Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The line cuts through the heart -- by Rick Weaver

Published with the author's permission from his blog The Goat Rope. Rick has the AFSC regional office in West Virginia and writes frequently about its needs and politics. See this link for all the AFSC blogs.
Otter Creek WV - Kent Mason
I've read a lot over the years about the atrocities committed in Stalinist Russia, but I'm only just now getting around to reading (really listening to an unabridged recording of) Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago.

This morning, while walking the dogs in the rain, I came across this nugget that says a lot about human nature:

If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
During the life of any heart this line keeps changing place; sometimes it is squeezed one way by exuberant evil and sometimes it shifts to allow enough space for good t flourish. One and the same human being is, at various ages, under various circumstances, a totally different human being. At times he is close to being a devil, at times to sainthood. But his name doesn't change, and to that name we ascribe the whole lot, good and evil.

Socrates taught us: "Know thyself."

Confronted by the pit into which we are about to toss those who have done us harm, we halt, striken dumb; it is after all only because of the way things worked out that they were the executioners and we weren't.

From good to evil is one quaver, says the proverb.
And correspondingly, from evil to good.

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