Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Dragged Into the Dark Vortex

 

Lately grayish clouds seem to rest uncomfortably above my head. It’s like living in a premature rainstorm that can’t quite unify into a full, raging tornado. But the threat always seems to be there.

That’s what it’s like for me living in these times. Overall my life is good, and I have friends and blessings aplenty. But the clouds are so persistent that they seem to darken everything.

It isn’t really the clouds that bother me so much: it’s the life that they hide, that place where evil in its many forms resides. That evil used to only peek out now and then; now it shows up in countless ways, through newspapers, TV news, online blogs, to remind us that it is ever-present.

In a way, evil’s presence isn’t news. It’s always been there. But for me, it’s always been in the background. It was something people talked about as if it existed in another time or on another planet. It was a force that others struggled with, and the rest of us could compassionately encourage and support those who dealt with it in their daily lives.

But evil is trying cleverly, relentlessly, to move in. It has a seat in the classroom, in the halls of Congress, protesting the military and law enforcement. It shows up at the dinner table, in the movie theater, in the church pews and our community organizations. It never waits for an invitation. We used to call out evil and watch it crawl away out the door as we decried its presence. Now it walks through the front door uninvited, quietly smiles, and makes itself comfortable as we watch TV or talk about it.

It was once invigorating and satisfying to condemn evil where I saw it. Others would join in, and even if it tried to hang around, we could make its life pretty miserable with our stories of celebration, heroes, resilience, values, and commitment. But I feel myself getting weaker. I’m tired. It seems like there is nowhere to go where evil doesn’t show its ugly face. In fact, sometimes it’s in disguise and looks quite inoffensive. When I ask about its presence, others shrug their shoulders or say it’s only staying for a short time. When I ask how long, they’re never really certain.

I don’t like evil thinking it can hang out anywhere near me. That’s probably why it mostly conceals itself in ugly clouds, just out of reach, preparing to pull me into its latent, swirling vortex. I keep hoping I can simply learn to live with its dark and persistent presence, since I don’t know how to banish it out of existence—or at the very least, out of my life. How does one fully appreciate one’s life with evil appearing nearly everywhere, ready to suck everything into its path?

My greatest fear is that a dominant evil is here to stay, and none of us will be free again.

There are 41 comments.

  1. Steven Seward Member

    Susan, you poor creature! (I’m not saying that sarcastically) We are living in the best of times. Cheer up!

    There is a phenomenon that I have seen for decades ever since growing up in the 1960’s. That is a pervasive feeling in all of society that things are constantly getting worse. I blame it squarely on television news coverage that has gradually usurped a gigantic amount of airtime on the Boob Tube. Now it has shifted somewhat to Internet news coverage. News, by its very nature is a form of entertainment that must find tragedy to report on in order to make it interesting enough for people to watch. Television and Internet news is especially potent because it shows moving pictures which emotionally amplify any tragedy far more than any written report can muster.

    It is the same principle that I learned in Literature Class that every story must have one of three kinds of conflict: Man vs, Man, Man vs. Nature, and Man vs. Himself. There must be some sort of conflict to resolve in order to make the story interesting. Without conflict, the reader would quickly become bored and go watch a disaster movie.

    When I look at real history and compare it to what is happening in the World now, I feel like we are living in a Golden Era. Just a few anecdotal tidbits:

    1. America’s crime rate is at a low not seen since the 1950’s, though you would never know it by watching the news. 
    2. Despite the horrific news of killings in Syria, North Korea, Sudan, Central African Republic, Isis territories etc., this pales in comparison not only to the two World Wars, but to all the other myriad wars we had in just the 20th Century alone. And those wars don’t even compare to the massive killing done previously by Communist States.
    3. World hunger and poverty rates are drastically better than they were in the 70’s when everybody was predicting massive starvation in the future.
    4. Democracy, while only a tiny percentage of the World just 30 years ago, has been expanding ever since.

