INFOrmal believe that, ashumans, we will all initially
INFOrmal Essay (Ver.
1.3) Joe Lee October 9, 1998 Aftera moving experience a night ago, when I attended theshowing and the discussion – the lecture, if you will – of themovie Night and Fog I have truly, without even a hint of anironic tone, made great revelations to myself. In thediscussion, mention was made to the fact that many, afterwatching the movie, will want to put the haunting images ofthe Holocaust away in the deepest of hidden chambers inour minds. Or, in the words of the lecturer, “under the bed.”This statement, however, is one I must argue because, to bebrutally honest, I would never put pictures of dead, decayingbodies under my bed.
If someone forcefully put them undermy bed, I would move and sleep somewhere far away. Faraway from the bed, and most importantly, far from theperson who forcefully put the pictures under it because he isclearly ill in some fundamental way. I think it’s a healthy signto want to put aside pictures of dead, decaying bodies thatonce housed tortured souls and broken spirits. I wish not tospeak generally about any group, but I believe that, ashumans, we will all initially react in this manner. Take me,for instance.
I want nothing more at the moment but to wipethe pictures from my head, but for anyone as sensitive tothese things as I am, it is quite impossible. For now, I canonly pretend not to remember anything, although, just inwriting this I am admitting to it and any attempts to deny itfrom this point on would be fruitless. That of course,as I’msure Dave would agree, is a lie, I actually don’t rememberanything because I was asleep half the time the movie wasshown, and during the lecture my mind was preoccupiedwith studying for my upcoming computer science quiz so, it’sactually quite fruitful. The reason I reacted this way after themovie is because it reminded me of how cruel we can be toeach other. Having been taught to try to see things as othersmay be seeing it, I have – I don’t know why I’m admittingthis – deeply set fears that one day I might see somethingthat is generally accepted as wrong (take this paper, forinstance) in such a way that it seems right. After muchthought in this matter, it seems only reasonable that for oneto do something evil, the person must not perceive of whathe is doing as evil.
Someone who is truly insane does notknow it. Otherwise, wouldn’t he change? I feel uneasymaking such statements because if it is true then there is nosuch thing as responsibility – just insanity. I hate toimmediately contradict myself, but there is also the possibilitythat insanity is just a ploy to play tricks on the minds of thosewho believe they are “normal.” One may say, “I’m anythingbut normal,” but I find it hard to believe that anyone canabsolutely, without a doubt believe something like that. So,in short, insanity doesn’t exist. And those who act “insanely”are just acting irresponsibly. So it is the responsibility ofevery man – person, if you will – on earth to fully understandwhat is wrong and to actually do something about it.
Theunderstanding part is easy it’s the doing something about itthat’s difficult because of the limitations of any one person’spower. I must admit, I have not a clue as to what I would doin doing something about something wrong. Actually doingsomething would require energy, and I am a part of theOakes community, thus energy would be applied to Oakesto make it more vibrant. Depending on what wrong I wereto do something about righting, I could be breaking a staticfriction. And if we take the laws of physics as an analogy, assoon as we break the static friction, we are held back onlyby a relatively small kinetic friction. So, as soon as we havebroken the static friction, we can start gaining momentum toactually make a sizeable dent in what we’re aiming for, whichis presumably to correct something evil.
Elie Wiesel, inwriting his accounts in Night has fulfilled his responsibility ofhelping to right a wrong. It is wrong not to be informed ofthe evils that lurk among us, so Wiesel has informed us and,according to his memoirs in is autobiography, Memoirs AllRivers Run to the Sea he did much more. When he gained astable life, in the comfort of his new environment, he did notforget the wrong he saw, and he actually did more than justwrite to inform people of what he saw. He focused most ofhis energy into looking beyond his own sufferings to helpothers. Such can be seen in the efforts he has made and isstill currently making to teach the Tibetans how to keep theirculture and memory alive in exile, when it’s religion isthreatened. Before this Wiesel attended and took an activepart in Summit Conferences to help stop genocide in suchplaces as India, Armenia, and Jerusalem before it wasrecaptured, years ago.
Such travels, though stressful andenergy consuming, it is very stimulating and can be, in asense, fun. This is what we need at Oakes to make it avibrant, healthy, and stimulating environment. To take anactive part in efforts to right wrongs. The energy we put intoour efforts in the college will make it vibrant and at the sametime. The activity forces us to be alert, so our minds arealways working, and thus we keep ourselves healthy throughthese exercises. There are many problems to tackle, toomany to count. The more we do, the more we find there’smore to it than we first thought.
This provides us with astimulus. Learning not only what is happening around us thatis wrong, but also understanding it will help keep us “sane”and help us grow.