Horrors of the past
On a recent visit to the Czech Republic, I spent a half day at Terezin, a former Nazi concentration camp just outside of Prague. The setting was serene and peaceful, betraying the horror that had taken place on that very ground many years before.
This wasn’t the first concentration camp or Holocaust memorial I’d visited, but there was one striking aspect of this place. On the property sat a very large and spacious looking home, where the Nazi guards and their families had lived just steps away from barracks holding thousands of the frail and starving, forced to work long hours and deprived of adequate food and comfort.
The servants who worked in and around the home, interacting closely with wives and children, were also prisoners in the camp. Additionally, in what felt to be a backyard, and right next to a large pool, was a beautiful, lush green meadow where prisoners had been shot and buried.
The juxtaposition of beauty/luxury and horror was difficult to even comprehend. What is it that allowed these individuals to carry on in decadent luxury while right outside their doorstep, on the very same property, others were tortured, imprisoned, starving, and in some cases murdered? By their own hands, no less.
The world becomes more dangerous when our lives aren't steeped in what is true
While today is certainly different, at least for the time being, I do believe that we are living in a dangerous world where up is down, down is up, truth is subjective, and reality is a mirage. Too many individuals are graduating from our educational institutions unable to think rationally and logically, to grapple with the hard realities of the world as it is.
Rather than acknowledging what is, an entire generation that was told they could become anything they wanted if they just wanted it badly enough, has decided to create their own reality. This new world, fashioned after a set of non-objective, faith-based beliefs, requires the suspension of reality. It requires the individual to deny that which is playing out right in front of their very own eyes.
Truth must be rejected if it conflicts with this system of beliefs, because one of the most important aspects of this new truth is that discomfort is bad and one should never have to experience it. If words that make you uncomfortable are uttered, they must be shut down. If others’ lives are made worse in order for your own comfort to be maintained, so be it.
Live not by lies
At Terezin, unspeakable horrors were committed on those grounds, by those living there against others forced to live there. For those in power, life went on pretty much as usual, I suppose. The stories they told themselves about those on the other side of the path, and about themselves, had to be strong enough to keep them from the pain of the truth..
Live not by lies. I used to think that was simple. And self-evident. I’m beginning to think I may have been wrong.