Heinrich Heine wrote that, but I don't actually know why. I had never read his work, let alone heard of the man; I found him by tracking down a quote from the Imperial War Museum that resonated with me. Heine wrote (in German): "Where they have burned books, they will end in burning people." He succinctly and vividly summarizes what John Stuart Mill took an essay (On Liberty) to argue. Not that Mill's work was by any means overlong; it's certainly worth reading too.
How on earth do you reconcile horror and hope? It's a question. No answer, except perhaps to keep on breathing. I found a relevant thought in an article this weekend, though: “'I think if people are presented with a picture of only darkness they revolt against it because they know, fundamentally, that it’s untrue to their experience of life, which is to hope,' [Richard Flanagan] says." Or at least we want desperately to reach for (or create) the contrast to such pain. "'If war illuminates love, love offers the possibility of allowing some light to be brought back out of the shadows. It’s almost as if they buttress and make possible an understanding of each other.'” I instinctively appreciate Flanagan's view because it's attempting to grasp the wholeness of human life, which includes love and violence. It's not possible for one to exist without the other.
Anyway...blunt emotional force of that exhibit aside, it was great fun to experience the IWM with people who were similarly museum-critical. We chatted about how things were displayed and what perspectives were on offer, though I honestly didn't go into it thinking I would be as engrossed as I was. We ended up spending far more time than planned, and still didn't get to everything.
The respite in the park was also the first experience I've had here that has felt like fall. Breeze, green space - it was a delight. I ran through the leaves for a quick frolic, and then we turned back inside to stare some more at the remnants of war.