When we look around us, we see the human race in a state of constant conflict, struggle, and war. On a collective level, we have believed that violence must be utilized to solve our problems. This group is fighting that group for something they don’t have, whether it is land, resources, pride, or some sense of false righteousness that justifies violence. The desire to act out of violence towards another group to resolve conflicts, the countless millions who have died and continue to die to this day, dying trying to prove their point to the other through the instrument of blunt force, which is accepted, understood and not challenged whatsoever as a way of life, I am here to say, is not the only way. For those who have ears and minds that are open, let them listen and understand.
The only way to eradicate the consciousness of war on this planet is to employ true forgiveness towards your enemies. I use the phrase “true forgiveness” deliberately as there is vast confusion to what forgiveness really is and how it is to be employed. True forgiveness is not born out of blind belief, nor out of social nicety or the desire for refinement, but rather out of a deep understanding of how your enemy came to the point of committing the act of violence to begin with. It requires you to step in their shoes and ask the motivating factor in their decision. And upon truly understanding their reasons, when peeled down to the core, the end result is that we feel compassion for our enemy.
Let us first ask, does the consciousness of violence, employed through blunt force or otherwise, actually serve the human species? Many tribes on this planet have been warring for hundreds and even thousands of years. The Arabs and Jews in the Middle East go way back to the days of Abraham. The Indians and the Pakistanis have been fighting their war over land and religion ever since the time of Gandhi. When one person is able to take his or her revenge, there springs up another person in the affected person’s side who wants to take his or her revenge back. History has borne out the proof. The Arabs and Jews, the Indians and Pakistanis, and many other groups on this planet have been killing each other for so long and yet there is no end to the hatred and violence. So hatred begets more hatred, violence begets more violence. There is no way to solve the problem of war by employing violence. The only way out of this cycle of violence is for us as a species, from the individual to the collective, to come to a place of compassion and true forgiveness towards our attackers, whether they be attacking us emotionally, psychologically, or physically.
I want us to take an example and work through it from start to finish. Many people around the world and their egos feel a tremendous hatred of terrorists and the tremendous damage they are inflicting on the world around them. Their hatred incites the world’s hatred, which then in turn makes the terrorists hate even more. Let’s see if we can look at these terrorists from the perspective of the human ego through the lens of true forgiveness and arrive at compassion for them. As we have utilized throughout this website, we will use the form of an internal dialogue with the human ego.
Ego: I hate those terrorists! They should all die and leave us the fuck alone! What the hell did I ever do to them.
Me: Why do you hate them?
Ego: Because they have no right to kill people just because we don’t believe in their cause.
Me: Why do you think they are doing this?
Ego: Because there are just some evil people in this world. There is no reason.
Me: Well, let’s actually look at this. Why does anyone become violent with someone else and even kill them?
Ego: I don’t know. Maybe they are just killing us because we don’t follow their religion.
Me: Suppose you were born on a desert island. You don’t have a religion, you don’t have a an occupation, or a nationality. You don’t even have a name. Given these circumstances, is it possible for you to commit violence towards someone else.
Ego: Probably not.
Me: Because you need someone else to judge as less worthy or “not good enough” first, correct? Either their nationality is not good enough, or their looks aren’t good enough, or their religion. But in the absence of all these external identities, don’t we need something to go up against in the first place? Only once you have identified with an external identity and judged yourself as better on a scale of some sort, can you then judge something else as worse. Do you follow me so far?
Me: And where do we get these identities from?
Ego: We are born into them.
Me: No, actually we aren’t born into them. Were you an American before you were born? Will you be an American after you die? America wasn’t even here 500 years ago. So what about those who lived in the place you call America 500 years ago? Are they Americans? Do you see what I’m saying. Where do you get the identity that you are an American?
Ego: From society. From when I was born. My passport, etc.
Me: Ok and is there any truth to you being an American? Will you be an American after you die? If you have another lifetime, for argument sake, and you are born in another country, will you still be an American? What happens if there is a civil war in America, and in next 50 years, and the whole country splits up into nation-states. Are you still an American then?
Ego: I see what you’re saying.
Me: Following this line of reasoning then and applying it to the terrorists, are these terrorists Arab? Are these terrorists, inherently as human beings, Muslim?
Ego: Well I suppose they aren’t, but that still doesn’t justify killing others.
Me: If you believed as they believed and were just as blinded by the atmosphere of hatred, is it not possible that you too would do the same thing? If you recall, it is possible for not just a group of terrorists, but entire nations to be blinded by hatred. For proof, look at how 40 million Germans directed their hatred towards the Jewish people during World War II. These Germans were otherwise normal people, but they had become consumed with their identity as Germans and put on a superiority complex towards another race of people. Just as the Germans became confused and unbalanced, is it not possible that you too could become confused and unbalanced as well, were you to live in a similar environment?
