It is apropos a lot that Falls Church’s Meridian High girls basketball team is dominating our local headlines as it heads to Richmond for the State Title Game in its class this week. It is because, among other things, it’s Women’s History Month, with a special event marking it scheduled for Sunday, March 20, here.
It’s also relevant because with the Putin genocide underway in Ukraine, the talk again arises how women, if they were in charge, would find ways to avoid the death and destruction now going on. Many mothers in Ukraine have taken up arms to fight against Putin’s slaughter, and we wholeheartedly agree with the likes of E.M. Forster and Meryl Streep cited in Nicholas Benton’s essay this week that women are strongly inclined to find real alternatives to war.
It is not simply a man versus woman issue, as we see the countless baby-faced young men being thrust into the slaughter by Putin, facing almost certain serious injury or death. They do not know why they’re being sent into this meat grinder and would much rather conduct their lives under the loving influence of their mothers rather than their clueless and cruel fathers.
This solution is about enlightened women and mothers and, for that matter, men, too. But the key ingredient is empathy, a powerful force in history that the psychologist Carl Jung said is the chief means by which humanity has attained its consciousness. It’s not just a nice idea, it is the critical, indispensable element to the advance of, or the very existence, of civilization.
It becomes clear that when empathy is lacking, respect for human life becomes a mere symbol at best, slammed aside in the assault on the lives of innocents the way it is occurring today in Ukraine. Yes, it can be argued that people like Putin and Trump lack souls because they lack genuine empathy. In the case of Trump, what a sad legacy that as he lingers on, being so lacking in any meaningful personal relationships. What does that matter in terms of the big picture, you ask. It is everything. The image of Putin and Trump are the same, hollow shells lacking the capacity for genuine tears.
Remorse and failure can be good things in life. They are the elements of redemption and forgiveness, of frolicking in an open field like a calf in clover. They cleanse, they reset, they affirm the values more important to the long-term survival of our planet and our universe than any autocratically enforced regime change anywhere because they contribute to an ability to see the virtue of a true democracy composed of real living, breathing, crying, laughing and loving, truly amazing fellow human beings.
The new Webb telescope may reveal the existence of massive amounts of intelligent life in the universe, as we predict. But so what, there is nothing more amazing than the intelligent, loving life we have right here on earth.