The Post 9/11 Monster

Justin Marinelli, Staff Writer

The annual passing date of Sept. 11  has a way of stirring up feelings and thoughts alien to us most of the year. I am skeptical of giving too much weight to the capricious pull of sentiment, but it does seem a good opportunity to pause and reflect.

I was eight when the towers fell. It will only be a couple of years before the first-years at this University are too young to remember that day. It will not be long after that until we will have students on this campus who were not yet born when it happened.

This is one of the last opportunities for a student who remembers the event to speak of it. But what to say? How is one to respond to this? I suppose I could say a few words about America in commemoration, but I believe they would be misplaced. The thing our elders referred to as “America” is dead. We just passed the 13th anniversary of the deathblow. What we have been dealing with since then is a very different beast. How can I accurately discuss something that I do not know?

The beast that raised us is a far cry from the creature our parents and grandparents came to love and cherish. I understand the desire by many to bring things back to the way they once were. The history books make the past sound so nice at times. It really is a pity we can never go back.

We live in a world in which the economies of the entire Western world are choking and sputtering. We live in a world in which our communications and personal information are ripe for manipulation by corporations and our own government. We live in a world in which even the mightiest military machine on the planet cannot stop a small group of determined men.

We live in a messed-up, cyberpunk world, and we need to figure out a whole new set of rules to navigate an environment and context far more complex and multifaceted than the ones our predecessors grappled with.

Previous generations got to play in the sun and enjoy the optimism and bright outlook of a very different world. I feel as if I ought to envy them, but I don’t even have the capacity to understand that world. It appears to me as nothing but a mirage. All I know is a childhood in the shadow of burning towers.

Friedrich Nietzsche warned us not to battle with monsters, lest we become monstrous ourselves. In a world replete with monsters, what choice do we have? The monsters staring in the face of this generation will only be slain by those willing to transcend their humanity in order to save it for the rest of us. We are a generation whose greatest heroes will be our greatest monsters.


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