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October 3rd, 2007

Cruelty, thy name is confusion.

I've been struck lately (again and again, mercilessly, meanly, and with malice aforethought as far as I can tell) with the inescapable proof that people do cruel things to each other, and that I don't know why.

Sounds almost simpleminded, I know. Humanity's inhumanity is such an entrenched building block of cultural awareness that it's almost impossible to disentangle and disengage the concept from everything else that makes up our worldview, and deconstruct and demythologize it into something we can understand.

I know the proximate causes of cruelty; war, ignorance, hysteria, fear. I also understand that it's easy to be cruel because we don't feel our cruelty on our backs, not tactilely, immediately, personally. But it doesn't add up to me. It doesn't do anything but confuse me. Is it possible to understand something completely in one way, and be completely confounded by it in another? If so, that's the way cruelty affects me.

It's not just the big things, like madnesses such as the Holocaust, or slavery, or honor-killings. It's the other big things like why soldiers go beyond the horror of killing in the line of duty to murder and torture and mutilation in the line of duty; like how parents will kill their children to prevent each other from having them; likebeing a hit man just for the money; like, oh, I don't know, every third item you see on the news. And the little big things like name calling, and stone-throwing, and insults and belittling, and lies...the more I try to delineate or comprehend cruelty, the more amorphous and completely incoherent I sound.

I'll probably come back to this entry and try to make it more clear , but for now I'm simply left repeating, why are we cruel? And more importantly, why can't we seem to stop?

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