In a Dark Time

karin lofthus carrington and susan griffin

in Transforming Terror

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780520251021
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520949454 | DOI:
In a Dark Time

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The poet Theodore Roethke's words, “In a dark time the eye begins to see,” serve as a potent reminder for our time. Assaulted by ads and images that tell us we can look young forever or be happy all the time, we have been taught to look away from tragedy and suffering. Yet if terror inspires blind and unthinking reactions, as with any threat, this crisis also affords the opportunity to see more deeply. If we are to make the world a safer place, we will need to face the unpredictability of existence and our mutual vulnerability in the face of violence. When we navigate grief, anger, or despair with awareness, these strong emotions have the power to transform both consciousness and the real dangers we face, making us stronger and more resilient. Mass terrorism; political uncertainty; economic decline; and ethnic, religious, national, tribal, and internecine wars have made the dark emotions pervasive and overwhelming in our time. This chapter includes essays on the wisdom in grief, fear, and despair, as well as a poem by Theodore Roethke.

Keywords: Theodore Roethke; terror; terrorism; grief; fear; despair; cruelty; violence; dark emotions

Chapter.  12691 words. 

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

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