In both my book groups we’ve read Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson.
What has most stayed with me is a Black girl’s suggestion for punishment of Adolph Hitler. Let him be Black in the United States.
Years ago, I read Hannah Arendt’s book on the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichman, one of the architects of the Holocaust. She titled the book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.
In his introduction to Arendt’s book, Israeli journalist Amos Elon writes:
[Arendt] concluded that Eichmann’s inability to speak coherently in court was connected with his incapacity to think, or to think from another person’s point of view. . . . He personified neither hatred or madness nor an insatiable thirst for blood, but something far worse, the faceless nature of Nazi evil itself . . . aimed at dismantling the human personality of its victims. The Nazis had succeeded in turning the legal order on its head, making the wrong and the malevolent the foundation of a new “righteousness.” In the Third Reich evil lost its distinctive characteristic by which most people had until then recognized it. The Nazis redefined it as a civil norm. . . . Within this upside-down world Eichmann . . . seemed not to have been aware of having done evil.
I sit with that today as I consider these words of Albert Einstein. “Mankind invented the atomic bomb, but no mouse would ever construct a mousetrap.”
Of late, I’ve been blessed to spend time with my grandson. At 18 months old, he is pure joy, an enchanting dance and song as he explores and discovers. The books he “reads” are about community and generosity, empathy and feelings.
As he grows, may the world become more kind and empathetic.
I have mixed feelings on zoos, though I understand it’s a way to teach and study and even help endangered species reproduce. It’s a fun place to be and the children’s playground at the SF Zoo is pure delight. The Sculpture Learning Plaza is a fascinating way to learn.
Recently I was by the bay and saw Canadian Geese parenting their little ones.