Wednesday, January 04, 2006

"How do you build a society in which everyone is a victim?"

Comment heard in an NPR report on "Morning Edition."

No, gossip and rumour and specious importance and apathetic envy become a surrogate for both this and that. Individuals do not turn in inwardness towards themselves and away from each other, nor outwards in unanimity over an idea, but towards each other in crippling and disheartened, tactless, levelling reciprocity. The idea passage is blocked. The individuals are at cross-purposes with themselves and each other, the selfish and the mutually reflected opposition is like a quagmire -and now one is sitting in it. In joy's stead steps a kind of whimpering discontent, in sorrow's stead a kind of stubborn, surly staying-power, in enthusiasm's stead a loquacious worldly wisdom.
This is the description of our age. If I am offended by someone, anyone, I have a right to redress. The "system" may work, intentional and serious people may take hold of the levers of power, but my complaint is all that is needed to set the wheels in motion.

The system assumes that the complaint has gravitas, and responds accordingly, because the outcome of the process is so serious it was long ago agreed it would not be engaged unless the issue was equally serious. But if that check is removed, if that stay on reaction is recalled, the system is out of balance, and the mills of God begin to grind exceeding small in exceeding small matters.

If everyone is a victim deserving of redress for their injuries, how does the system assess responsibility?

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