In cities across America, under cover of darkness, often wearing masks, looters are smashing windows and stealing merchandise from shops. Our cities teem with those whose rage and lack of regard for the underpinnings of our society are manifest. As I saw the throngs carry off clothing and watches and electronic equipment, I found mySELF thinking about what cannot be stolen from a shopkeeper, or the team that runs a company with many stores or from the good and decent residents of cities and states who must now watch funds diverted from other needed projects, in order to clean up their streets and attempt to keep their residents safe. And these words came to mind:
Courage, Faith and Truth Cannot Be Looted
Courage, faith and truth cannot be stolen because they reside in the sacred, core domain of the individual. These qualities are eternal and are also the antidote to our nation being dismantled and not resurrected. Because our country was built upon these qualities. They are inextricably woven into the narrative of our nation, and they are indominable.
Ultimately, what constitutes being an individual versus being part of a mob is the story of these riots. Individuals hoping to change the hearts and minds of other individuals engage in discourse, use powerful symbols and work for change in methodical, productive ways. There are no true individuals who respond to the tragic murder of a man of color by smashing windows and stealing expensive clothes and watches. Those are lost souls who have no confidence in themSELVES, who have been emptied of their authenticity and who think that there is no difference between wearing a stolen sweatshirt and one you worked hard to buy. But there is a world of difference, and there always will be, which is why looters can never get anything from a store that they truly need.
Take it from the legendary psychoanalyst Carl Jung:
Ultimately, everything depends on the quality of the individual, but the fatally shortsighted habit of our age is to think only in terms of large numbers and mass organizations, though one would think that the world has seen more than enough of what a . . . mob can do . . . A million zeros joined together do not, unfortunately, add up to one.
Dr. Keith Ablow