Sometimes those comforting slogans don’t keep us from hearing strange sounds. For that we have drugs and counseling. That and a name for a “mental condition” plus assurances that in a little while everyone will feel just fine again. Not that’s there much choice about the approach. As a society we have disarmed ourselves against noxious ideologies just as in the private sphere we have disarmed ourselves against the apparitions that children sometimes see standing by their bedsides at night.
Years ago there was a movie called The Good Son which described how a boy suffering from the loss of a parent was slowly being taught things by a cousin against which he had no defense.
Mark: Hey, I didn’t know you were gonna do that!
Henry: I feel sorry for you, Mark. You just don’t know how to have fun.
Henry: It’s because you’re scared all the time. I know. I used to be scared too. But that was before I found out.
Mark: Found out what?
Henry: That once you realize you can do anything… you’re free. You could fly. Nobody can touch you… nobody. Mark… don’t be afraid to fly.
Mark: You’re sick…
Henry: Hey, I promised you something amazing, something you’ll never forget. Where’s the gratitude?
But those are just movies. We know that in reality it is things we should worry about. All we have to do is extend the Maginot line of the flesh and safety will be ours. And then one day when we have locked up the knives, the poisons, and the keys of the cars, we shall look wonderingly down at our hands and realize that … oh, well where’s the gratitude? Who do we call then? How do we describe it to the police? You know that part about Them? After all They never existed.
And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted – nevermore!