Wed 7 Jan 2015
if you haven’t heard of the attacks this morning at the paris office of _charlie hebdomaire_, in which 12 humans were killed by 3 well-trained gunmen with large weapons, well, you have now.
the question, as you sip your cocktail or edit your spreadsheet or prune your apples trees or mortar your bricks if, of course, ‘what the hell can i do?’.
i have at least two immediate practical responses to share — in addition to immediate empathy for the victims and solidarity with the satire community — that we can all do, right now.
1) dear brothers, we love you.
violence cannot survive without separation. the well-trained gunmen who murdered 12 humans think they are, somehow, _not the same_ as those 12 humans. they consider themselves separate from their victims.
as long we agree with them (regardless of whether we’re shocked or elated by their actions), and push them out of our notion of the “we”, we only contribute to more potential violence.
i’m not saying we shouldn’t hate them. obviously we shouldn’t hate them. it’s unhelpful for everyone involved, especially he/she who carries that toxic emotion.
i’m saying we should go further:
we should actively, daily, diligently, love these people.
we should actively, daily, diligently, remember them and refer to them as our brothers.
we can respond to this tragedy by increasing the gulf of separation or reducing it. every day. in our meditations, our metta, our prayers, our thoughts, our moments of openness and plenitude, we can remember that these men who so quickly murdered 12 of their brothers and sisters are still our brothers. after all, who needs love more than these humans? **
whether you’re with us, or against us: you are us.
2) ima punch you in the face
the fundamental reaction here, beneath the violence and brainwashing and machine guns and all the rest, is a personal aversion to having your most sacred symbol made into a crude joke. the only serious and practical way to avoid violence that is based on a reaction, is for us to evaluate our own reaction in the same situation.
a picture of gandhi getting run over by a tank
jesus in a jar of piss
naked buddha playing roulette.
probably not the best examples, but i think the idea is clear. somebody makes fun of what i hold dearest. do i subtlety, unconsciously, clench my fist? somebody slanders my parents or my partner. do i curse them and wish harm upon them the way i did in middle school? have i grown at all?
is the difference between my reaction and those who commit ideological acts of violence different in kind or degree? is my violence limited by something greater than my impotence? manifest or not, will my violence help anyone involved or will it lead to greater violence and suffering?
been a long time since i’ve written. please excuse the sudden presence in your inbox. know that i love you. and that i’m doing my best, every time, to spend some time on the practices i just mentioned. i welcome your suggestions and support.
** well, yes, dick cheney might need it more. perhaps.