I have often commented on the pain brought about by angry people in various areas of the world such as the Gaza Strip. There are many such areas where people suffer from the self-righteous actions of others, history is full of examples.
Do they know what they are doing? Do they care if they know or not? These seem like simple questions that should have obvious answers however simplicity does not play a part in what we observe. Instead, what we observe are complex examples of the philosophical laws as presented by Thomas Hobbs called the state of nature.
What happens in a society when people start to distrust everything around them and begin the process of surviving for their self? For example, when we look at New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina you can see people that began a survivalist mentality and assumed a very aggressive posture to gather food and protect their inner circle. We have seen similar natural state conditions in many countries when the population suffered from starvation due to drought and war. In these cases the people with power simply took what they needed from people without power.
The law of nature described by Thomas Aquinas uses the rules of reason to define the actions of moral behavior for a society. We unite in order to survive together, yet for some reason it seems like there are many today that operate outside the concept of global unity choosing instead to limit the definition of together to mean their immediate friends and family. The question to be asked is why? Is it because of fear?
“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate and hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda (Star Wars)
The quote above seems apropos for most of the hostile actions we witness on a daily basis. Someone becomes afraid and they spread the fear; that fear feeds anger and the anger feeds hate. The hate drives horrible actions against others and those actions cause the suffering of many innocent people. In the Universe everything has a purpose and it is possible that the suffering can lead to something greater in the future. However, we are human; we live in the present and the suffering hurts all of us. Despite what our future may be as we pass from our human existence to our spiritual existence, we all desire to live free of fear. To remove our fear we must first know of what we are afraid.
Even as I discuss world issues I often neglect to discuss issues of intercity gang wars in our own country. For example, just a couple of days ago I watched a show about the “killing zone” in Oakland California. That are has the largest per capita homicide rate in the United States according to the narrator.
Do they know what they do? Has unidentified fear taken complete control of reason leaving only unforgiving anguish? I don’t know, I can only wonder why the pain is necessary.
That said, I devoted a chapter to understanding fear in Transitions, A Spiritual Evolution.
I wonder if it is possible to help people isolate their fear such that they understand what drives them to hate so much. The answer is always, “It depends.” It depends on the person. A fundamentalist will be close minded and resist any reason or logic that contradicts their fundamental beliefs. A realist will simply say this is the way things are and an idealist will think about what could be and then admit someone should do something. Is there any way to change the world?
“We thought we could change the world and as we thought the negative energies looked upon us and laughed. “You go change the world if you like,” they teased, “We will gladly lend a hand.” Then they whispered their words, first this and then that as our dreams and hopes faded to greed, jealousy, and resentment We thought we were doing right as we slowly changed, like chameleons in the forest, until now. Here we sit, locked in our addictions that we can not even understand or see. How can I change the world when I can hardly change me?” – (Coming soon, Patience by Nathaniel)
Change begins with self. Before we change ourselves we must understand what we need to change; we must know what we do. “So simple, so simple, but it is the nature of man to make it difficult to understand.” – Zophiel
“Forgive them, they know not what they do.” Forgive me, I know not what I do. May I forgive myself for all that I have done. If I can forgive myself, then I can change. If I can forgive myself then I can learn to love myself. If I can learn to love myself then I can discover that I do not need to be afraid. If I am not afraid then I can learn to love God and then I can learn to love others.