    Now I hope I have lifted your spirits a little!

     

    • #1
    • August 7, 2018, at 4:59 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Susan, you poor creature! (I’m not saying that sarcastically) We are living in the best of times. Cheer up!

    There is a phenomenon that I have seen for decades ever since growing up in the 1960’s. That is a pervasive feeling in all of society that things are constantly getting worse. I blame it squarely on television news coverage that has gradually usurped a gigantic amount of airtime on the Boob Tube. Now it has shifted somewhat to Internet news coverage. News, by its very nature is a form of entertainment that must find tragedy to report on in order to make it interesting enough for people to watch. Television and Internet news is especially potent because it shows moving pictures which emotionally amplify any tragedy far more than any written report can muster.

    It is the same principle that I learned in Literature Class that every story must have one of three kinds of conflict: Man vs, Man, Man vs. Nature, and Man vs. Himself. There must be some sort of conflict to resolve in order to make the story interesting. Without conflict, the reader would quickly become bored and go watch a disaster movie.

    When I look at real history and compare it to what is happening in the World now, I feel like we are living in a Golden Era. Just a few anecdotal tidbits:

    1. America’s crime rate is at a low not seen since the 1950’s, though you would never know it by watching the news.
    2. Despite the horrific news of killings in Syria, North Korea, Sudan, Central African Republic, Isis territories etc., this pales in comparison not only to the two World Wars, but to all the other myriad wars we had in just the 20th Century alone. And those wars don’t even compare to the massive killing done previously by Communist States.
    3. World hunger and poverty rates are drastically better than they were in the 70’s when everybody was predicting massive starvation in the future.
    4. Democracy, while only a tiny percentage of the World just 30 years ago, has been expanding ever since.

    Now I hope I have lifted your spirits a little!

     

    You have! You have created a much larger perspective that transcends time. I hope others will offer perspectives and suggestions . I’m sure I’m not the only one struggling. Thanks, Steve. 

    • #2
    • August 7, 2018, at 5:09 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Front Seat Cat Member

    You described it perfectly – the Church is the antidote – these times were predicted in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. God’s plan is playing out – we have free will. There is hope – Christians around the world know time it short – we feel it too – exactly as you described. Have faith and watch God’s greatest work yet to come…….

    • #3
    • August 7, 2018, at 5:17 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    You described it perfectly – the Church is the antidote – these times were predicted in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. God’s plan is playing out – we have free will. There is hope – Christians around the world know time it short – we feel it too – exactly as you described. Have faith and watch God’s greatest work yet to come…….

    I know that my relationship with G-d is very helpful. I’m not alone in facing these difficult times. It just seems that it is so pervasive and persistent. Thanks for your comments, FSC. I think we both rely on our faith.

    • #4
    • August 7, 2018, at 5:23 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Suzy,

    Please watch the Elizabeth Heng campaign video I posted just above yours. If that doesn’t lift you right out from under that black vortex then nothing will.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #5
    • August 7, 2018, at 5:55 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Suzy,

    Please watch the Elizabeth Heng campaign video I posted just above yours. If that doesn’t lift you right out from under that black vortex then nothing will.

    Regards,

    Jim

    You’re right–what an inspiration!! Thanks!

    • #6
    • August 7, 2018, at 6:25 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Steven Seward Member

    Somebody please help me with this. I have been trying to find an article that was written in the New York Times about a year ago by a prominent Liberal. I can’t quite remember the title of the article, but in it he postulates the “blasphemous” idea that despite what we hear about catastrophes and all the doomsday predictions, we are living in the best of times. The author cites a whole bunch of world-wide data that shows dramatic improvement in all sorts of political, social, and technological areas. The article made a minor splash when it came out, especially because of its source.

    Aha! I’ve finally found it while typing this comment. It’s called “Why 2017 was the Best Year in History” by Nicholas Kristof. Right now I can’t find it reprinted at a web site that doesn’t have a pay wall, so here is a similar article by Kristof echoing the main article.

