The wars of the social redeemers were as old as Babel and would go on forever. The dreamers would go on building towers to heaven, and just as inexorably they would come crashing to earth. Some would take to heart the lessons of the fall, but most would fail to notice them, or care. Inspired by those who preceded them and innocent of their crimes, an unending cycle of generations would repeat what they had done. The terrible suffering of guilty and innocent alike would continue without end. The prophet Mohammed would beget the disciple Atta; the prophet Marx, my father. Others would follow them, and nothing I could do or say would change it.
The summons I answered was more modest by far than any mission that God might notice. It was to bear witness to what I had learned. Perhaps hearing my story, another, as innocent as I had been would take heed. For myself, I needed to remember what I had learned through pain, and to honor my debt. My mission was as much for myself as for anyone else. It was about wrestling with the most powerful and pernicious of all human follies, which is the desire to stifle truth in the name of hope.
Here is why you cannot change the world: Because we – all six billion of us — create it. We do so individually and relentlessly and in every generation. We shape it as monarchs in our homes and masters beyond, when we cannot even master ourselves. Every breeder of new generations is a stranger to his mate and a mystery to himself. Every offspring is a self-creator who learns through rebellion and contrition, through injury and error, and frequently not at all. This is the root cause that makes us who and what we are – the good, the bad, the demented, the wise, the benevolent and the brute. We are creatures blind and ignorant, stumbling helplessly through a puff of time.
The future is a work of prejudice and malice inextricably bound with generosity and hope. It is carried out now and forever under the terrible anarchy of freedom that God has imposed on his children and will not take back. This world is created every day by us at odds with each other, and over and over. It is irrevocably broken into billions of fragments, bits of human unhappiness and earthly frustration. And no one can fix it.
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