Who knew that in this modern, complicated and sophisticated world, reality would conform so fully to medieval morality play content: knights in shining armor pitted against sleazy, vicious merchants of pain and death.
Maybe it is a microcosm of what’s happening on the really big stage, the one where the forces of life and love are contending against the tug of black holes spotted around the cosmos, those vicious maelstroms that draw in and destroy everything that falls within their sway.
Love versus destruction, that’s our big picture challenge, demonstrable by science and not just pulp fictions.
Love is defined as a substantial reality that binds and enlarges the forces of life in our universe. Its opposite, the forces of destruction that weaken and rip apart such bonds, renders the universe incapable of resisting the powerful vortexes of the obliterating black holes who would swallow up and negate the entire cosmos.
You didn’t know, did you, that your small acts of kindness are impacting the very ability of our cosmos, of life itself as we experience it and as it exists in its abundance throughout the universe, to be sustained!
A lot that is contained in the moral treatises and eons-old traditions across the breadth of humanity on this planet boils down to the simplest of mandates for we human beings who find ourselves with remarkable capacities for cognition and choice-making. We are not simple, our minds and choices do not come with batteries included and pamphlets in numerous languages. No, we are beset as we face aspects of our existence with conflicting tendencies, strong ones.
We are afflicted with cross-purposes, powerful emotions and voices, from within and without, to not simply do the right thing, but on the contrary, to use our powers to rebel, to deny and defy the obvious simply because we can. This is a frightening prospect that we must live with and there is no way to avoid it.
So, morality plays were developed to make matters simpler for our intellect and our powers of will. The one-dimensional universe of right and wrong that they convey are not intended to mimic reality as it exists, but what matters to us in the context of a much more complicated reality.
The biggest players of the current morality play that are functioning in our collective faces are Donald Trump and Vlad Putin, on one side, and Joe Biden and Andrew Cuomo, on the other.
The test thrown into our midst is the Covid-19 coronavirus that functions like emissaries of the black hole league tasked with afflicting our species with great suffering, pain and mass death. Moreover, its function is to weaken our moral resolve in favor of love and life by arousing the ugly tool of selfish self-interest as a weapon against the forces of our species solidarity.
Putin exploits that selfish self-interest tool that dwells so strongly in our American culture to weaken us and strengthen his barbaric regime. He figured out a formula to enhance this tool of destruction to rig the 2016 presidential election in the U.S. and elect someone who is the very embodiment of selfish self-interest, someone who elevates it to a religion, Donald Trump, who in turn has used religious fervor to draw millions of Americans under its sway.
In the name of selfish self-interest, therefore, Trump cult followers have insisted it is their right not to wear a facial covering and to ignore calls for social distancing or any measures to contain the coronavirus. It’s their “damned right” to be damned, so they tout with passion and urgency. Putin smiles coyly as Trump exclaims, “Praise the Lord (of Darkness).”
On the other hand there is Biden and Cuomo, and while Biden will serve bravely and steadfastly to restore our culture in the wake of the upper hand that Putin and Trump currently have, it is Cuomo who is our inspired field general leading the charge against the virus for the forces of life and love. He has demonstrated a sheer power of leadership to reverse the virus’ trend in his state, and the data proves it.
We are not helpless, but we must rise up.
Nicholas Benton may be emailed at [email protected]