Ego: Well it might be possible.
Me: Well if it is possible for you too to have human weaknesses, then why cannot they? I am not condoning the violence that they are committing. But rather I am trying to alter the reaction of hatred towards them, which springs from the judgment that they are scum. They are human beings, first and foremost, even if they have lost sight of that fact at the moment. If you are able to see their humanity, the response can no longer be hatred, but compassion and forgiveness.
The acceptance of the identities that come from outside of us, the ones that are learned, which we call the human ego from a spiritual standpoint, are inherently not real at all. They are essentially just a concept or an idea. This goes for a person’s religion as well. There is, of course, a limit to how far you can take this and it is incredible how far the human ego is willing to go to justify something. Today’s Jesus, was yesterday’s Zeus and Osiris. Tomorrow it will be something else. A person who believes that believing in a certain god is the only way, is being disingenuous at best, in flat out denial at worst.
Take the belief that only those who believe in Jesus Christ will be saved. Or the belief that Earth has been in existence for 6,000 years. Such beliefs can only be maintained by blind faith and total denial, until a brave soul like Copernicus or Galileo proved incontrovertibly that the Earth was round. I don’t want to get into a theological debate here, but the main crux of bringing this up is the following: Did the millions and millions of people who lived before Jesus Christ all go to hell? What if the human race survives for the next hundred thousand years and given the amazing variety of religious faiths on this planet, countless billions live and die in all sorts of different belief systems. Does that mean that all those billions will go to hell as well? The crazy thing is that there are other religions who believe the exact same as the Christians believe about Jesus, except they have a different savior. The terrorists, for instance, want us to believe that if we don’t accept Allah as God and Muhammad as the final messenger, that we will go to hell. This imposed belief includes all the billions of Christians as well.
But, you might say, at least Christians aren’t killing other people and shoving their beliefs down other people’s throats. Well, then you need to read your history. A thousand years ago, the Christians were the modern-day terrorists of the world and the Muslims were the enlightened ones. In the Crusades, the Catholic Church gave its followers complete absolution of all sins if they would go fight to kill Muslims and take over the land in the Middle East. Countless people who called themselves Christians blindly believed this just as vehemently as the Muslim terrorists believe what they believe today. The point is that, it is possible that they are ramming their beliefs down our throats because someone else is trying to ram their beliefs down their throats. This is the basis of the conflict we are living today. One side believes they are right and have judged another side as wrong. The other side feels vice-versa. In this way, there is absolutely no way to eradicate or resolve this conflict until one side stops seeing the other as their enemy and chooses not to judge the other side as inferior or “less worthy”. By doing this, we are simply disengaging completely from the path of violence.
For this to happen, we must see the other side, not through the lens of an identity, their religion or their nationality, etc., but, first and foremost, as a human beings. Perhaps they are confused or emotionally unbalanced, but in that case they are sick, mentally, psychologically, and spiritually and they need help. Seeing a terrorist in this light, if we are really seeing, if we are really trying to understand what is taking place here, we would see that this person has a sickness and that he or she needs help. The terrorist is only inflicting upon others what they perceive as being inflicted upon themselves. They are judged as not good enough or inadequate in some way, and they are acting out of a sense of despondency and depression. They feel inadequate compared, of course, to some standard that society has imposed upon them. In that way, we, as a collective species, from the individual to the collective, are partly responsible for judging and labelling these human beings as terrorists by buying into this standard. And because this same standard is going to judge the would-be terrorist, out of a feeling of worthlessness, that person is going to start blaming everyone else for how it is feeling. Only then can that person resort to violence.
Can you not see that the only way for us to prevent a terrorist from coming up in the first place is to reject the standard imposed upon us by society? Society wants us to punish the terrorist; it wants us to judge and dehumanize the terrorist as an inherently evil individual, which is exactly the same as what the terrorists are doing to us. But the reality is that what we call a terrorist is actually a human being with a battered self-esteem issue that needs help. If anything, it is crying out through its violence, it is crying out from its depths of depression and despair. It has dehumanized itself and is proceeding to dehumanize others. The way out is to humanize the terrorist. To see that through the eyes of true forgiveness and compassion that this person is dealing with a sense of self-hatred and despondency and that they are a sick individual in need of healing. But that person, is and will continue to be, a human being first and we need to see them as such. By supporting the standard, the standard which begs us to avenge a wrong, the standard which dehumanized the terrorist as an inherently evil person, can you not see that we are contributing to the problem as well?
In this very same way, all wars need one side to demonize, to dehumanize the other. If we can identify with our common humanity and see those who are trapped in a fear-based consciousness through the lens of compassion and forgiveness, there is no way we could ever engage in any war as an aggressor again.