War on Violence: Think about It - Fred
Alan Wolf, Ph.D.
Like the "war on drugs," that president Reagan declared two or more
decades ago, our president has declared a "war on violence." Like that
previous war that continues with no end in sight, this war will continue as
well. We canít stop drugs using the warfare vision, can we stop massive acts
of violence in the same vision? Think about it.
I began this essay with the above oxymoronic title to
indicate to ourselves how harrowing and irrational such a journey into the
depths of hell will be. Violence against violence can serve no one in this case.
It wonít stop violence any more than Reaganís "war on drugs"
stopped drug use. Why not? Because the enemy is not just someone "out
there" on the other side of the world as we presently believe. The enemy
can be found in our own thoughts and fears.
It just may be that bin Laden really did not orchestrate the
devastation against our life, liberty, and pursuit of material gains that we
believe bring happiness. Donít get me wrong here, and donít misunderstand
me. Whether bin Laden is a "war criminal" or not I leave in the hands
of world jurisprudence. He may be as bad as we think him to be. But there is a
deeper issue here.
Think about it before you begin to lash out against any who
ask you to pause and think, and then think the "unthinkable" that even
now peace is the answer and action based on bringing peace and well-being to all
of our neighbors, even if they harbor hatred against us, may be the only weapon
we really have.
Many of you have not seen how the other and greater half of
us really live in this world. I have seen much of it and I can tell you that we
in the "Western" part of the world are living our lives out of
balance with the rest of the world. That imbalance of material wealth, that few
of us worldwide enjoy, causes more than misery to others; it takes away their
will to live and makes them subject to a vision that life in heaven at the side
of some god of their fantasy will be much better than this life. And they are
most likely correct, no matter what comes to them in the afterlife.
Think about it. Think about how desperate your life would
need to become before you would consider such an action as taking your own life
and in that action punishing as many people as you can by taking their lives
with you. Now imagine that while this thought of suicide is unthinkable to you,
that there are, perhaps numbering in the thousands and maybe even higher, people
who think this every day of their lives, as their waking day begins and as it
ends at night falling to sleep.
These people live everywhere there is a deep poverty of
spirit. They live in America, England, France, Israel, Afghanistan, India,
Pakistan, Africa, China, Tibet, and many more countries. So what can we do
about it? Can we "route them out" meanwhile leave the environments
that bred them intact? How can we help?
I admit I have no quick answer; I feel as helpless as many of
you do. Yet, I feel in my heart that we need to change the way we think and feel
about what life is really about, I mean your life, and that perhaps this
nightmare of disaster has been provided for us to wake us up to a new vision of
ourselves and of our neighbors.
Think about this. There is one soul here living through each
one of us and what happens to any of us affects all of us. Think about it, those
others out there are all you. They are not just your brothers and sisters,
mothers and fathers, cousins and strangers, but you. Think with compassion.
Donít make the mistake of believing that those who commit suicidal acts
of violence are crazy, mad, or insane. Do not think of them as
"terrorists." Think of them as people. Think of them as you in the
lowest despair you can imagine.
Ask those who we have entrusted to govern us to also engage
in extending the hand of help to others right now, even in Afghanistan and in
Pakistan. We are prepared to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to go to war.
Can we find some way to spend half of that, to begin with, to "go to
peace." Please think about itówith your hearts and minds not with
your guts and muscle.