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April 30, 2006

"To Wipe Away the...Horizon"

Can loss of belief be disorienting, frightening, terrifying? I think of these haunting lines from Nietzsche's account of humanity's murder of God:

Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained the earth from its sun?

Posted by Mitchell Stephens at April 30, 2006 7:57 PM


Loss of belief will be one major contributor to the mental problems the returning Iraq warriors will have and very likely will cost more than the war itself. The more a soldier believes in his/her government and country and the righteousness of fighting for freedom the more their whole world is turned upside down and they are left with no moral compass and no one to trust with their faith. And, unlike in the Vietnam War where many were drafted (me), these are all volunteers and much more invested in the rightness of this war. It is no wonder at all that those wounded soldiers in the hospitals they show on TV almost always still believe in the rightness of this war. To believe otherwise would be to admit you had suffered and sacrificed your future for nothing. And so many of them will face that extreme betrayal when the proverbial chickens come home to roost.

Posted by: Jay Saul at April 30, 2006 11:52 PM

I wonder how far this analogy between loss of faith in God and a loss of faith in country (or parent or lover) can be taken.

Posted by: mitch at May 1, 2006 6:48 PM

Loss of belief may be unsettling for many people, but for me it was liberating to realize that my life is not under the control of invisible, irrational forces.

Posted by: No More Mr. Nice Guy! at May 1, 2006 11:55 PM

Your old religion just not enough to cope with modern day angst? Just take two and mix together for a more comforting jumble of paradoxes.


Posted by: Jay Saul at May 2, 2006 6:08 PM

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