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Into the Mythic

In the final Star Wars episode coming down the pipes in a century or two will the empire finally crush the resistance into dust? And if we saw that ending would we believe it? No way. Somehow the dust would turn out to have regenerative powers explainable in a science-fiction logic of positronic hyperspatial defiance. Linear defeat not allowable.

Back on earth injustice mans the cockpit of history, swearing allegiance to dark forces of victory, gunning down, bombing out, clearing ground, imposing the myth that more people need killing. Why do they ever think they can finally win?

I don’t know if you’ve seen a viral video of a squirrel biting a rattlesnake. The two creatures meet at the edge of a sidewalk. The furry critter is communicating in a primal code. It nips the narrowed tail of the rattlesnake. Go away! And the rattlesnake’s response is interesting. The slinky serpent strikes back, threatening with teeth of its own, but never lethally. It plays the game, then slides away.

Question is, why don’t people behave more like rattlesnakes?

Killing is abominable excess in human experience. And I’m thinking it comes from our ability to overcome recognition of death for what it is. The rattlesnake is in relation to a fellow living thing. It is incapable of redefining. Human language displaces death. If the rattlesnake could define the squirrel as a criminal, it would be conqueror of a short story, ending with a lifeless body on the pavement.

Love your enemies sounds absurd, yet the rattlesnake understands it.

Mythic power is rising, and the hunger for it is a bankable frenzy measurable in ticket sales and shopping days to Christmas. We humans wield a cosmic power in the attitudes that we choose to take. May we soon remember that death is absolutely the last thing to be wished upon fellow creatures, especially death in the name of empire.

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Greg Moses writes about peace and Texas, but not always at the same time. He is author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. As editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review he has written about racism faced by Black agriculturalists in Texas. He can be reached at gmosesx@gmail.com

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