“We owe it to each other to tell stories.”
“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”
The Trump administration has ordered and defended the use of tear gas against families, against mothers, against children, and against babies. This is beyond reprehensible–it is evil, and it is the stuff of fascism, racism, and bigotry.
We must never become used to such abominable behavior. All of those who oppose these actions must speak out.
This must end.
Remember that we are all connected.
“No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee”
John Donne was a poet, philosopher, and man of the church in Renaissance England. His writing covered a wide range of material, including poems, songs, and sermons. I want to quote from one of his most famous pieces: “Meditation 17”, which many readers will recognize as the epigram at the beginning of Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls:
This quotation is an expression of Humanism and the connection of all people. It is especially important in our current world.
I wish all a happy and safe 4th of July. Please celebrate safely, have fun, and take a moment to remember all those who sacrificed to bring freedom.
Let us also remember that freedom includes everyone of all races, religions, ethnicities, backgrounds, classes, sexual orientations, creeds, and neurodiversities–and any others I may have forgotten. Freedom demands inclusion, not exclusion. We must always remember that. We are all connected. We, all of us, are the people.
( by Raphael ~1510)
“Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.”
John Donne from Meditation 17 (1624)
Roosevelt Theodore Franklin, the protagonist of my supernatural thriller and horror novel Maledicus: Investigative Paranormal Society Book I, is a retired history professor whose main area of study was the occult during the Renaissance. He paid special attention to Marsilio Ficino, Giovani Pico della Mirandola, John Dee, and Giordano Bruno. The work he holds in the most regard is Pico’s “Oration on the Dignity of Man,” a piece often considered to be the Humanist Manifesto, and one in which Pico asserts that human beings have the capacity to rise like eagles or sink into the muck like insects.
For Roosevelt, the Renaissance represents a time with an explosion of new ideas, confronting the status quo and forcing the exploration of new forms of knowledge. In many ways, he believes it was similar to the 20th century.
Perhaps the most crucial and important element from this period for Roosevelt was the creation of Humanism, a philosophy that he considered to be central to his way of life and consideration of the world. He rejects post-modernism and its denial of truth; he sees the existence of truth, but that it is a search one must continue throughout the entirety of life. He denies the idea that humans are disconnected; he perceives the connection among people of which Donne spoke in the Meditation 17. If he is confronted by other academics about his ideas which are often considered out of fashion or outdated, he replies that he is not a slave to fads and that he is proud to be a humanist.
Roosevelt holds that despite our many and varied differences, we are all ultimately connected as human beings.
Copyright @ 2016 by Charles F. French
Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” This issue is one of the central themes of my horror novel Maledicus: Investigative Paranormal Society Book I and is also one of the main issues that has faced humanity in the last one hundred years. From the consequences of millions slain in the Holocaust to one single person murdered on the streets of New York City while many watched and did nothing, humanity has been confronted with this dilemma. When finding evil threatening others, what do we do? Do we ignore it and pretend that it is not there? Do we call authorities to try to handle the situation and hope they arrive in time? Or do we inject ourselves into situations that for both individuals and nations could be filled with the worst kind of danger?
It does not take much effort to find contemporary examples of such circumstances. In all of these situations, the observers are faced with a moral quandary, and in my novel, it is that circumstance which drives the central conflict. What do three retired gentlemen who are trying to find the answer to the ancient question—is there life after death?—do when they are confronted with sociopathic supernatural evil that threatens an innocent? It would be easy for them to turn aside and say—this isn’t our fight, or this doesn’t concern me.
These three retired gentlemen do decide to fight this evil, even at the potential cost of their lives and perhaps souls.
In our cynical so-called post-modern world, I feel that I am a bit of a dinosaur, because I am an unapologetic Humanist. I still believe that our connections as people are more important than that which disconnects us. My three central characters believe this ideal also. Hence, they understand Donne’s admonition—“Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” And they understand that whatever threatens an innocent must be opposed.
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