Sunday, November 30, 2014

Savagery Is Inevitable?



"And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy."  from William Golding's Lord of the Flies

I finished Lord of the Flies a few days ago.  This book has the distinction of being the only book I've read along with both of my children during their senior years in high school.  Before the recent re-read, I thought I didn't like it.  Upon re-reading, I discovered I had missed a lot the first time.   Honestly, I'll have to say that I remembered almost nothing except that it was about a group of boys who were stranded on an island and who descend into savagery.  I remembered that there was something about a conch and some pigs, that someone dies, and that the boys were eventually rescued.

But now...now what I know is that the book is a metaphor for how quickly we descend into savagery.  I'm sure we'd all like to think, in our high-tech, highly cultured world, that we are above barbarity.  Look around.  Watch the news.  Violence is our go-to reaction.  My "group" can rest, well-fed, in our warm homes, unmolested, always safe because our race and socio-economic status protect us.  We can believe, because it's easier and more comforting, that savagery is far from us.  The truth is the danger of that descent is all around us, all the time.

We can choose to see only ugliness and division.  We can choose to perpetrate divisiveness.  We can choose to reflect only the negative.  Or we can choose to see and reflect the good, the beauty, the hope, the prospect for redemption.  When did reserving judgment and seeking the truth become passe?  Instead of just praying for peace, work for it.  Be the light, everywhere, all the time.

2 comments:

thecuecard said...

Yeah I have not read Lord of the Flies recently but after reading Unbroken about POWs in WWII I was blown by the savagery described. Unfortunately you're right, humans seem to resort to barbarity quite quickly. We should work for peace while we can.

Amy said...

Ken is reading Unbroken right now. Frankly I'm not sure I could handle it.