(Substainable Human | Chris Agnos) What is it like to be you? Could this simple question lead us towards a path of peace?
What is it like to be you? What is it like to be Donald Trump? What is it like to be an oil executive? What is it like to be a racist? What is it like to be the person that you vilify and demonize and dehumanize? Because that is the common denominator.
When I read right wing websites and left wing websites, the comments sections, they disagree about issues, but they agree on one thing, which is that the people on the other side, there is something wrong with them. They are not as intelligent as we are. They are not as open-minded as we are. They don’t pay attention to facts. They have some moral or intellectual deficiency that explains why they disagree with us, the good people, the smart people, the moral people.
Both sides agree on that.
Therefore both sides also agree on certain tactics that come from that. These are the tactics of domination, the tactics of war. The general formula being “Find an enemy and defeat that enemy.”
For example, we don’t know how to solve the problem of crime, which is an outgrowth of deep social conditions that go all the way down to our basic financial system, the way money is created in our society. That’s not something we know how to solve. But if your blame [crime] on criminals, then you know how to solve it. It’s easy. You use the tactics of force, of domination. You lock them up.
If the problem is terrorism, we don’t know how to solve the deep conditions that give birth to terrorism, which implicates our entire world economy and political system so let’s instead blame [terrorism] on these scary, horrible terrorists who are just bad. That’s why they do it. They are bad. The solution then is easy. Kill the terrorists. Bombing the terrorists does not solve the problem. It worsens the problem. It adds to the conditions that are part of the problem.
It is almost as if we don’t know how to be in the absence of an enemy, in the absence of something to blame. So we take every problem and turn it into a war by trying to find an enemy.
When we stop blaming the most proximate culprit, we enter into a deeper radicalism that says “I don’t know what the real answer is but I am going to look” and we become open to understanding the deep conditions that are manifesting as the symptoms that we call terrorism, crime, racism, misogyny, ignorance, greed.
When we become aware of the complexity and the depth of the true causes of the symptoms, we realize that our normal war making habits do not work. When I understand that you are acting in a racist way not because you are just some bad person. But maybe it is because you feel betrayed by the system and you want to blame somebody and you are being offered the person to blame or this group of people to blame and I understand now where it is coming from and I understand the culture you grew up in and what hurts in you so maybe I can meet these conditions somehow.
That’s the alternative to a world with endless war. We’ve been fighting an endless war for thousands of years and evil has not yet been defeated. Does that mean we have to fight harder?
Or could it be that the mentality of war making creates endless enemies and perpetuates itself? Not that there is never a time to fight but we are trapped in a habit of fighting. The question “What is it like to be you?” is a way to heal the separation. It is not something you do to be a good person. It is something you do because it brings you to the truth and it brings you to your creative power as an agent of change in this world.
Source: Substainable Human
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