Thursday, 20 March 2008

Easter thoughts

I shall be taking a break from blogging, or at any rate I shall cut down the time I devote to it, for the next few weeks at least.

Easter is a good time for personal and social stocktaking. Regardless of any specifically religious message, it is the yearly harbinger of new birth, new life, and new growth.

Such renewal was never more sorely needed than in this diabolical first decade of the 21st century. With a memory stretching back to the 1930s, I cannot remember any other decade which has so filled me with fury, loathing, and dread of the purblind pigmies who are leading the world recklessly to political, economic, and ecological destruction in the name of their false creeds and dogmas. Of necessity, politics is always a matter of small, loud-mouthed tails wagging large, too-quiescent dogs. This has never been more the case since the millennium.

We were told that the Twin Towers atrocity of 11th September 2001 was a ‘wake-up call’. On the contrary, it proved to be the prelude to a catastrophic sleepwalk towards the abyss. Instead of the more profound inner reflection required to throw much-needed light on the causes of the insensate hatred which motivated the perpetrators – whoever they were - the West embarked upon a stridently self-righteous crusade; a spurious ‘war on terror’ which has in the event spread even greater terror, destruction and apprehensive fear around the world.

So far, the 21st century has resounded to the empty lies, braggings and boastings of Western politicians who purport to champion ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ while trampling on both, not only overseas but in their own home countries where traditional civil liberties have been blithely swept aside in the name of ‘security’. Can we really be surprised at the bitterly anti-Western tirades of Middle Eastern and Asian peoples who feel themselves the victims of double standards, or at the criticisms of our hypocrisy emanating from the Russians and the Chinese, whom we so love to lecture loftily about their disregard of human rights?

We are living through times dominated by what Jung called the ‘dark shadow’ – the collective negativity bred by anger and hatred of real or fancied injustice. The only really important – indeed, urgent – question is: how to reverse this trend? Genuine peace will only come about when all parties desire it, and stop striving for dominance. There is no lack of conflict resolution know-how, but these skills can only be applied when circumstances are favourable because increasing numbers of people realise the futility – and unwinnability – of fighting.

We – everyone in the world – need to make a sincere effort of heart-searching if things are to improve. We must all abandon the stale old “We are right and you are wrong” attitudes which falsely teach us that our ‘truth’ is the only correct one, and seek, through the exercise of empathy, to understand better how our opponents and critics feel about us – and about themselves. This calls for a daunting amount of candid self-criticism but it can – it must - be done.

Almost half a century ago, the convener of a pioneering conference on the still ongoing topic of religion and sexuality opened the proceedings with these words: "Forget who you represent. We represent the human race. Let's start there." The urgent search for world peace must proceed in that spirit.

The Easter message is that God is Love. Whether or not we believe there is a God, and regardless of which God we believe in, It is only Love, and not Hate, that is going to heal humanity’s self-inflicted wounds. We must love one another or die.


Richard W. Symonds said...

"We must love one another..." - even Michael, AC ;)

Have a wonderful rest, and look forward to your return - refreshed to "rage"...

zola a social thing said...

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. ( Franklin)

trousers said...

Great, thoughtful words. Thank you.

anticant said...

In his 1955 Pelican Special "Sex and Society" [written with Peter Fletcher] Kenneth Walker - another memorable person I am privileged to have known - wrote:

"Sooner of later then, willingly or perforce, we must meet life face to face and take the inescapable risk of being what we are, doing what we do in our own freedom and on our own responsibility. Sooner of later we must make the discovery that the only security is the acceptance of insecurity, the only strength the acknowledgement of weakness. What must be done had netter be done now. Until it is done we shall not enter into possession of ourselves and the social drift towards totalitarianism is not likely to be arrested."

When I copied this passage into my Commonplace Book, many years ago, I omitted the final phrase about the drift towards totalitarianism. Now, it strikes me as very prescient.

zola a social thing said...

Hegel wrote that over 300 years ago !!!!
Marx agreed.
Capitalism is totalitarian in ideological form ( it has no substance).
May the bubble be with you.
God bless.

bwook said...

The only objective questions of the day continues, alas, unanswered yet once again:

/ARE/ messrs Robt Mugabe & D Cheney a load of -s?