remember those days and feel deep empathy with those still experiencing them.

As I say, I know not why the words were recorded as they were nor what effect the writer intended. On me, however, the effect has been one that has shocked my own sensibilities. What a black phrase! How full of imagined circumstances, of gut-loaded images, of symbols, and of horrors imagined. It is difficult to imagine a message more dire than "we are at war."

It gave me a bad case of the shudders. I have been depressed about it since. I can't tell you precisely why. The knowledge that we are at war does not terrify me and the consequences of that fact do not leave me especially unnerved. Certainly I find myself concerned and more than a little apprehensive of some events that I am certain will occur in days to come. I am confident to the point of certainty that there will be attacks involving disease or poison gas. I am certain that there will be an explosion periodically for the next few years. Horrible this is, but insupportable it is not. What bothers me is that I need to think of these things at all. How sad that all those apocalyptic visions of the future are so nearly true.

I've always preferred those science fiction stories where the world has gone sane after countless centuries of uncivilized behavior.

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