Innocence in apocalyptic times?

Divide Then Conquer cover art PT 5 (2)

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware. -Martin Buber

By J.L. Koszarek
Words and Ideas
January 3, 2015

Martin Buber was born in Austria in 1878, he was over 60 years old when the German crack down on the Jews was at its worst. I often think of people like Martin Buber and his younger contemporaries like Viktor Frankl while writing Divide Then Conquer. Both men were Jewish and experienced a real apocalypse, the holocaust that shaped their thinking and life’s philosophies in very different extraordinary ways, which in turn, helped shape contemporary thought about the human condition in general.

Divide Then Conquer, is apocalyptic fiction, but I never lose sight of those who suffered real ones, and so I guess my point is that I strive to respect them, and everyone else who has experienced a real form of apocalypse and there are so many kinds of apocalypses, aren’t there? Viktor Frankl in his book Man’s Search for Meaning said of his time in a Nazi concentration camp, “When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer, he will have to accept his suffering as his task; his single unique task.” Such a noble statement!

I am a character driven author, so once my character is introduced to his or her set of circumstances, they write their own story; their “single unique task”. I’m only the medium by which they tell it, so don’t hate me when one of my characters upsets you! Their behavior is their choice driven by their circumstances, not mine! And as humans, we are destined to upset one another. These days it seems like it truly is our “single unique task” to be angry, fearful and choose blame and denial instead of the hard work of acceptance and overcoming obstacles together. After many hours of working together, I have come to believe this may have been a central driving force behind Thad David’s inspiration for this story. This is where I draw on the works of Buber and especially Frankl. Their words, ideas, and actions help me create realistic characters.

There is very little, if any, innocence in the apocalyptic land of basic survival.

Wrapping Divide Then Conquer Part 5 got me to thinking about Albert Camus and his vast work surrounding the human conscience and moral philosophical issues to guide my thinking in understanding why my characters do the things they do. I want my characters to appear real to you, my reader. I want them to be people of conscience, awareness, selflessness, and selfishness. I want them to love, hate, create, and destroy, but most of all, I want them to live.

If each of us creates our own meaning, as Frankl proposes, then the characters in Divide strive to do the same. They must find meaning to survive and as Martin Buber says, the secret destination is yet unknown to them. It is unknown to this writer as well.

J.L. Koszarek
Pass Christian, MS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.