Spiritually bereft

The murderous rampage by a 19-year-old man and his subsequent suicide yesterday has brought pain and shock – pain to the families of the victims and shock to society as a whole. Where did such rage, such anger come from? What feelings of desperation armed the hand of this boy on the threshold of adulthood and turned him against life, both his own and that of others? There really is no way of knowing and even a psychiatric explanation cannot ease the pain or blunt the shock. The shock is felt by everyone but especially by those of us who have children, who raise them, watch them grow, see them growing taller, becoming adults and spreading their wings. The violent death of a child leaves us feeling shattered. Every parent steps into the skin of the other unfortunate parents; every youngster imagines him/herself in the shoes of the victim/perpetrator. It was like this for the country’s youth when 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos was shot dead by a policeman last December. The victim came to symbolize the fate of an entire generation and evoked their fear of and anger at a world without meaning, a life of fear, an empty life. This scary, meaningless world, devoid of principles and values, faith and joy, this world that eats up lost generations consumed by anger, violence and nihilism, this world was built by us, the parents, our generation and the ones before us. Psychoanalysts, psychologists and educators describe this condition of being spiritually bereft by speaking of lost souls in a spiritual desert. Kathimerini said it on December 8, when we wrote: «We give them schools, tutors, cell phones, laptops, holidays, gadgets, presents, pocket money, full refrigerators; we give them no moral context, we have none to give; we give them no hope or faith, because we have lost both. We give them things, as many as we can, as much effort as it takes, because that is all we have to give.» And here we are today, frozen and enraged.

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