August 17, 2016

The Empire of Illusion

"I am not naïve about violence, tyranny, and war. I have seen enough of human cruelty. But I have also seen in conflict after conflict that we underestimate the power of love, the power of a Salvadorian archbishop, even though he was assassinated, to defy the killing, the power of a mayor in a small Balkan village to halt the attacks on his Muslim neighbors. These champions of the sacred, even long after they are gone, become invisible witnesses to those who follow, condemning through their courage their own executioners. They may be few in number but their voices ripple outward over time. The mediocrities who mask their feelings of worthlessness and emptiness behind the façade of power and illusion, who seek to make us serve their perverse ideologies, fear most those who speak in the language of love. They seek, as others have sought throughout human history, to silence these lonely voices, and yet these voices always rise in magnificent defiance. All ages, all cultures, and all religions produce those who challenge the oppressor and fight for the oppressed. Ours is no exception. The ability to stand as 'an ironic point of light' that 'flashes out wherever the just exchange their messages,' is the ability to sustain a life of meaning." ― from Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges