Lewis’s ‘Screwtape’, Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’, Blake’s ‘Marriage of Heaven and Hell’ and the Book of Job all take the point of view of Satan, the Enemy, and use it to reflect the point the author is looking to make.
The great difficulty with staring into the abyss is the point that Nietzsche makes, namely that the abyss can stare right back into us.
But then that is reality, we live that every day, choosing the Will to Love or the Will to Power. We choose to become a cancer cell, or one that is alive.
But existential prevarications are meaningless in the face of life’s stresses and strains aren’t they? Human beings evolved to become nature’s greatest killers because we faced down starvation and fearsome predators and took the Earth and all that is in it. Without the Will to Power we would have become extinct in the Rift Valley. Evil is our greatest good. Would we stand back and let our loved ones die, turn the other cheek, or would we fight back?
Where is God in all the suffering and pain?
And yet, what is our purpose amidst all of this? Is it to die fighting, to win the world like Thomas Shelby, or is it to die alive and loving?
Enough questions. For all is vanity and striving after the wind.
I remember train journeys. For some reason they stick in my mind. I remember going to Southport as a child and losing my bear. I remember travelling to Scotland and the land was under a blanket of snow (I was visiting a university and had ‘Fisherman’s Blues’ by The Waterboys on my Walkman).
Other times I look through train windows and see a despoiled land that doesn’t seem to give a shit. Other times I look through my car window at motorway verges and roundabouts and see the trash that people have thrown there.
I take the dog for a walk and have to lead her feet around the smashed beer bottle and the Maccie D’s boxes thrown from the passenger seat of a speeding Ford Fiesta.
I walk through London’s parks and see two things: a sign saying don’t leave food for the birds because you’ll attract rats and a homeless man sleeping in the sun.
So what is to be done? Say ‘fuck it’ and throw our own garbage into the hedgerow? Leave our towns and cities a wasteland of industry and consumerism? Accept that those less fortunate than us live like human garbage wrapped in cardboard and plastic in the doorway of Matalan?
I admire those that volunteer, those who tidy up, who plant flowers and crops, those who help those in need. Those that do something instead of blogging and reading blogs.
We all feel it, we all enjoy a dose of righteous anger, but where does it lead to? Where is the end of the line? The answer in my experience is that it usually makes the situation worse. Not that I’m any kind of angel. I’m as bad as everyone else.
Anger is step two of the Will to Negation. Step one is isolation, the anxiety of hopelessness. Step three is destruction. The W2N is the antisocial value, anti-hope.
I guess the first step in curing any kind of sickness is the realisation that we are not well. Then we can unblock anger, turn it into something good by doing one of the hardest things in the world.
To forgive someone for something unforgivable, to forgive someone even for something vile and depraved, something the perpetrator might not even want our forgiveness for. It isn’t win-lose. It’s win-win, because anger poisons us inside.
Forgiveness heals. It rebuilds.
Anger and forgiveness are choices.