    • #7
    • August 7, 2018, at 6:28 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  8. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Me too! 

    • #8
    • August 7, 2018, at 6:41 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. PHCheese Member

    😁,🧀

    • #9
    • August 7, 2018, at 7:33 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Phil Turmel Coolidge

    I’m basically an optimist, but I foresee grim times ahead. But I think we win, here in the U.S. of A., even before the end times.

    • #10
    • August 7, 2018, at 7:40 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    If we survived the Obama Administration, we can survive anything. And every generation, all down through history, sometimes thinks it’s the End Times. And it never is.

    • #11
    • August 7, 2018, at 9:35 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. James Lileks Contributor

    My greatest fear is that a dominant evil is here to stay, and none of us will be free again.

    <rodserling voice> Picture if you will a foe. He’s red in tooth and claw, and red in words and deed. Some call him Ivan. He lives in a empire that stretches from the cold walls of a Siberian prison to the quaint streets of a European capital. But there is no one Ivan. There is an army of hundreds of millions who bear his name. They have harnessed the atom, tied it to rockets, and pointed them at us. They are stronger than any foe we have ever known. They are the Soviets. </rodserlingvoice>

    To name one dominant evil we survived. Happiness’ greatest foe and trickster? The screen. The angry thing in the palm of your hand, the wall of misery on your desktop. 

    • #12
    • August 7, 2018, at 11:45 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  13. Steven Seward Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    My greatest fear is that a dominant evil is here to stay, and none of us will be free again.

    <rodserling voice> Picture if you will a foe. He’s red in tooth and claw, and red in words and deed. Some call him Ivan. He lives in a empire that stretches from the cold walls of a Siberian prison to the quaint streets of a European capital. But there is no one Ivan. There is an army of hundreds of millions who bear his name. They have harnessed the atom, tied it to rockets, and pointed them at us. They are stronger than any foe we have ever known. They are the Soviets. </rodserlingvoice>

    To name one dominant evil we survived. Happiness’ greatest foe and trickster? The screen. The angry thing in the palm of your hand, the wall of misery on your desktop.

    You would make a great screenwriter for The Twilight Zone. Your own voice would rival Serling’s scary film noir monologue.

    • #13
    • August 8, 2018, at 12:29 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. I Walton Member

    The evil is real, it is growing more powerful and yet we are living in the best of times, at least most of us, and almost everybody materially. We’re sort of like overindulged latch key kids of highly affluent permissive parents. Evil never goes away and occasionally takes over for a while as all of us who lived through most of the twentieth century have seen. We don’t get to quit paying attention.

    • #14
    • August 8, 2018, at 3:41 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Michael Brehm Member

    • #15
    • August 8, 2018, at 5:43 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Michael Brehm (View Comment):

    @michaelbrehm, thank you. This is so very apt for where I am right now. And since I believe so strongly that taking action is important, I’m inspired to do just that.

    • #16
    • August 8, 2018, at 6:02 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    Aha! I’ve finally found it while typing this comment. It’s called “Why 2017 was the Best Year in History” by Nicholas Kristof. Right now I can’t find it reprinted at a web site that doesn’t have a pay wall, so here is a similar article by Kristof echoing the main article.

    You are amazing! You’ve gone out of your way to inspire all of us–that is so kind. And the story is wonderful. Even liberals get it right sometimes. Thanks, @stevenseward.

    • #17
    • August 8, 2018, at 6:06 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    I’m basically an optimist, but I foresee grim times ahead. But I think we win, here in the U.S. of A., even before the end times.

    I’m basically an optimist, too, @philturmel. And I do want to believe things can get better, if we all work together. Thanks.

    • #18
    • August 8, 2018, at 6:07 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    To name one dominant evil we survived. Happiness’ greatest foe and trickster? The screen. The angry thing in the palm of your hand, the wall of misery on your desktop.

