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One of the enduring myths of contemporary Western society is that we are a culture desperate to be tested. We are a fatted, decadent, overly complacent bunch (the myth goes), which makes us yearn to be stripped of our comforts (at least for a little while) to see how we hold up under pressure.
Comfort is inauthentic; stress and fear and adrenaline are “reality.” How would you act in an extreme situation? How strongly held are your ideals, and how quickly would you abandon them in order to survive?
The problem is that in reality, a true testing of one’s ideals never yields a clean result. When push becomes shove, and shove becomes kick, ideals splinter and multiply. Every breath becomes a test, and we often only survive to be tested again.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Captivity: 118 Days in Iraq and the Struggle for a World Without War by James Loney
My review of James Loney's Captivity appeared in the Toronto Star yesterday.