My parents are in town visiting this week. They live in the Galveston, TX area and were deeply saddened, as we all were, to hear of a school shooting just a few miles from their house. What was once a rare occasion, the use of terror, has become less and less of an oddity in today’s world.
There are hurting people out in the world. Even crazy people. We are at odds with one another, angry at our differences, convinced the world needs to be more like ME at any cost. I’m not sure all of the reasons why, but I am sure of one thing. Terror is destined to fail.
The True Affect of Danger
Although terror certainly hurts us, its ultimate end cannot be achieved. The reason for this is because danger does not destroy. It can kill individuals but it cannot slay an ideal.
Although it is entirely paradoxical, danger does not damage our ideals but awakens us to them. Danger activates us. In a very real sense, the only ideal danger destroys is apathy. We, as humans, are not made to be bullied. Time after time. Ideal after ideal. Humanity has proved that if it is truly committed to something, it is willing to face incredible amounts of danger.
So, if the agenda of terror is to frighten humanity to a certain end, it is using one of the worst tools possible. Danger reinforces our resolve. Nothing clarifies our commitment more than the pit of despair. When we are at risk. When there is danger in the air, we buckle down, reach within ourselves and face the storm head on.
The world is seeing incredible amounts of terror around the globe. But we are also seeing incredible amounts of resolve. Perseverance produces character. And as we persevere through these trying times, the character of humanity will increase both in quality and quantity.
The Absurdity of Terror
I’m not suggesting the world is going to magically get along any time soon. I’m certainly not suggesting terror is an agent of positivity. When an army amasses itself on the battlefield, it calls the enemy forward. And as terror continues to show up, the opposing forces will show up as well.
And this is the absurdity of terror. There are a thousand more effective ways this world is dividing and hating itself. Terror is reserved for those humans who think we ought to kill other humans to get our way. The problem with this is that the vast majority of humanity is going to line up against this idea.
We’re all discontent, even angry. We’re all lonely and trying to be heard. There is plenty of hurt in the people of this world that drives them to do incredibly heinous acts. And that hurt is spreading like a virus.
Terror is destined to fail because it is an absurd manifestation of our longings. It is extreme. The best minds and souls that history celebrates teach against it. To get to a place where we have to fly planes into a building of innocent people is so absurd and abhorrent to most of humanity that terror cannot continue down this course.
The Real Trouble
I’m sure there are some reading this who are thinking (or have thought) that terror is winning out and may just continue to spread. I’ve thought so myself from time to time.
The real threat to us is not the terror, because, as the last section said, terror is an absurd manifestation of what ails us. The real trouble is the underlying heart issues within humanity. A lack of self-awareness, misguided perspective, victim mentality. These are the things eating away at our souls. In the most extreme cases, these are the lead-ins to terrorism. But even in the middle cases, prevalent in all of us, they threaten to steal the best of who we are.
There is so much greatness in the world that lies dormant every day. Voices of wisdom. Acts of courage. Calculated risks. We bury it all or use it for selfish motives. But the greatness is there. And it can show up at any time. One vote. One action. One word. One choice. The world needs us to put the petty aside and be the best version of ourselves.
Because terror, no matter how terrible, cannot destroy the goodness of who we are. The influence within us cannot be extinguished by what happens around us.