Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Dividing The Sheep

I realized the other day, after yet another heated virtual discussion broke out on among list members, that every single mailing list I'm on has degenerated at some point into name calling, insults, and hurt feelings. No one can talk anymore. No one can have a discussion without it deteriorating into a flame war shouting match. There's no more middle ground, no more giving way to the possibility that the other person's candidate, religion, political party, choice of relationships, place of employment might be equal or gasp! even better than one's own. We've become a nation of petulant children who must have our way or else.

It's easy to lose hope that we'll ever get along again, but I'm an optimist. It's what's kept me alive and kicking in situations that would have destroyed or even killed others. I always believe in people far more than they deserve to be believed in at times. I have to, because to believe that people really are as awful in real life as they are on mailing lists and discussion forums is to give up on the world. I'm not ready to do that yet, if ever. I'll probably go to my death still believing that we can be better than we are.

But there's some things we need to do in order to reclaim the title of human being. Here's a partial list. Feel free to add to it in the comments section as I consider this a world community project where those of us who really do want a better world are prepared to lead the way toward it.

1. Stop listening to those who insist on creating a divided world. What right do they have to create wedges between human beings, and why are you giving them the power to do so?

2. Stop perceiving human beings as being superior and inferior to each other. If you hate, if you're a bigot and harbor prejudices, then you are a tool waiting to be used. Look at History and see how people's hatreds were manipulated by those with evil intentions, by those with an insatiable hunger for power and greed. It's way too easy to stir up a crowd of people if their noses are already pointed in the direction someone wants them to go. Be aware of those who preach hate. Ask yourself what they have to gain if they succeed in making you hate along with them.

3. Make compassion the core of your being. It's a lot easier said than done because in order to know compassion, you have to receive it. So make  a point of giving it away because it is the only way to create a more compassionate world. There's nothing that can be pointed at and said this is it and this is not it. Compassion is one of those misty things that can only be felt, and if you've never felt it then it's impossible to understand.

4. Step outside your own needs and desires and pay attention to what others need and desire. Once you step outside your tiny little world, then life becomes larger, the world becomes larger. And yet it becomes interwoven once we realize we all have the same basic needs and desires. If we create a world with these as our foundation, then no one need suffer from lack of them.

5. Accept that there is only one way to create a world filled with healthy people, prosperity, knowledge, creativity, and scientific marvels and that is to do away with war. It is the single act that has prevented human beings from evolving to their full potential. We must embrace Peace with the same fervor, the same enthusiasm, the same desire as we do war, or we will never become complete human beings.

Shirt and other gifts with peace penguins available at Ursine Logic

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