Integrities is issued quarterly
by IF, a public benefit nonprofit corporation which fosters hopeful alternatives.
Editor: Bill Cane
Editorial Board: Isa Dempsey, Peggy Law, Peter and Betty Michelozzi
Publishing, Format, Design: MMPublishing
who was a photojournalist in Central America during the war years,
took this photo on September 11th and sent it to us as a commentary
on the aftermath of the Twin Towers. Its focus is on his young child
Liam surrounded by darkness, innocently seeking the light.
"Integrity" is usually pictured as personal. "That person
has integrity," we say, meaning that he or she has values and lives
according to them despite the costs involved.
But for some people, integrity has grown beyond the personal to include
the trees and the oceans, the way nations relate to each other, and the
very fabric of life on earth. Such people feel overwhelmed and lonely
at times, but they are the ones who are capable of sowing seeds for an
integral culture. Their work is done in a cloud of uncertainty and often
without institutional support or approval.
Our purpose is simple. We wish to further the sense of integrities which
is taking shape in our time, and we wish to communicate the stories of
people who are struggling to live their lives in an integral fashion.
|THE FALLEN TOWERS
"Those towers represented human triumph over nature. Larger than
life, built to be unburnable, they were the Titanic of our day. For
them to burn and fall so quickly means that the whole super-structure
we depend upon to mitigate nature and assure our comfort and safety
could fall. And without it most of us do not know how to survive.
We know, in our bones, that our technologies and economies are unsustainable,
that nature is stronger than we are, that we cannot tamper with the
very life systems of the earth without costs, and that we are creating
such despair in the world that it must inevitably crack open, weep
The towers falling were an icon of an upcoming reckoning we dread
but secretly anticipate. The movement we need to build now must
speak to the full weight of the loss, of the fear, and yet hold
out hope. We must admit the existence of great forces of chaos
and uncertainty, and yet maintain that out of chaos can come destruction,
but also creativity."
"Only Poetry Can Address Grief."
Not since the Civil War has so much blood been shed on US soil.
Abraham Lincoln, toward the end of that war, pondered our country's
suffering and tried to reconcile it with divine providence. Everyone
was aware, he began his Second Inaugural Address, that "slavery
was somehow the cause of the war." Then he continued:
'Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be
that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.'
If we shall suppose that American slavery is one
of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come,
but which having continued through God's appointed time, God now
wills to remove, and that God gives to both North and South this
terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall
we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which
the believers in a living God always ascribe to him?
Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge
of war may speedily pass away.
Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by
the bondsmen's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall
be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn
with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as
was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said,
'The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'
Continued in Column 2
Lincoln had a deep sense of what we might call "karma,"
a sense that even in historical time there comes a great leveling.
The mills of God grind slowly but they grind exceeding fine.
As we ponder a more recent horror, we could use Lincoln's far-reaching
view of history. Like Lincoln, we are overwhelmed by what we cannot
comprehend. As a people who felt ourselves immune from threat, we
have suddenly been thrust into terror. Europeans still alive remember
running from the bombs of World War II. Jews remember the holocaust.
The people of Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Northern Ireland,
Palestine and Bosnia live in the midst of terror. Now we too have
joined the vulnerability of the larger world.
Lincoln made no pretense of understanding. He could only "suppose"
why there was so much horror. And he supposed that it had somehow
to do with America's refusal to face its dark side. The Founders
had been acutely aware of slavery as an unresolved issue. Their
successors in government chose to ignore it and finally to live
in denial about its ultimate consequences. When John Quincy Adams
insisted on introducing petitions for the freeing of slaves in the
House, Congress silenced him by instituting a gag rule. The problem
could not even be mentioned in the halls of government.
AFTERMATH is continued on another page.