Thursday, August 21, 2008

a more nuanced view of things

I think that everything both is for the best and isn't for the best. Here is what I mean: I think that things in my whole life, and things in the world in general could have gone a lot better. It would be fine if the Holocaust hadn't happened, good even. If any number of terrible things that happened could just be erased from history, that would be great. By erased from history I mean just didn't happen. On the other hand, these terrible things in the global past and in all of our individual pasts have come to shape who we are, and we are doing very well now. You can see the terrible catastrophes of the past as tests, trials that God or whatever you believe in put us through to make us better. So basically, yes, the Holocaust was terrible, and it would be awesome if it hadn't happened, but now that it has happened, it's unlikely that such terrible ethnic cleansing will ever happen again, and I exist, because my grandfather in all likelihood never would have left Germany and married my grandmother if it weren't for Hitler and the Holocaust, so good things that are inextricably part of the fabric of the world now also occurred pretty much directly because of the Holocaust. That was a pretty terrible sentence. Let me be clearer. It's fine to look at past events and say "that was bad." It's not fine to look at past events and say "I want to go back in time and prevent that from happening." Nor is it fine to say "I'm so glad that the Holocaust happened because look at all these wonderful things that came about because of it." Somewhere in the middle, between "I want to go back in time to change things" and "I don't even give a shit about all those dead Jews because all this right now is so fucking awesome" is the best place to be.


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