You Can See the Stars
Whenever anything bad happened, as I was growing up, my mother would invariably say "There is a reason that bad things happen and some good will come out of it." On my eighteenth birthday my father gave me a letter that contained the four axioms of wisdom. One of the four axioms states: "Where it is the darkest you can see the stars." So as you would expect I have a half-full approach to life as opposed to a half-empty. So I must look at the 9/11 tragedy as a night where the stars will glow with new brightness.
In terms of numbers, therefor numbers of people and amount of property damage, the September 11 attack was mediocre. What made it so horrible and so painful, so unbelievable, was the new level of outright hatred that was displayed in one act, i.e. terrorism was taken to an unspeakable new level.
But now that we are well past that sad event, I think that it is time to look up and see if we can see any stars, i.e. if we can understand what good can come from this.
First of all I believe that this may be a sign that the world is getting better. In the past wars have always been nationalistic therefor one nation against another or one group of nations against another group. But this seems to be dying and is being replaced with individual extremists who let their hatred boil over. The world is different. There are no major wars like there used to be, and it is hard to imagine this in the future. There is war and will be for the some years, but there is a different quality, wars are dying. What war there is, is "tribal" in nature. So you see, where there is still violence, on the global scale there is much less because it is confined to small hate groups and not large nations.
According an article by Don Beck the new conflict is not so much between ideologues and isms as it has been but is between the ancient world and modern. Because of global travel and communications the "ancient" and modern worlds have pushed together as never before. The moderns are very offensive to the ancients because they denigrate everything the ancients hold dear.
Secondly because of the extremeness of 9/11 even terrorism may be coming to some type of head. Never before has the whole world been so outraged at any single act as they were with this act. After all 40 countries lost people, and even Pakistan lost something like 40 people. So not surprisingly, Pakistan who has supported terrorists now sees how this hate is coming home to "roost". Their own hate has now killed 40 of their own citizens. No man or nation is an island. To allow terrorism to continue is to shoot oneself in the foot. Terrorism is not an attack on a nation but an attack on humanity, an attack on the whole world.
When the World Trade Center was bombed the first time, the then president Clinton, could not even get NATO to agree and cooperate on a terrorism program. After the September 11th attack, even Pakistan was agreeing to cooperate, i.e. a clear beginning to the end of terrorism, nationalism, and probably the ancients. The end of the ancients is not necessarily a good thing. They do hold up values that could prove valuable to moderns.
By nationalism I don’t mean that people of a country can’t love their country, I mean that their first priority should be as a citizen of earth/humanity and the good of the earth should be of prime importance. There is no conflict there. I have lived in eight different states in my lifetime but the state I love most is Colorado. So I am a "Coloradan." But this does not mean that I can't love America and earth with equal measure. It does not mean that I don’t understand why New Yorkers love New York more than Colorado or that an Australian doesn’t like Australia better than America. The point is you should love where you are from but that does not mean that earth can’t be just as important.
So I believe that while what happened on September 11th was one more painful lesson (the most painful for sure), we need to look up and see the stars. We are one world, one people; we are all brothers and sisters.