i've been trying to relax by listening to some clint mansell. the fountain soundtrack is a beautiful piece of alternately soothing and inspiring music which matches perfectly any aspiration to studying or sleeping. in the wake of yesterday's violence, though, i am really pondering the idea of death leading to awe. first of all: how do we define awe? according to dictionary.com, the archaic/obsolete definition is fear or dread. i think we can safely say that death, or at least the possibility of it, brings humanity, as a whole, a great deal of fear or dread. the more modern term awe brings along with it "an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful" -- a subtle, but remarkable change.
as i sit here listening to both "death is the road to awe" and some weird rap played by my roommate, i wonder about that distinction. what causes, i wonder, admiration, reverence, fear?
yesterday we were all awed by the power of death over our peers at virginia tech: one man killed, including himself, 33 people. just one man. we won't forget him. is that awe? was this death really the road to awe for him? as we think on how fearful and upset we are, should we not also think of what sort of society promotes death as a road to awe? should we study and discuss serial killers or is that encouragement for those seeking fame through death? should we allow our news to cover the tragedies that take place all over the world -- war, school shootings, violence in so many forms. where is the morality and should morality even play a role in media? how vital is a moral to a reporter (as a professional, rather than as a person.. let's not pick on the media for doing the job that our culture has assigned them).
tomorrow is something called the day of silence. you can read more about it here, but, basically, it's a day in which (except for a few moments -- like my italian tutor helping me out) i and many others will remain silent to undermine the silence that keeps gays in the closet or allows violence against them to go on. tomorrow, i'll be silent in protest of the violence and in sympathy with the sufferers. maybe tomorrow i'll also be silent for the victims of one gunman and one culture at virginia tech.