12 March 2010

Crusader's Cross

Re-reading the great James Lee Burke's above-titled novel, came across this:
Our undoing is our collective willingness to trust those whom we shouldn't, those who invariably use our best instincts against us.
How very true; yet the statement is preceded by a remarkably optimistic view of humanity:
My experience had been, like George Orwell's, that human beings are possessed of much more courage and self-sacrifice than we give them credit for, and when the final test comes they usually go down with the decks awash and the guns blazing. Our moral failure lies in the frailty of our vision and not in our hearts.
Wouldn't it be lovely to think so? My experience, to the contrary, is that courage is like a muscle and withers when not exercised, that self-sacrifice outside the parent-child bond is rare, and that without a well-developed concept of honour there is not a chance in hell of going down with guns blazing rather than submit to degradation.

Our moral failure lies in our collective lack of courage, compounded by denial.

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