    I will treasure this moment, @jameslileks –your rendition of the talented Rod Serling!! And yes, I must somehow find a way to hold the news at bay, remember the blessings and work for that which is good. Thank you.

    • #19
    • August 8, 2018, at 6:10 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    I Walton (View Comment):

    The evil is real, it is growing more powerful and yet we are living in the best of times, at least most of us, and almost everybody materially. We’re sort of like overindulged latch key kids of highly affluent permissive parents. Evil never goes away and occasionally takes over for a while as all of us who lived through most of the twentieth century have seen. We don’t get to quit paying attention.

    I agree with every sentence, @iwalton. I think I need to remind myself that paradox is everywhere, the good existing with the bad. I am spoiled. I like to be able to live a pleasant life, and I dislike being reminded, frequently, of how much evil there is. But to fight it, one must strive to do the right thing, even with joy, because life calls us to do that. Thank you.

    • #20
    • August 8, 2018, at 6:12 AM PDT
    • Like
  21. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Be of good cheer. Fighting the good fight is the reward in itself, regardless of outcome. And here in small town America, I am continually reminded of the innate goodness of the people of this country.

    • #21
    • August 8, 2018, at 7:05 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  22. Theodoric of Freiberg Member

    Susan,

    Our puny minds cannot perceive God’s plans for the world and He works His miracles in unexpected and startling ways. I’ve seen it again and again. Have faith!

    You already know this, but we all need to be reminded from time to time.

    • #22
    • August 8, 2018, at 8:35 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Theodoric of Freiberg (View Comment):

    Susan,

    Our puny minds cannot perceive God’s plans for the world and He works His miracles in unexpected and startling ways. I’ve seen it again and again. Have faith!

    You already know this, but we all need to be reminded from time to time.

    I didn’t know exactly why I wrote this OP, that the reminders are greatly helpful, @theodoricoffreiberg. Thank you.

    • #23
    • August 8, 2018, at 9:02 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. The Reticulator Member

    I was going to try to cheer you up, but then someone came along and said we’re living in the best of times. In other words, we’re doomed. 

    • #24
    • August 9, 2018, at 8:53 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    I was going to try to cheer you up, but then someone came along and said we’re living in the best of times. In other words, we’re doomed.

    Well, you made me laugh! And that’s always a good thing, @thereticulator!

    • #25
    • August 9, 2018, at 8:55 AM PDT
    • Like
  26. Steven Seward Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    I was going to try to cheer you up, but then someone came along and said we’re living in the best of times. In other words, we’re doomed.

    Perhaps I should have said “we’re living in the worst of times.” That oughta cheer you up!

    • #26
    • August 9, 2018, at 9:14 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  27. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    I was going to try to cheer you up, but then someone came along and said we’re living in the best of times. In other words, we’re doomed.

    Of course we’re doomed. The idea is to whoop it up as much as possible before that happens.

    • #27
    • August 9, 2018, at 2:38 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. Rodin Member

    Amen, @susanquinn. It does seem that evil is much more in vogue and too often clothed in asserted virtue.

     

    • #28
    • August 11, 2018, at 5:53 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    You might enjoy the recent Ricochet Techera/Teachout discussion of evil as portrayed in The Night of the Hunter. Then (re)watch the film.

    https://ricochet.com/396164/acf-critic-series-6-teachout-on-the-night-of-the-hunter/

    • #29
    • August 12, 2018, at 12:41 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Jules PA Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    It just seems that it is so pervasive and persistent.

    This is the nature of evil, to be persistent, and pervasive.

    Modern news is so much gossip, mostly not news that can help. 

    News thrives on creating fear and helplessness, and glorifying the outcome of evildoers. It spreads like a virus.

    We can overcome evil by being faithful to good among those we come in contact with. 

    And turning off the news. 

     

    • #30
    • August 12, 2018, at 12:52 PM PDT
    • 3 likes