I understand that there is a need to talk. The experience of evil leaves a sickening void, and man and nature abhor a vacuum, especially one so terrible. So we discuss. We analyze. We have a “national conversation”. We talk about why this is the result of God not being allowed in public schools (whatever the hell that means). We talk about about gun control. We talk about gun rights. Over at the Friendly Atheist — and I do appreciate the writing there, don’t get me wrong — we’ve had a steady stream of why religious explanations of the Newtown shooting fail, whyreckoning with tragedy does not require faith, pleas to stop using the word evil in our discussion, as the idea of evil is a product of religion, and on and on. We religious talk about the will of God for comfort, as if evil — the absence of good — possibly be the will of God who is Goodness. I fear that talk has become — in this great Media Age — our primary method of avoiding action. I know it is mine. We spew our ”thoughts” onto Facebook statuses as if we have drunk the cup of evil to its dregs and come up with an 140 character response. We have made the darkest absurdity to ever trample the human race a launching pad for political debate, our most pathetic absurdity. We are using death as an opportunity to bitch at others, not intentionally, but because the alternative — silence — is terrifying.
Silence is the only state of being in which man can contemplate mystery. Only in silence does man have the quality of simply being, neither projecting himself onto others, nor caring about his public image, nor trafficking in abstract expressions, nor removing himself to the political sphere, the God-debate sphere, or the attention-seeking sphere. Only in silence is man present to himself as a being-in-the-universe, for it is the state of receptivity. Only in silence does man refrain from shunting the reality of the Newtown shootings to some sphere in which he can deal with it. In silence, man cannot “deal” with the Newton shootings, and thus he must face the absurdity and make his choice: To kill himself, live against the absurdity, or to make the leap of faith.
Keep silence for the dead then. Pray for their souls, which requires not a word. Make a decision. The conversations should happen, but not at the expense of confrontation with reality.
I recommend reading the whole thing.