Tuesday, June 14, 2016

God, Guns, Gays and the Need for Compassion

The Eiffel Tower glowing in solidarity with the murdered victims of Orlando

This new century puts us all in touch with global reality as never before. Today, it is impossible to develop a sense of self, a sense of morality, a sense of reality, without taking into account the world around us. We are, so to speak, trapped in a web of mindsets, attitudes, points of view, catastrophic happenings, and world philosophies. 

A Muslim man enters a gay bar in Florida and mercilessly murders fifty people, wounding fifty-three more. Around the world within hours come reactions of every sort from horror to empathy, to sorrow, to celebration and approval. All of us who take in this act are confronted with thoughts about God, thoughts about guns, thoughts about being gay. There is a more powerful mindfulness engulfing us than there has ever been. We are unable to retreat into our own private spaces any longer. With mass killing machine-guns virtually handed out to every moron and maniac, encouraging violence and hatred, it is no wonder that terrorists of all kinds are filling us with fear. Evil has invaded the Garden of the Finzi-Continis.  Much as I wish it were otherwise, my own dream of a Garden of Epicurus is shattered. 

Is it possible that so many different cultures are able to live in peace with one another? Is it possible when religions clash with individual values to reconcile them? For thousands of years the answer has been a resounding NO. Religious fanaticism and dogma have been mixed with greed and power to oppose, to bend, to insist on conformity of minorities and groups of people who live outside the established norms and rules. "Love conquers Hate," is the motto of so many hopeful, kind, tolerant people. So far, there is insufficient evidence of this essential truth.

Nelson Mandela said: 
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."

Therein lies the need to foster compassion. Bring forth, nurture, instill, cultivate Compassion for others in children. Oppose greed, selfishness, and dogma which belittle any group or minority. Do away with religious laws that call acts of love, or actions that hurt no one else, abominations. Cease promoting guns that are weapons of mass destruction. Peace, kindness, equality, and diversity are virtues we need to praise early and often. 

This is what I want to believe, that compassion is more fundamental to our nature than selfishness, greed, and hatred. What a mountain we must climb to prove it.

Gay Pride Month

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