Action is transitory - a step, a blow,
The motion of a muscle - this way or that -
'Tis done; and in the after-vacancy
We wonder at ourselves like men betrayed:
Suffering is permanent, obscure and dark,
And has the nature of infinity.
-- William Wordsworth, The Borderers
(also online here and here)
I saw this in Chris Hedges's remembrance of 9/11 (via) which -- like this essay which I linked to yesterday -- notes the disappearance of the jumpers from the media narrative, speculating that
The "jumpers" did not fit into the myth the nation demanded. The fate of the "jumpers" said something so profound, so disturbing, about our own fate, smallness in the universe and fragility that it had to be banned. The "jumpers" illustrated that there are thresholds of suffering that elicit a willing embrace of death. The "jumpers" reminded us that there will come, to all of us, final moments when the only choice will be, at best, how we will choose to die, not how we are going to live. And we can die before we physically expire. The shock of 9/11, however, demanded images and stories of resilience, redemption, heroism, courage, self-sacrifice and generosity, not collective suicide in the face of overwhelming hopelessness and despair.