View of flooded New Orleans, Louisiana, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 | Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Wherever we turn our attention, the news is full of crises regardless of what part of the world or what day or time. The last three years have been filled with them, from the Covid pandemic, the aftermath of the 2020 U.S. election, the Russian war in Ukraine and the chaos and problems it created, to the economic woes we are facing, and recently, the summer heat emergency and now the hurricane devastations down South. Many of these, if not all, were instigated, facilitated, or caused by humans, including climate change.
The history of the earth and human civilization has been through periods of upheavals that seem to occur in cycles. Some are climactic episodes that ravaged and renewed the earth, others are pestilences that brought hunger and disease, spawning massive human and animal migrations and deaths, and the rest are brought on by human follies and avarice, such as war, racial oppression, ethnic cleansing, and all sorts of crimes against humanity.
Surprisingly, we always emerge from these terrible dark epochs of human history. Our ability to rebound from disasters speaks volumes of human resilience, despite the toll and suffering they inflict. When Joseph Smith, the prophet and founder of the Mormon Church, and his cohorts were unjustly persecuted and imprisoned, accused of trumped-up crimes by people who felt threatened by the new faith he was preaching, he said that the adversities they were facing were a test in faith meant to make them better servants of God and stronger persons. Faith and a sense of purpose led him successfully to establish what is now the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints. The founding of various Faiths is replete with anecdotes similar to Joseph Smith’s. It’s a recurring theme of the triumph of the human spirit over adversities.
But why does humanity have to go through so much suffering? Sometimes over the follies of one man or the conspiracies of a few. To whom do we attribute this cycle of human suffering? God would appear the ultimate sadist should we lay all these on Him. What purpose, grand scheme, or universal law could explain the appalling cruelties that litter the history of human civilization? Must the most significant human virtues be forged in fire, and the pinnacle of human goodness rise from the ashes of untold human suffering?
Alas, we are witnesses to the tragic state of the human condition and the ironic twists of human history that brings some forms of redemption and then repeat the cycle in an endless loop of dying and rising again.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dr. Fernando B. Perfas is an addiction specialist who has written several books and articles on the subject. He currently provides training and consulting services to various government and non-government drug treatment agencies regarding drug treatment and prevention approaches. He can be reached at email@example.com.