All of us who are old enough have our memories of 9/11. Part of mine is that on 9/10 I boarded flight 93 from Boston to San Francisco that one day later would be the same flight chosen by the Bin Laden gang to fly into the Washington capitol but, thanks to heroic revolt in the cabin the last thirty minutes, crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
I also recall holding class at the University of Creation Spirituality the morning of the events and a visiting indigenous elder told us that in her tradition, when something as traumatic as that happens, it is important to acknowledge it but it is just as important not to dwell incessantly on it. She warned that American television’s constant running of the reel of the crashes into the towers was not good for the soul.
There is much in the American response—both from the government under Bush/Cheney and the media—that was ill advised and not good for the soul. And arrogance, the capital sin we are meditating on these days, lies at the heart of it all.
One top Bush advisor, who did not want his name used but is suspected to be Karl Rove, pronounced thus about why America invaded Iraq contrary to UN pleas: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”*
Which means to study the non-reasons for invading Iraq and the extended years in Afghanistan.
Twenty years later, the carnage of approximately 800,000 persons dead in the Middle East and about 6000 Americans dead including Twin Tower victims and soldiers on the battlefield and perhaps 24 million people displaced in the Middle East, we taste some of the bittersweetness of American arrogance in response to extremist religious arrogance.
*Cited in https://mail.yahoo.com/d/folders/1/messages/AA6R4WlSfXizYTrYLgAXcKiZH34
To see the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. xx-xxiii, xlii, 198-206. 225, 307.
Queries for Contemplation
What are your memories of 9/11 and what do you think it all meant in the twenty years since? Have we learned anything about “arrogance” in the process—how to tame it and prevent it before evil things happen?