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the new century


The New Century

— a speech full of “archaic splendor”

Our wonderful association may end here in the new century. 

This is the dawn of a global civilization. Humanity is confronted with a grave challenge to set off in a new direction, to part ways with war and violence. Mass murder robs innocent people of their lives, which no grievance can justify. 

It was bitter. An incident opposed to tolerance, despite the damage, the cowardly nature at its core trampled the world’s aspirations. 

The crime has had a profound impact filled with apprehension and anxiety, a dark millennial mood, a curiously detached attitude, an increasing sense of insecurity which has left deep scars in a lasting and negative way, the chaos of distress and confusion surpassing the magnitude as we tackle this enormous task through faith and hearty courage. 

The noble intent which has been cruelly mocked first and finally requires strengthening. All talk is useless hidden behind the veil of anonymity. Our unflinching gaze, our views are divided. Without a persistent effort those moved by a lofty dedication — how are they to respond powerless in the face of violence? 

The problems provide one background viewed in isolation. The scale of this challenge, the essence of the darkness that envelops this impenetrable gloom, those directly affected roots are sunk. A truly massive effort, a paradigm shift, sharply refined standards with the scrupulous intensity are demanded of those weighty and insoluble questions. 

The vicious spiral of anguished inner conflict — it is this that moves me so deeply having confronted the horror through a process of heart-rending contemplation. An unacceptable affront is not enough to call blithely for talk before the abyss of seething hatred, altering the course of history, an existential determination to transform their being. We call this “ceaseless struggles” within our hearts and minds before all people. 

The psychic map through the blinding dust it consumed, an acute sensitivity to life, it’s an inevitable aspect of the attempt to live the value of life with no evidence of reflection. 

I discuss these issues only in the heart of the individual. The absence of an “internalized other,” a vague virtual image at best, utter and complete numbness, we grow into selfhood in their gaze. In the darkness in which our civilization has been immersed we sense an eerie blankness, another form of violence. Defeat of the human spirit, a firm unyielding stance is necessary. Ominous scars that will require attention in the future, the world has been forced to grapple direct and unflinching in a relentless inner quest. An unknown — yet clearly enormous — degree has numbed insensitivity far out of sight in the ferocious rain. It was a futile effort to escape destruction overshadowed by the demonic threat that the process of blinding ourselves to the cycles would only deepen, all that is required escalating without cease. 

To illuminate the darkness, the multi-layered structure, their mutual possession, the very next moment, the positive potentials that exist in a world of animality and anger striving always to “live well,” the ceaseless endeavor to strengthen our will brings forth its innate brilliance when polished. 

To polish our lives empowers this habit of struggle, one of the great dramas of the last century. An excellent and ironic example, these things that lie beneath the surface, the will to kill, it probes the depths of the inner life, shines with new brilliance. This is my unfailing faith, shared, flourishing in all fields, necessarily fated to end the vibrant and mutually catalytic process. 

My own meeting with leading figures presently faced with a severe trial, the interlocking chain reactions that have brought such suffering to humankind, one of the tragic hallmarks, what are called complex emergencies, we have today learned the bitter lesson of these deep-seated psychological causes. Obviously no one is born with a degrading experience bogging down even before they’ve begun. Global popular opinion to press immediately, in the wake a transformation in behavior, is a strong new determination, say reports that envision the future. 

In Europe concrete planning has already begun, a guideline for humanity, the fulcrum for the common struggle. Who will bear the burden of the future? Progress is checkered for the lifelong happiness of the learner members of the rising generations, in particular women, moving the tide of history. 

— from Humanism of the Middle Way by Daisaku Ikeda