Today is the commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr., and while I'm not watching the news, I'm pretty sure that instead of highlighting his message of compassion and forgiveness, people will be using it to further stir up anger and resentment.
Four years ago I wrote about this, and how "cancel culture" is the natural result of a society that no longer believes in mercy or forgiveness.
I think part of that comes from a belief on the part of the elites that they personally are justified in whatever they do. Society is awash in yard sign Calvinism these days, and it's never been a better time to be one of the Elect. Some obscure teenager makes a joke? Crush them utterly. They must have their entire life ruined.
But if you, say, kill someone out of gross negligence, well that's different. I don't know how much longer this sort of thing can go on and a big part of why I'm cut myself off from as much of the outside world as possible is that I'm tired of watching it play out. If we're going to do Spain 2.0, I'd just as soon skip the long, boring backstory.
A little pessimistic for a Monday? Perhaps, but there is something deeply wrong on a spiritual level right now, and I'm not sure how that changes. The United States of the 1960s was also wracked with turmoil, but there was a universal agreement by the people in charge that open warfare was a terrible idea and they did what they could to lower the temperature. I wasn't around back then, but I'm getting a very different vibe.
For example, where did the peace movement go? Anyone who suggests that maybe negotiation is better than mass killing is now denounced as a traitor to the nation - and many of the people doing this were carrying signs that read "Give Peace a Chance" only a few years ago.
It's all very strange. In a recent Lord of Spirits podcast, the hosts discussed that there are collective spirits - spirits of the age, spirits that rule mobs and crowds. I think we are very much being ruled by spirits who feed on hate, who seek to fuel death and rage. Mercy and forgiveness are intolerable to them.
This is all the more reason to practice it, especially towards people we know personally. In the current environment, forgiving certain things may be folly (and even immoral), but that does not mean we should abandon it altogether. As I said four years ago, now is a great time to let someone you know off the hook.