"Nothing Human Is Alien To Me" -- Terrence
"People don’t know who Michael Jackson is,” said defense attorney Susan Yu. “I spent a lot of time with him. I’ve never seen anybody so vulnerable. This person is totally incapable of doing any of the things they said he did.”
Let's get this straight right now. There is no human being who is "totally incapable" of any heinous crime that might be beyond the pale of your personal imagination, Susan Yu or any of you other Up With People types out there.
The sooner we all embrace the philosopher's dictum that "Nothing human is alien to me," the better.
Therefore, a Jeffrey Dahmer's human snacking will no longer truly shock us. Our jaws will not drop when we finally learn what happened to that Alabama high school senior in Aruba. It will not cause us to shut down in denial to learn that our government has tortured thousands of completely innocent men at Guantanamo, detaining and tormenting them long after they knew they were totally unconnected to any terrorists. A bug-eyed Georgia bride's "lies and mendacity" will not inspire us to buy the newspaper and "read all about it!", and Tom Cruise's bizarre, simian shenanigans will not make the front page of any so-called "news" publication.
When we get over, give up and move on from our eternal willingness to be shocked! appalled! ohmahgodded! and made incredulous that anyone could do such a thing, we'll move that much closer to maturity as a species, and can stop rubbernecking the multiple horrors of the world and actually do something about them.
Repeat after me: "Nobody is totally incapable of doing anything. Nobody is totally incapable of doing anything."
You may want to acquaint yourselves with the works of the Marquis de Sade, who so well understood human depravity and sadism and who remains for me the unparalleled Dark Angel of Western philosophy.
I recommend the definitive Grove Weidenfeld edition of Justine, Philosophy in the Bedroom and Other Writings, compiled and translated by Richard Seaver and Austryn Wainhouse.