This rings true today

May 4, 2016 § Leave a comment

1941. The Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor. An American woman of zeal and zest speaks to a rough crowd after a series of violent anti-Japanese acts:

”We live in a time of the vile act justified. Vile acts spawn immediate and reactive injustice. Such reaction is often obscured by righteous intent. The emphatic bond of shared catastrophe creates an unshakable will to power that binds each and every one of us to a world outside of and most deeply within ourselves. We comport in this shared world at great moral peril, and understand that this is the moment that calls us to self-sacrifice. The name that we give to this moment is History, and that moment is now!

She paused. Ashida read it. She’s catching her breath. She’s got them for one instant.

Kay said, ”History afflict both individuals and nations. History assumes the form of a mass debt that common people pay in blood. History is this moment, and at this moment we are charged to love and hate on a mass scale, as we act as individuals called to the best within ourselves, as we react to the atrocity by euphemizing atrocity, for atrocity assumes forms both subtle and strident and obliterates everything within its path, and as individuals we are thus charged to the near-impossible task of enacting love that much more ruthlessly, and with a self-sacrifice that would have been unknowable had History not summoned us. At this moment, our options become do everything or do nothing.”

She paused. Ashida read it. She’s still got them. She knows they won’t hold off much–

Kay said, ”War is the mass imprisonment of the individual will and the paradoxical liberation of the individual voice. Thus, self-sacrifice oft becomes the voicing of unpopular sentiment within more popular outrage. History is this moment. This moment must acknowledge the merger of the individual voice and our nation’s will to power, and bring it to a more specific moment of conscious and contrary statement. //…”

James Ellroy, ”Perfidia”

I bow to Ellroy. I don’t know about you, but this caught me as a central passage in the book, and most relevant to the very interesting times that we are living though. May you make the right choice, and may you live to see tomorrow with your integrity intact.

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