I often scroll through the Twitter timeline and find wonderful threads educating people on communities and cultures that are often misunderstood or erased altogether. I also read arguments that sound like the same idea said in different ways and people expect 140 character statements to make everything clear. What’s not clear is why more people aren’t asking questions? Apparently, we aren’t looking to have real dialogue but nit pick at how someone has expressed their thought. I have asked for clarification and I believe because of so much cynical and sarcastic talk, the @ doesn’t want to talk back.
Or perhaps they think you’re stupid for asking. Either way we get nowhere. Sure, opposition is necessary at times but if we embrace oppositional thinking then our actions will also reflect this passive and aggressive communication. When did righteous people decide they were better than the ideas and people they serve. We are in service to one another whether we like it or not. The service could be minding your own business or choosing better words to use to express yourself.
It’s a bigger job than we think, being a generous human being. If you don’t know your worth you can’t identify (correctly) the worth of another person (or living thing). So it’s a reasonable inference to determine that we will make very little progress.
I read something that asked me to bring humanity to Nazis. First I thought, so many people completely disagree with non-violence towards aggressive racists. Then, I determined that it was the truth despite the natural urge to hate people who wish you pain and even extermination. I believe in do no harm, so, whether or not someone wants me dead, they won’t be allowed the opportunity. Words wage wars before actions are taken and I have to make an intention to use the right words at the right time in order to have a meaningful impact.
The presentation of fear, as seen through white supremacist actions in Virginia recently, is the exact moment when a person of spiritual conviction must help the person of a low life condition confront what they think is going on. As a Nichiren Buddhist I am endowed with the responsibility of a Bodhisattva which means I’m responsible for being the better person. I have to have those challenging conversations with people I may have wanted to label idiots. I can’t see them that way. I have to see them as ignorant. I have to see the causes they are making in their own lives to have an inkling of what is blocking their capacity to break the hell theyre in.
The hell we fear is the hell we create for ourselves. These white supremacists should be viewed as fearful. Police that kill unarmed innocent people because they fear for their own lives. But what is lacking in their life to make them rationalize the harm they purposely inflict on others. To break a Nazi apart you must deconstruct the weakness of their argument and not validate the cruelty they want to incite.
The worst part is to know some of these people expressing hate identify with a religion, usually Christianity. If one believes in something greater than oneself, how can you possibly place another man above it. A human. Star dust that fixes its mouth to chant that others would not replace them. There are two parts of this claim that make the anti-celebration in Charlottesville a creation by unworthy persons. One, there is already someone or something better, bigger and more immense than they’ll ever be. Two, they are all mortal. Eventually, they will be replaced by someone or something. In conclusion, fear finds the weakness inside you, the lie you tell yourself and exploits it for evil.
Apologies are welcomed and forgiveness is possible, so let’s start right now.
Art above by Nathan Morse (1997); high school student; pen