(Some thoughts about what it takes to be a peace walker)
I look around in our world and what do I see? Violence all over.
- Common sense becoming more and more uncommon.
- Moderation becoming a rarity.
- Extremism is no longer extreme, it is the common thing. (Which does not mean that we know about our extremism. Unconscious extremism; a strange beast. )
People are radicalized, but what does that mean?
Radical comes from the word “radix”, which means root. But it does not mean going to the root of things, walking round the proverbial elephant and noting different sides of it, considering different aspects of the question.
Radical now means being more or less VIOLENT.
Good people, can we (as we like to sing) give peace a chance? I see so few people REALLY caring about peace. Nobody says a bad word about it, but it is the walk, not the talk that counts. Especially for peace walkers.
Two central aspects of peace, as I now see it, is “Ahimsa” and honesty.
Ahimsa means “harmlessness”. It is for me not the same as non-violence, which is more known.
Non-violence is a choice not to use violence (but you can still feel rage and anger inside). Ahimsa I see as the non-ability to be violent. The war weeds are more or less cleared away.
Obviously only a few of us have reached that level, but I also think that that should be the goal and aim of peace workers/ walkers.
So why bring honesty into the picture?
Because lying and dishonesty is a kind of minor war. Not black but grey violence, not large-scale but small-scale battle, not outer but internal disharmony. And from these seeds bloom the flowers of bloody wars.
I hear many people demanding truth, fighting for truth. But I see no Honesty Movement (although we do have Radical honesty).
Truth sounds like the grandest thing on Earth, but I think it is not good enough. Why? Because your truth and mine differ, and somehow we have this idea that there should only be one truth. So which one is it, yours or mine? Let’s fight it out!!
And so, once again, we turn into the Street of Violence.
Many people hate, torture, oppress and kill in the name of Truth. Truth does not automatically create peace, on the contrary it creates black and white polarization, tension, conflict, antagonism and agony. Harmless it is NOT.
Honesty is something else. Honesty is the mirror. Honesty means being able to say: “You are no saint, but neither am I.” Honesty is the impulse leading us to try to be better than what we criticize.
The Bible talks about “he who is without guilt…” It is honesty that tells us that we cannot cast the first stone. We are not good enough for that.
“Truth” tells us to blame, accuse, point fingers, cast stones and drop bombs. So Old Testament, don’t you think? If we were really good, really harmless, we wouldn’t want to stone anybody.
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