Monday, September 5, 2011

Terrorism, Violence, Compassion and A Peaceable Economy


In the past several days I have reviewed many popular magazines highlighting in some way, the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2011 destruction that took place in New York City, NY, USA.

One magazine highlighted the lives of 10 persons who have grown up without a parent as a result of the death and destruction that took place on that day.

As I read, I reflected on three separate issues -

(1)  I wonder how many thousands of persons have lost a parent worldwide as a result of the violence that has emerged in response to the violence enacted on September 11th, 2011?  If we took a toll of all the persons whose lives have been fractured by the reciprocating and repeating cycles of violence that have extended themselves to thousands of persons as retaliatory violence has been extended  - I wonder how persons would we have to interview?  How many magazines could be filled? 

Has retribution made our world a better place?


(2) I remembered an interview from a public radio brodcast, On Being.  In a 2008 interview with Thich Nhat Hanh, Krista Tippett inquires about what Brother Thay thinks about terrorists. 

Ms. Tippett: What would compassion look like towards a terrorist, let's say?

Brother Thây: The terrorists, they are victims of their wrong perceptions. They have wrong perceptions on themselves, and they have wrong perceptions of us. So the practice of communication, peaceful communication, can help them to remove their wrong perceptions on them and on us and the wrong perceptions we have on us and on them. This is the basic practice. This is the principle. And I hope that our political leaders understand this and take action right away to help us.


(3)  I recalled excellent essays by Wendell Berry - In the Presence of Fear:  Three Essays for a Changed World.   Including this full essay, "Thoughts in the Presence of Fear" - which culminates with these words:

XXVII. The first thing we must begin to teach our children (and learn ourselves) is that we cannot spend and consume endlessly. We have got to learn to save and conserve. We do need a “new economy”, but one that is founded on thrift and care, on saving and conserving, not on excess and waste. An economy based on waste is inherently and hopelessly violent, and war is its inevitable by-product. We need a peaceable economy.

Toward eupan.

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

Posted via email from Eupan Global Initiative

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