Tuesday, October 06, 2009
POL POT, STALIN, HITLER, OSAMA BIN LADEN and many others are on our 'evil' list.
Yet these people did not do what they did on their own. In fact it would seem they didn't do it at all. Others did it for them.
People like you and me. People like our neighbours. People like out parents, grandparents, children, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, friends, teachers, doctors.
None of the crimes these men are known for could have happened without the compliance of ordinary people.
The millions of disabled, homosexual and Jewish people killed during the Holocaust were killed by ordinary people. People like you and like me.
We find that idea far too scary to face so we pour all our fear and hatred onto one person and thereby excuse the rest of us.
It also enables us to carry on hating. To carry on discriminating. It enables us to be racist and homophobic. We tell ourselves we are not evil like Hitler, we wouldn't send people to death camps so it is okay for us to hate those who are different.
It was people, ordinary people, who decided that homosexual survivors of the Holocaust were not entitled to any form of help or compensation because they 'deserved' it. It seems the killing of six million people didn't teach anyone anything.
Look at the world today. You'd think the Holocaust never happened for all that was learned from it. The hatred still abounds on all sides, both victim and oppressor giving out hatred, in fact it has become difficult to tell them apart. We expect peace but not at the cost of giving up our hatred.
We discriminate against our our kind. Some of us are not black enough, gay enough, Jewish enough, man enough, woman enough.
We think in terms of separation and we call it good. We label each other in order to be separate. We cordon off bits of the planet and call it ours and prevent others from entering. We call them different. We even say they are not human like us.
We hold religious ideas that separate us. We say those who don't believe as we do are wicked and destined for hell or non existence. We think it our right to force our ways on to others.
All that separates all of us is our beliefs. Our beliefs are only ideas that we have. They are not TRUTH. No one knows what that is. Objective Truth is not attainable and no one, but no one, knows what that is, no matter how vociferous they may be. All we have is ideas. Those ideas may approximate Truth but that is all they can do. How do we know if they do? I'd have thought that the first rule would be 'how much harm' does this idea cause? Most of our ideas would have to be ditched if we thought about that seriously.
No matter how strongly you believe something, it is still just an idea, not TRUTH.
Yes, we can know some mathematical and scientific truths but we don't know them all.
No one knows the whys and wherefores of our existence. Instead we have stories about how we got here and why we are here and where we are going. Whether our idea is science based or spiritually based, it is still just an idea because none of us knows.
We mostly, not completely, believe what we believe because of how we FEEL. Fear is usually at the root of what we decide to believe or not to believe. Certainly most religious teaching is based upon fear no matter what anyone says to the contrary. They will argue that their God is a God of Love but the He will destroy disbelievers! They don't see the inconsistency in that. Nor the wickedness. Nor the sheer and utter pain of and sadness of it.
We too often believe what others believe because we want to belong. We don't want to be ostracised, left out, or rejected. Thinking like this ultimately leads to self destruction and misery. Misery for others too who suffer the results of your fear.
WE CANNOT LIVE AND NOT AFFECT OTHERS.
I have no trust for anyone whose God would destroy them if they did not believe because I cannot trust their motives. Are they acting from true compassion and love or from fear? It must be from fear, it cannot be from anything else. If they believe their God will smite them for not believing, then their actions are fear based. Look at the world. This was well illustrated to me when a missionary was asked why she worked in such dire conditions, for people is such great need. Her reply was that she did for 'her god'. In other words she was was acting purely out of fear for her own safety and not for the love of those she was supposed to be helping. I think, that even if not obvious, this counterfeit 'love' will show itself in the results of her 'help'.
I was truly shocked to hear her words. I really, naively, expected her to say she did it because she couldn't bear to see these people suffering and she felt compelled to relieve where she could. I was stunned by her selfish, rather than selfless, response.
In the end we all experience the consequences of our beliefs and the actions they engender. We cannot escape these consequences. The good ones nor the bad ones.
To suggest that someone else already 'paid' for our mistakes is a source of much wickedness and pain. It clearly isn't true for one thing. If it were then the believers would all be happy and well and never ever suffer anything negative. The fact they do shows this to be a lie. It also enables people to act in harmful ways towards others in the belief that they are right and if they are not, well they won't suffer the consequences because they have been 'saved'.
Our beliefs can destroy people. even if we did not pick up the knife, the gun, the rope, by believing that others were 'less than us' we were a part of their destruction as surely as if we did it ourselves.
The widespread belief that human beings are bad at core results in the world we live in. Nothing has been learned from history. Nothing. We still, on the whole, try to force out ideas upon others.
We live with the consequences.