Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11

Eight years ago, I woke up late, and walked into the campus coffee bar to get some caffeine and a quick breakfast. I found people watching the TVs, watching the twin towers belch black smoke. After my class was canceled "for security reasons" I watched the towers fall. That morning I knew we were going to war, that this would be my generations day of infamy, as Pearl Harbor was for my grandparents. I knew that for Americans, and indeed for any country, there was no other way to react. And I raged at the senseless idiocy of it.

From a very young age I developed my logic and reasoning skills, always seeking a rational mind, planning to be a scientist. My rational mind could not comprehend why the bombers would persue an action that would have such disastrous consequences for their cause. To me it was obvious that the United States would be compelled to hunt and destroy those behind the bombing, and that we would be very good at destruction. I had not yet learned how rage and fear makes idiots, and children, of people. Even when a friend tried to tell me how the bombers were so fueled by rage that they did not care about the consequences, I could not understand. To me it was always important to consider the consequences of an action, and I could not understand a mind frame that ignored consequence.

Now I have a better understanding of how fear and rage can control a person, if you let it. I've learned how emotions can fuel a chain of reasoning leading to actions that should never be contemplated. Looking back over the past eight years, and indeed looking at much of history, I see the dark touch of these emotions in many places. I can understand the need for defending oneself, and ones country. But how much has been done out the need for defense, and how much out of the desire for revenge, out of fear. There is nothing wrong with emotion, but only a child lets every emotion drive every action. An adult should have learned better.

To me terrorist actions always struck me as equivalent to a child's tantrum. A mindset that says "I'm unhappy, so you are going to be unhappy too." And so now I sit in sorrowful contemplation, and millions of people mourn, because an overgrown child threw a tantrum. And I wonder if humanity will ever mature past this point. In the end all I can do is to seek maturity, and thoughtfulness, in all my actions and hope others do the same.

This wound up being more disjointed than I intended, thanks for traveling with me down this meandering thought. I had intended to say more about history, motivations, emotions, and my opinions. But in the end I find that cannot bring myself to urge any thoughts, or actions, on your part patient reader. Because I have no answers, and far too many questions, as I remember September 11, 2001.