I thought I understand this world, but, it turns out I genuinely don’t. After a series of life-changing experiences, I secretly prided myself that I get it. I know what this life is all about. That the meaning of life depends on what it means to you. That the question of life is unique to each individual. That your life is how you project yourself into your reality. That everything takes place in your brain. That each decision in choosing the path you take is the result of how you process your life experiences in your mind. That you have a choice of how your future will shape up.
I have been living in a bubble of bliss ever since I met the love of my life. Our life together remained harmonious and happy for more than six years. Life is beautiful. Full of sunshine and laughter, inside our home. But the longer I live in this kind of misty existence, the longer I cannot ignore the chaos outside; the violence and hatred that filled the streets; greed and selfishness that lurk in every corner. Unhappiness exists. Evil exists. And they weigh heavily upon whatever it is that is beautiful in this world.
Somewhere a child as young as two gets molested and murdered, by her own kin. Where was her choice to shape her life? Did her death had any meaning or significance other than being in the headlines of today’s newspapers? If she belongs to a poor family, it will cause a brief sensation and outrage, and then it will eventually fade away from people’s minds because that is just the way things are. Life is like that. And everybody has accepted that for a fact. There is nothing one can do.
I know that the history of the world is replete with stories of violence, reaching as far back as the stories of survival among our cavemen ancestors. That over and over again, mankind slaughtered each other for pride, greed and glory. However, I cannot get over the fact that until now, after hundreds of years, we still haven’t learned how to live together peacefully. With all the great technological inventions brilliant minds are capable of inventing, nobody has ever figured out a way, a formula, a solution, on how not to hurt each other. I sound naive, I know. Like a child who believes in fairies and Santa Claus. Who believes good always triumphs over evil. But why should I not? Why should we accept that evil naturally exists in our lives? Around us?
Throughout my life, I explored the lowest depth of depravity human beings are capable of sinking into. Some in personal encounters and some from reading a lot of books. As a young child, I do not understand evil. I fear it as one might fear ghosts and vampires, but pure evil I have not been a witness to. I grew up protected and loved. But I sensed evil lurking in the corner every time I opened the television and watched the news. Every time I eavesdrop in whispered conversations between adults. I feared it so much I was curious about it. I read a lot of Edgar Allan Poe stories and tried to desensitise my self from this dark abstract thing that terrorises everyone. It didn’t work. It puzzled me as to what drives a man to extreme depravity and perversity. In college, I got hold of the book Brother’s Karamazov by Dostoevsky. It plunged me down the fevered brain of Ivan Fyodorovich Karamazov. In his passionate search for the meaning of good and evil, which nearly drove him insane. From an arm’s length, I thought I was beginning to understand. The book left me with the impression that men are slaves to their appetites. But is it really an inescapable truth? Are we going to continually blame our animal instincts?
My first real experience with violence was when I was in high school. It was horrific, and I could not forget about it. I remember it was the beginning of summer. Humidity was high and choking. The classes for that year were just wrapping up. I was not really paying attention to my teacher anymore. I was feeling drowsy. It was around three in the afternoon, and all I wanted then was to take a nap. Our teacher sat down behind her desk in front of the class and told us to read the rest of the lesson in our textbooks. All heads were bent when suddenly ripping the sleepy silence of the classroom were loud shrieks and wailing coming from the room opposite us. The screams were chilling. We all rushed to the windows of our room to check what was happening. We saw a man calmly walking out of the room. He was carrying a bloodied knife. His shirt also stained with blood. Two male teachers standing outside the hallway stared at him as if in a daze. Paralysed. Nobody apprehended him. Nobody stopped him as he disappeared from our view. Hiding in a corner, shaking and crying.
We could hear the students from the other room crying hysterically as the students, and other teachers rushed the lifeless body of a pregnant teacher, soaked in blood, towards the waiting ambulance. It was gory and all too real for me. It was a revenge too gruesome to comprehend. I had nightmares for weeks. I kept wondering what were the actions and decisions the teacher had taken that led her life to a bloody end. room crying hysterically as the students other teachers rushed the lifeless body of a pregnant teacher, soaked in blood, towards the waiting ambulance. It was gory and all too real for me. It was too gruesome to comprehend. I had nightmares for weeks. I kept wondering what .
I processed the sequence of events that took place before the murder in my mind like a detective would to help me cope with the trauma of witnessing evil first hand that day. I turned it over in my mind over and over again to find sense in it. I applied physics into the situation instead of karma. Karma, for me, was a defeatist way of looking into it because her punishment was too severe for the transgression she committed. I cannot just shrug it off and say it must have been her Karma. That is too cruel.
I looked at it as a result of an action that triggered a sequence of motions toward one direction that inevitably resulted to murder. That was how I comforted myself then. I did not feel any better. But looking back, murder was not necessarily the inevitable end to that story.
The man who killed Mrs. D, a history teacher, was the father of one of my classmates. She was a nice girl that showed no indication she came from a dysfunctional family. I will call her Anna. Not her real name of course. My friends and I once had lunch in their home where her mother, also a nice woman, cooked for us a very delicious meal. Anna’s sister, Beth, was a senior in high school. We were juniors at that time. Beth’s boyfriend was the brother of Mrs. D. His name was Anthony. According to what people whispered about after the incident, Anthony had gotten Beth pregnant, and expressed a wish to marry her after graduation. When they confessed their situation to Anthony’s family; however, his sister, the teacher, vehemently opposed Anthony’s decision to marry Beth. Beth’s family was poor and Anthony came from a snobbish family of professors, doctors and lawyers. They had big plans for Anthony. It was said that Mrs.D spewed a lot of degrading words against Beth’s family and it had reached her father’s ear. I didn’t know Mrs. D that well, but what ever she might have said that day, for me, doesn’t justify how she was punished. She was six moths pregnant at that time.
This is just one example of extreme hatred and violence I unfortunately witnessed in my life, there are plenty more but this post is not about that because this type of darkness confronts us everyday from everywhere, all around us. There is no relief from it. I do not need to recount more horrors to drive my point across. This post is about questioning why it exits. Why it continues to exists. Why is it getting worse. Now that we are living in the era of ‘enlightened minds’ why are we all helpless to curb it? What is the use of living a beautiful life in a world continuously choosing to be ugly?