So if we try to feel our way towards a general sense of what the contemporary fantasy world is telling us about violence and destruction, the result seems to be this: pain and injury and sudden death are unpredictable, not planned or chosen by anyone like ourselves, yet always threatening, always around the corner. Against this threat, we defend ourselves as the situation dictates — without many qualms about how we do so, because we are not dealing with agents like ourselves, whose motives and methods would need scrutiny, about whom we might be able to make considered predictions. Violence does not belong in the moral world; it has nothing to do with human responsibility, with the kinds of choices by which we make up our lives from day to day. You could almost say that it is a non-human phenomenon, in the sense that it is so strange and specialized a happening. And it always begins ‘somewhere else’- in the mysterious and uncontrollable world Out There….

On the basis of what we have looked at so far, it certainly seems as though our society is aware of enormous but badly-defined threats — some internal (arising from the complications of technology), but most external. It is, as a result, tense and afraid, and alarmingly confused because it cannot locate the real sources of danger. More disturbingly, though, it is incapable of seeing this as a moral problem — as something to do with power, vision, understanding and choice, with the ways in which we decide to make sense of our lives.

Rowan Williams, The Truce of God