Monday, May 19, 2008

Cruelty

Having lived in the times of the Holocaust, the culture of torture in French Algeria, and the ethnic cleansings in Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur, etc., it is perhaps naive for us to regard the Middle Ages as a time of unusual cruelty of man to man (homo homini lupus) -- see King John's Karma, above. Nevertheless, I have the perhaps unsubstantiated impression that peoople in those times were more casually cruel to each other -- and that suffering at the hands of others was accepted with a greater sense of fatalism. At least I chose, in my novel "Dark Princess"(as yet not published), I was inspired to have my kind of Dudley Do-right hero kill women and children without thinking much about it. But maybe I was wrong, I don't know. The dark side of human nature doesn't change, I would suppose -- but maybe the extent to which we tend to express it does.

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