Like 9/11, confronting the horror of the 11/13 Paris attacks requires us to recognize the inherent fragility of our lives. We live in an ordered society. We’re lucky like that in the West. Sometimes terror shatters that order. We can confront this evil in a number of ways. We can employ whatever philosophy or belief system we use to give us comfort. We can get angry. We can despair. Or we can ignore it. Some combination of these aforementioned coping mechanisms can work too.
This is not an easy topic to build a book list about, but I am including titles that ponder the nature of evil and violence. I hope that at least one of them might supply some succor.
The Challenge Of Things: Thinking Through Troubled Times / A.C. Grayling
Freedom: Stories Celebrating The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights / anthology
Non-Violence: Challenges And Prospects / Bidyut Chakrabarty
Regarding The Pain Of Others / Susan Sontag
Violence: Six Sideways Reflections / Slavoj Žižek
How we react as individuals and as a nation to senseless acts of violence defines us. I suspect that striking a balance between the closed fist of vengeance and the open hand of peace will go a long way toward deciding how we write the next chapter.