My reaction to the little girl covering herself in her friend’s blood and to the armed policemen doing nothing while waiting for backup are reactions to parts of me.
My mind creates the narrative, triggers it’s own emotional reactions, and then reacts to them.
I do well to be aware of this process and learn from it as doing so could save the world.
c. 1600, from French enthousiasme (16c.) and directly from Late Latin enthusiasmus, from Greek enthousiasmos “divine inspiration, enthusiasm (produced by certain kinds of music, etc.),” from enthousiazein “be inspired or possessed by a god, be rapt, be in ecstasy,” from entheos “divinely inspired, possessed by a god,” from en “in” (see en- (2)) + theos “god” (from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts).
I have been lucky enough to be enthusiastic about a lot of things in my life. Writing, reading, bringing up our kids, playing my sax, riding fast bikes, climbing hills, speaking on stages, driving my trucks.
I am now becoming increasingly enthusiastic about just being. Not doing things, just being.
Every time someone commits an atrocity we look for explanations. We want someone to blame.
But it is our fault.
We all know someone, who knows someone, who has interacted however briefly with someone who knows someone who is considering committing an atrocity.
Our own behaviour, or failure to comment on theirs, gets passed down the chain with the message “It’s ok to think that”, “It’s ok to be like that”, “It’s ok to do that”.
Remember this the next time you interact with anyone.
Even after all these years, must be about fifteen or so by now, since I last drank alcohol, I still forget.
I will be sitting chatting to someone in a pub and will begin to notice changes. Subtle changes. Changes in eye contact, changes in their tone, shifts in how we are relating to one another.
I will wonder why.
Then I remember.
“That’ll be the drink then…”