Basic Quest for Closure
XXXIIIEarth could not answer; nor the Seas that mournIn flowing Purple, of their Lord forlorn;Nor rolling Heaven, with all his Signs reveal'dAnd hidden by the sleeve of Night and Morn.
~~Omar Khayyam, The Rubaiyat (Tr. Edward Fitzgerald)
While ubiquitous luminaries in punditland, notably Bill O’Reilly and Charles Krauthammer, discombobulate over what they deem ‘psychotic’ wall-to-wall reportage on the hunt for MH370, Jack Shafer and Greta Van Susteren opine the show must go on. Admittedly, at times the coverage does not include news any longer but stale narratives on recycled events. Nonetheless, I count myself in the latter camp of continued coverage.
The search for Malaysian Airlines MH370 needs to continue until a point is reached when closure is deemed to have been attained. Closure, however, is a very relative concept neither arbitrary nor quantifiable. It is definitely subjective, mentally and emotionally. It is a reckoning that each individual must calibrate the measure of equilibrium in his/her own soul.
To take a very personal example, I have just attained another degree of closure on the disastrous 11-Sep-01 events (internally I refer to as Jihad911) after I had written about it. In that disaster I only lost a contract for a consulting engagement, not kith and kin. And I’m still seething in umbrage that the dead should be properly avenged, any which way we can.
To bury your own dead with respect and deference, if not veneration had been an institutional ritual through time immemorial. It has been integral to not only the Judeo-Christian ethical mores but also true of pagan societies of antiquity. If by a plethora of happenstance you find yourself unable to take part in such rites the pangs of frustration and remorse gnaws at the fabric of your soul.
I am somewhat of a foremost authority on the gravity of this predicament. By a combination of choice and circumstances, mostly of my own making [cf. pp.12~13, op.cit.], I was not able to attend the funerals of both my parents. Rationalize it as I may, it has remained a heavy burden on my conscience that I’m certain shall stay with me till I retire from this mortal coil and fulfill the promise to [p.105 op.cit.]
. . . donate my cadaver to the Stony Brook University Medical Department, for cute and curious medical students to slice up. I consider it a more desirable arrangement compared to the prospect of being served up as an unwilling if non-resenting victual for ungrateful fat little earthworms.
It is therefore with more than just a generous dose of Verstohlenmitleid that I absorb and personalize the anguish on the faces of the would-be mourners for the 239 victims of the ill-fated MH370. To the pragmatic in outlook and stoic in disposition, the reality of mourning is not grieving over the departed but over ourselves who are left behind. The departed have paid their dues and crossed the bar. Ergo, as Abraham Lincoln famously emphasized,
. . . .It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they . . . have thus far so nobly advanced.
Whether or not we prove ourselves equal to the task remains to be seen. As we venture to find out we can only allow to
Let tears flow free now to our sorrows’ ventSad thoughts are lighter made if by tears spent;Receive the cheers that whosoever sendsSorrow is lighter made if shared with friends.
~~Asumen, A Note of Consolation [p.158 op.cit.]
Some proponents of continued coverage hasten to justify their advocacy by purporting to “address the human interest elements” of the story. I prefer the less pretentious angle, namely, that it’s a matter of personal taste. You pursue whatever tickles your fancy. It would be flagrantly disingenuous to advance your human interest angle on the story primarily in terms of the number of potential victims.
The specter of two hundred thirty-nine potential victims of an accident whose cause is yet unknown, pales in comparison to other human tragedies routinely taking place in our midst that we don’t even notice. For instance, on average 3,425 American babies of all races are killed every day by abortion, a practice routinely subsidized by taxpayer dollars. There are even several advocacy organizations designed to provide financial, logistical and jurisprudential support for the practice.
Western civilization, by default, had planted the seeds of its demise and nurtured it into a formidable instrument of its own destruction:
1. It has treated reproductive responsibility as a leisurely hobby, producing an average of one designer baby per potential mother at the twilight end of the woman’s fertility years.
2. It has institutionalized the systematic destruction of the defenseless and most vulnerable of the next generation with abortion on demand.
3. It has promoted and glamorized conjugal cohabitation not conducive to procreative reproduction.
The result is an aging civilization that does not have much regard for its values to the point that it has grown indifferent to its own procreative perpetuation Western culture has effectively consigned custody of The Human Condition, “the problem of reasserting the politics as a valuable realm of human action, praxis, and the world of appearances” to parties unknown, unconcerned, and unaccountable.
This does not in any way denigrate the fate of the 239 souls on board MH370. Contrariwise, we endeavor to find them because it is for us the living to account for what may have occurred.