Until 1485 in England, 1745 in remoter parts of Scotland, fighting was the ordinary pastime of gentlemen, and murder, sometimes by show-trial, as the way of politics lasted later. These practices are now gone. Over coffee after Meeting, as so often, we are on darkness in the World. You can turn your TV off, we suppose. You do not have to watch the news.
And- I found through Madame Weebles about a man getting away with murder, through a Texas law, and that was the news story I wanted to pass on. He was acquitted because he claimed he was protecting his property, which appears to be worth more than life in Texas, at least the lives of poor people. It is a story calculated to make us feel angry, miserable and powerless: why should I want to share it? Even though I know the news can make you depressed. Perhaps: I know we will share feelings of shock and horror, and the sharing is what I desire.
Why so much violence, now? The human drive which produces that violence, it seems to me, also produces the fire of our creativity. British foreign policy is like British imperial policy- do-gooding, and a ruthless drive for the Money, both more or less brilliant or incompetent. There is that range in humanity, from our pacifism.
a person acts because he is what he is
he has not made himself what he is
I do not like this. I am tempted to invoke the two slits experiment, but beware new agers spouting Quantum mechanics: I do not understand it. Perhaps in an alternate universe I am a famous TV star. If one night I meditate, then go to bed at a reasonable time, and another night I stay up until two pawing at my mouse pad “playing” spider solitaire, the different competing motivations have different strengths at that time.
In an SF novel, the invaders possess hapless natives who, fully conscious and aware through the senses, but unable to affect their bodies’ actions at all, observe the invasion in horror. Competing motivations: the smoker gives up- and lapses, and may feel horror as well as relief on that first drag. We have these competing drives, for instant and deferred gratification.
Is it enough that I have a drive to be who I am, to what pleases me, and to create what I see as Good? As we progress, we create greater and greater complexity, and have choices even if our decisions are moulded by the past. So legislators can move towards the society in which a man can shoot a woman for $150, or a society where he would not have a gun. Our society is built, and we have no more freedom than a microbe in a stromatolite, yet we build it.