A Time Capsule of Hope
by Carl Josehart
Since the rise of Donald Trump, the Alt Right the new language of hate and the rise of tribalism in America I have been experiencing a sense of dread – but also of déjà vu; a sense that I have been here before – that I have felt this way before.
Today, a piece of the puzzle fell into place when I pulled a book off of the shelf. The book is In a Dark Time, edited by Robert J. Lifton and Nicholas Humphrey. If you don’t own it I recommend you go immediately to Amazon and order a copy…I’ll wait.
Okay, you’re back – good, you’ll thank me later. But back to the reason I have been thinking so much about this book lately. The authors edited it at a time that society was experiencing an overwhelming sense of dread and anxiety about the inevtiablity of nuclear war and the devastating anihilation that would be the consequence. Since the election the dread I am feeling about the direction of our country has triggered those memories, almost like a mild sense of PTSD.
I remember reading the book and feeling a sense of comfort that others in the world felt as I did. I remember the sense of hope when I became connected to voices of reason and clarity. I began to believe, that in the words of the poet Theodore Roethke, the words that form the basis for the title of the book, that indeed, “In a dark time, the eye begins to see.”
My copy of the book is still dog eared and well worn. Full of notes in the margins from my younger self almost like a time-capsule of hope sent from decades ago to comfort me and remind me that hope is not lost and the world can come back from the brink of disaster.
I will close with one of my favorite quotes from the book
I am a great inventor, did you but know it…
Mine are the battle-ships of righteousness and integrity –
The armor-plates of a quiet conscience and self-respect –
The impregnable conning-tower of divine manhood –
The Long Toms of persuasion –
The machine guns of influence and example –
The dum-dum bullets of pity and remorse –
The impervious cordon of sympathy –
The concentration camps of brotherhood –
The submarine craft of forgiveness –
The torpedo-boat destroyer of love –
And behind them all the dynamite of truth!
I do not patent my inventions.
Take them. They are free to all the world.
– Ernest Crosby, “War and Hell,” 1898