A Balanced Perspective


The Loving Curse of History

Bless the bright Cromagnon for inventing the bow

      and damn him for inventing missile warfare.

Bless the stubby little Sumerians for miracles in gold and lapis lazuli

      and damn them for burying a dead queen’s hand-maidens living in her tomb.

Bless Shih Hwang-Ti for building the Great Wall between northern barbarism and southern culture,

      and damn him for burning every book in China.

Bless King Minos for the ease of Cnossian flush toilets

      and damn him for his yearly tribute of Greek sacrificial victims.

Bless Pharaoh for peace

      and damn him for slavery.

Bless the Greeks for restricting population so the well-fed few could kindle a watch-tower in the west,

      and damn the prostitution and sodomy and wars of colonization by which they did it.

Bless the Romans for their strength to smash down every wall that hemmed their building genius,

      and damn them for their weakness that never broke the bloody grip of Etruscan savagery on their minds.

Bless the Jews who discovered the fatherhood of God

      and damn them who limited it to the survivors of a surgical operation.

Bless the Christians who abolished the surgical preliminaries

      and damn them who substituted a thousand cerebral quibbles.

Bless Justinian for the Code of Law

      and damn him for his countless treacheries that were the prototype of the wretched Byzantine millenium.

Bless the churchmen for teaching and preaching,

      and damn, them for drawing a line beyond which they could only teach and preach in peril of the stake.

“Bless the navigators who, opened the new world to famine-ridden Europe,

      and damn them for syphillis.

Bless the red-skins who bred maize, the great preserver of life

      and damn them for breeding maize the great destroyer of topsoil.

Bless the Virginia planters for the solace of tobacco

      and damn them for the red gullies they left where forests had stood.

Bless the obstetricians with forceps who eased the agony of labor

      and damn them for bringing countless monsters into the world to reproduce their kind.

Bless the Point Four boys who slew the malaria mosquitoes of Ceylon

      and damn them for letting more Sinhalese be born then five Ceylons could feed.

“Who knows what he is doing,

      why he does it or what the consequences will be?

                                                                                       – Cyril M. Kornbluth


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