Sunday, September 11, 2011

" of the outer air."

For reasons too lengthy to go into here, it would be fair to say that the horrific events of 9/11 were instrumental in changing [altering forever] some of my deepest felt beliefs about existence itself.
It shifted not only my worldview, but also my other-world view!
No, not shifted. --> Displaced.
Exactly ten years ago [to the minute, actually] Flight 11 slammed into the North Tower and the stunned world assumed it to be [merely] a terrible aviation disaster. But seventeen minutes later, the second plane -- ach, it's too sad to talk about.

Whenever I come across a passage in fiction that mentions the World Trade Center… I pause, and remember. This happened a while ago as I was reading Martin Amis's [1984] novel Money, and the protagonist/narrator said:
I turned, taking the sun full in the face. Up here with the high windows, Manhattan was hidden and you saw only the twin shafts of the World Trade Center, two gold lighters against the strong and pressing blue of the outer air. I shook my head. The mote in my eye, that dead spot where no light lives, wiggled its black finger at me.

Those buildings no longer stand -- and thousands are dead, largely due to a certifiably insane belief in prophetic words.
So, far be it from me to add Martin Amis to some list of….. prophets.
But the last line of that excerpt does have a coincidentally prescient nature to it.
It serves, however, along with the photo I posted above -- to remind me, and remind me profoundly -- that I do not believe in prophecy. Or prophets.
I once believed in both, and now I am ashamed of that fact.

Currently I am reading yet another book by Martin Amis. It's called The Second Plane and it's a collection of essays and short stories about the events of Sept.11, 2001. It's such a well-written, deeply sobering book.
Will that day, ten years ago, ever make sense to anyone?
Mainly because what caused it never will, either.
In the Foreword to The Second Plane, Amis writes:
I was once asked: "Are you an Islamophobe?" And the answer is no. What I am is an Islamismophobe, or better say an anti-Islamist, because a phobia is an irrational fear, and it is not irrational to fear something that says it wants to kill you. The more general enemy, of course, is extremism. What has extremism ever done for anyone? Where are its gifts to humanity? Where are its works?


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