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Monday, September 23, 2019

The Unsettling Duality Of Being Human

"That charming man..." said Rhoda Henry. The truth about Wolf Stoller--the banker-extortionist, "Goering's man for extorting the Jews" in Victor Henry's memorable phrase--was becoming clear to her. Of course, the presence of Nazis, Communists, or other monsters is unsettling, because they existed and exist as people, and not, even after all this time, as symbols or pictures of evil. We owe the author of these stories, Herman Wouk, and all who faithfully hold up a mirror to us, a word of thanks. Thanks for--among other things--for letting us remain unsettled.

What a lot of the "cancel culture" misses is that we're all complicated. Sometimes, great virtue and vice co-exist in the same person. That battle exists in me. One of our huge problems in society is that we're still moralists; indeed, we're as zealous as ever. But now, as a group, we do not forgive. There is no mercy in the way we talk to each other.

I get it, I'm a dinosaur and a Neanderthal for even using words like "virtue" and "vice." And the plain truth is that this society is moralistic and unforgiving about the wrong things. You sense it, don't you? I know I do.

In the end, I need "To know what it is to forgive/And be forgiven." The only way to function in this life is to be a person who knows forgiveness. How to give it, and how to get it. This may complicate the quest for an unbelieving society and life, for some of you. That's not my problem, for I have found the secret of life, and I share it freely with you all, my friends.

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