Wednesday, June 01, 2005


You may remember the man who ran Cantor Fitzgerald's office in the top floors of the World Trade Center. He was late for work the morning of 9/11/2001. I saw him talking about it a month after the planes hit. He was like a ghost with a cold wind blowing through his soul. Every single person who worked for him died that day. It's hard not to be emotionally and mentally bowled over by what happened to that poor man.

What happened in the World Trade Center is nothing compared to the holocaust to come. Every single person living today is going to die. Without exception. A hundred years from now, every single adult who is alive today will be dead. This is a holocaust of unimaginable proportions. Billions dead. It's literally true, and we all know it. Why don't we read about this in the news? Why is our situation different than the situation at Cantor Fitzgerald on 9/11/2001?

The truth is that it is not. There is nothing special about what happened at Cantor Fitzgerald. I don't mean to make light of it. But this is what is happening in the world every day.

Back in the Renaissance, people would pray that the plague wouldn't be too bad this year, and promise to pay for a cathedral if they lived. The Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Venice was built on that basis. Beautiful place. Everybody who was involved in building it is dead. Today's plague is terrorism. We don't build Basilicas to fight it. Instead, we kill people.

We defeated the plague by understanding it. The anger and hatred that fuel acts of terrorism have their own causes. An ancient sage once wrote that when someone beats you with a stick it doesn't make sense to get angry at the stick. The stick was wielded by the person who beat you. Likewise, it doesn't make sense to get angry at the person who beat you. The problem is not the person. It is the anger. We say the person's anger, but really the anger is wielding the person, driving the person to do things that the person would not do when calm.

As long as we identify our enemy as some angry person who wants to harm us, we are doomed. To really stop the spread of terrorism, we need to stop the anger, not the person. To stop the anger, we need to understand what causes it. We can do this on the cheap - it won't cost hundreds of billions of dollars every year. Nobody has to die to help us in our task. Honest.


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