9/11 again in 2021 in
I saw the first plane hit the first tower on a tv set in an office where I was working with a client.
"Everything has changed; nothing will ever be the same as it was before this moment!" was the sentiment then among all present. And that sentiment has been forged into historic reality in the ensuring twenty years.
Later that day, I was confronted by a faux educator intent on sucking the public dollars from the public trough in a private career academy (ironic misuse of the long and treasured tradition of the academe)..for two narcissistic and greedy motives: profit and social and political ambition to achieve social status parity with the then president of a real local university.
Enrolment numbers of still-maturing and often vulnerable and insecure young men and women, who themselves were trying to find a "career" without having to endure the trials and stumbles of time and experience, meant dollars and validation of his motives to this glib and superficial "educator".
Teaching ethics to wannabe police officers, I found the most intractable and virtually unreachable concept to convey and to convince these neophytes who were so in awe of the vision of personal power (analogous to and complicit with the owner's life goals)...was the concept of a "clear and unbiased and judgement-free mind-set" in that moment when they were to be entering whatever situation needing their presence after graduation.
The over-riding ethos of the players in that context was to find the shortest path to immediate extrinsic goals.
Any mention of anything that pushed back against the exclusively personal transactional, any idea that superceded technique, or that challenged the view that all circumstances could be managed and manipulated through a menu of method, devoid of perspective, judgement, full of ambiguity, and outside the literal reading if the rules was beyond the walls, the minds and the spirit of that enterprise from top to bottom.
This is not to say that the career academy dies not have a place in a culture where work provides income and sustenance. It is, however, to warn against the spectre of the pursuit of transactional personal selfish goals that ultimately and inevitably sabotage those pursuing them and all who are complicit in that process.
Those terrorists who pursued their own ultimately selfish and transactional goals of bringing the American capitalist altar to ruin, in order to assert their own unbridled religious hubris, were, and continue to be, engaged in a vain, narcissistic, selfish, and ultimately vacuous goal that can never be considered a worthy definition of meaning, purpose or especially identity for a single person.
We cry out for the preservation of democracy and freedom as opposed to the venal and evil forces of autocracy, dictatorship, terrorism and religious fanaticism.
And then we merge a specific faith like Christianity and Islam as examples of the differences...when it is the human nature's deep-seated need for power, control, dominance and status that has been grafted onto those values that we espouse, teach and incarnate.
Of course, I have contempt for the faux-educator profiting from the glib manipulation of people and dollars for primarily personal greed and status. And yet, the question still remains: have we not succumbed to the reduction of too many if our human agendas to the merely transactional, the merely literal, the merely self-serving and the obviously self-sabotaging?
For all of the vain and assiduously developed defences against the threats of terror in the airports, the planes, the cyber-security edifices we have built, and the laws and bureaucracies to protect us, how many self-reflective moments have we each engaged to assess the degree to which our own lives have fallen for the need for instant and immediate satisfaction of our most superficial and obvious need?
The divide between personal and cultural perspectives of need opens on the clock, the calendar and the universe's notion of eternity.
Immediate personal satisfactions can and will thwart the legitimate long-term and far more resonant and inspiring work and rewards that attends the larger honourable collective need for safety, security and hope.
And the detachment from our shared needs and purposes in favour of exclusively private and personal needs me goals (excessive consumerism, nationalism, religious exclusivity, excessive and isolated self-righteous ness, and pomposity of absolute certainty,) will inevitably bite each if us and the whole world in the butt.
That's not rocket science; it is obvious to any who choose to look.
And that won't be pretty or unpredictable!