This was me at the Folk Fest last night. But I loved The Waifes.
Had one of those Folk experiences…the rain let up, the sun was insinuating some deep mauve into the city skyline and the Waifes were playing something CSNY-esque. Those are moments you go for, rain or rain.
…then I came home to the "news". And while we were all relieved that the London airport terrorist plot was caught, we were all implicitly asked to ratchet up our fear because of what might, could, eventually will, befall us because of the terrorists. Witness headlines like…"Day to rival 9/11".
Thomas Merton however would call events like this and 9/11 etc., "pseudo events". He would say that we get sucked into investing false meaning into"acts of terror", and as a consequence unwittingly add to the world’s stock of fear while invigorating the pseudo forces of power.
There is nothing creative, nothing of meaning, in an act of terror. It poses as a sacred act, an act of sacred revenge, supposed redemptive violence. Hooked, we dance around it, animated by the pseudo forces that have been awakened by our failure to see. We begin to take sides, our hatred is justified, and so redeemed becomes virtuous. And our unity is strengthened for a while. Fear may even get us to go back or renew our commitment to church or get serious about spiritual things. But all of this of course, is smoke and anti-gospel. As long as we’re controlled by these false powers, unable to look away, failing to "renew our minds", fascinated by "shock and awe", we will keep generating false unity and apocalyptic violence.
For an understanding that exactly nails what I’m trying to articulate here, check out this article by James Alison.