Saturday, July 15, 2006

Peggy Noonan's curious thoughts on Ken Lay and Broken Hearts

I've been thinking about posting the link and excerpts of Peggy Noonan's July 6th column for the past four days.

All deaths are sad, and some are shocking and sad. Ken Lay's this week was both, though I don't suppose it should have been a shock.

Putting aside all judgments and conclusions, all umbrage, outrage and indignation, and all debates on who was most responsible for the Enron scandal--putting all those weighty and legitimate concerns aside--isn't it obvious that Ken Lay died of a broken heart? We forget that people do, or at least I forget, but they do....

...Is this Shakespearian in the sense of being towering and tragic? I don't know. I think it's primal and human. And I think if we were more regularly conscious of the fact that death through sadness happens we'd be better to each other. I'm thinking here of a friend who reflected one day years ago, I cannot recall why, on how hard people are on each other, how we're all complicated little pirates and more sensitive, more breakable, than we know.

He said--I paraphrase--"It's a dangerous thing to deliberately try to hurt someone because it's not possible to calibrate exactly how much hurt you're doing. You can't know in advance the extent of the damage. A snub can leave a wound that lasts a lifetime, a bop on the head with a two-by-four will be laughed off. One must be careful. We'll always hurt others by accident or in a passion but we mustn't do it with deliberation."

We are human beings, and to each other we are not fully knowable. There's a lot of mystery in life. The life force can leave before we even know it's withdrawing.

I suppose we all want life to be kinder and gentler than it seems.


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