Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembrance of Things Past

How does Ayn Rand fit into the 9/11 terrorist attacks?  Probably in many ways, but on a personal level, Bam bought and began her epic last novel, Atlas Shrugged, ten years ago on 9/11/2001.

I only found out recently that on 9/11/01, Bam boarded a cross-continental flight from New York at 6am to San Francisco on United Airlines. He could have been on one of those planes! Still, he's completely un-phased about it, doesn't read into why he lived, didn't find god or anything drastic. 

His plane made an emergency landing that morning in Kansas, where he stayed for three days and where he picked up Atlas Shrugged. It's still with him, he says he'll have it read by the 10th anniversary, tomorrow. He's been about 100 pages out since I met him, and still it waits there on the shelf - the 1168 page manifesto of Dagny Taggart vs. the insidious looters who would poach all that achievers create. Good luck, Bam!

I remember 9/11. Making breakfast, I heard a loud crash, looked outside my Lower East Side window, and saw it couldn't have been lightning - weird - the sky was crystal clear blue. It was voting day, so I went and voted. Saw the smoke billowing out of the towers, went to my roof and took photos. Then I took the subway to 23rd street. It was still running, and the conductor kept apologizing for the delay, "due to the explosion at the WTC". When I got out of the subway at 23rd street, the first tower fell.

It wouldn't happen like that anymore. No more inertia. Nothing we can do to change what's changed, and ten years on - have we changed for the better?  The new tower is still not built - largely due to the victim's families, who, despite payouts, desperately bid to make lower Manhattan a hallowed cemetery. That wasn't the spirit. Neither was the trillion dollar wars which continue to get blank checks from the government despite the fact none of my friends have jobs.

Most memorable about the attacks was the outpouring of goodwill - at home and worldwide - which followed. It felt less Atlas Shrugged and more Atlas Hugged - and then, the sprouting of flags, the war-hawk lies, that idiot in the White House. What if, instead of vengeance, we had harnessed that goodwill and used it to foster more? That's what you can take from 9/11. When an opportunity for goodwill presents itself, no matter the circumstance, don't squelch, don't squander, don't fuck it up.



4 comments:

Anonymous said...

To paraphrase an historian that has become almost cliche: When we do not learn from the mistakes of the past, we are doomed to repeat them. The events/horrors of Sept. 11 are still vivid in our minds and because of the disaster we remember munane things that happened to us on that day. But to put it is a broader prospective, what civilization, past or present, has not committed atrocities against humankind or life in general!
You see, I can be pensive too!

SaintSinner said...

Okay,I don't have time to repost all that I posted yesterday, but....

To honor the 10th of 9/11, I am studying Islam. Not to convert, but to understand. I want to know the truth about it (at least as close as I can get to that). I don't believe that terrorism and Islam are one and the same, nor do I believe there is no connection at all between the two (but I think that connection depends on who's reading the Koran, or the Hadith).

Before I can have an intelligent opinion of Islam, I am planning to read from a variety of sources, as well as the Koran itself, of course.

I'm planning on vlogging about what I find, hopefully sometime soon (for anyone who may be interested).

Of course, getting through the Koran may be slow going...this may turn out as well as Bam (or anyone else, to be honest) getting through Atlas Shrugged.

Wish me luck, gorgeous?

Jesse Archer said...

will look forward to your analysis of the Koran. I have avoided reading religious texts because they keep talking about hell and brimstone (WTF is brimstone?) and gnashing of teeth and it just makes me angry!

I read a lot of the Koran once, in college, for a guy who paid me by the hour to proofread it - looking for grammatical errors and misplaced commas, etc. Of course I knew the real reason he had me do this was to get me to believe the crap I was reading. Didn't stick, but nice try and thanks for the cash!!

Anonymous said...

Jesse,

Through your blog comment section, I would like to congratulate SaintSinner. He is on the right track in gaining a better perspective in how terrorism and Islam have nothing do with each other. It is the interpretation- - -with all its inherent biases and weaknesses- - - and not in the actual Koran where justification for terrorism is supposedly given.

Aye, such a complicated subject to discuss in such limited space!