Sunday, July 24, 2011


We try, we always try, to figure out What It All Means, when we face something like the two-stage rampage of death that one man unleashed on Norway the other day.

I have no idea what it all means. And neither does anyone else, really. I can hazard a guess or two, but that's all they would be.

I suppose that one could read through the 1500 page manifesto/screed/diary of a madman that Anders Breivik apparently posted on the Web. It wouldn't be any more edifying than reading the screeds of the Unabomber.

I could suggest that one consider the words of Eric Hoffer, who said:

Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. Thus people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance.
And who also said:

The savior who wants to turn men into angels is as much a hater of human nature as the totalitarian despot who wants to turn them into puppets.
But in the end, that doesn't tell you What It All Means, either. There is something inside Anders Breivik that drove him to commit horrific crimes, in the same way that there was something inside Timothy McVeigh and Theodore Kaczynski. We ascribe whatever meaning we see fit, mostly in the service of flattering our own worldview. Inevitably, it's simultaneously more simple and more complicated than that. Which is why I can't tell you What It All Means.


Gino said...

maybe it means that norwegians will soon be getting fondled, groped, molested and humiliated while attempting to board mass transit in their stocking feet?

Mr. D said...

That's not a bad way to bet, Gino.