A Dichotomy : I Don’t Think So

I write about the human spirit mostly, the wounding of it, the healing of it, and its ultimate triumph.  I’m an advocate of chakra meditation, and reorganization of our mental processes via conscious manipulation of the mind, in order to heal old wounds, self inflicted, or otherwise sustained.

I believe in the power of herbs and prayer.  I’ve no doubt that quantum physics will prove that “magic” and the human soul exist. I see philosophical value and practical applications in most Eastern religions.  I also believe in a creator of some sort. (In my opinion, creation is just too well done and specific to be a random accident of chance.)  Though I subscribe to no particular religion, I do relate to aspects of a variety of paths, many of which fall under the neopagan heading.

I strive for harmony in my life, give love freely, keep a live and let live attitude, try to help my fellow humans as much as I can, and, since I was a child, routinely pray for world peace.  Your typical tree hugging, hemp wearing, unshaven, patchouli scented hippie, right?  Not quite.

It may surprise some that I am decidedly conservative in many, if not most, of my political views, valuing freedom and personal responsibility above all else.  If I had to, I would describe myself as a right leaning Libertarian.  “An ye harm none, do what ye will.”  A perfect fit.  I tell you all of this because I feel I must be honest. In doing so, I am convinced I will alienate many, though that is not my aim.

As I struggle to wrap my head around the recent carnage at The Boston Marathon, an urge has resurfaced to discuss pacifism.  Pacifism, as an absolute, is wholly immoral, and in most cases entirely hypocritical.  As the only reason a person has the freedom to be a pacifist, is because there are warriors out there fighting for that right.  Talk about an “inconvenient truth”. Unless you are fully willing to die, to watch your family be killed, please spare me the hypocrisy.

Though I would rather not engage in war nor violence of any sort, there are times when it is absolutely necessary.  Life is indeed precious, and should be protected as such.  Oftentimes that protection can only be afforded through the use of violence.  Guns stopped the terrorists, not hopeful wishing and thoughtful conversation.  This is the violence inherent in peace, a monumental oxymoron, I know.

Should the perpetrator of this outrageously violent criminal act against innocents be allowed to live?  I think not. Anyone who would commit such a horrific act is defective, an aberration, an enemy of life, and as such poses a threat to the rest of us who would like to be left in peace to practice yoga, meditate, or simply watch our loved ones participate in a 26 mile long test of the human mind, body and spirit.

Wouldn’t it be better to just lock him up and throw away the key?  No.  His continued existence is infectious and must be removed as the proverbial bad apple.  If you are so inclined, think on his vibrations and all they might touch.  There need be no anger, no vengeance taken. As a mother cat allows a sick kitten of her own litter to die in order to preserve her life and the lives of her other kittens, so it must be.

There simply can be no peace without occasional violence.  It is an unfortunate truth, too ugly for some to face.  However, this is the way it will be until ALL of humanity is on the same page concerning the intrinsic value of life, and I do hope with all of my heart and soul that day will soon come.  Then, and only then, will the violence end.

….  This piece was originally written on April 18th.  I have tweaked it, by adding information we now know to be true.  I didn’t post it until now because I wanted to wait and see if I still felt the same after my emotions settled.  I must say, now that I have seen the face of the surviving terrorist, now that I know he is younger than my oldest child, it is far more difficult to advocate for his death.  Still, as painful as it is, I stand by my words.  When he is executed, I will cry, as I have cried for his victims.  The tears I shed, however, will not be for him, but for the person he could have been.


S. Conde


The Violence of Peace

If you follow me on Facebook, you’re probably cognizant of the fact that I’ve been avoiding writing this problematic piece since the title first flashed across my brain some weeks ago.  (I’m much happier writing about the inner world, than the outer.)

Just now, browsing the internet, I came across an essay by George Orwell called “Pacifism and the War“.  The issue I had been avoiding smacked me in the face.  Below is an excerpt.

“Pacifism. Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, ‘he that is not with me is against me’. The idea that you can somehow remain aloof from and superior to the struggle, while living on food which British sailors have to risk their lives to bring you, is a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security. Mr Savage remarks that ‘according to this type of reasoning, a German or Japanese pacifist would be “objectively pro-British”.’ But of course he would be! That is why pacifist activities are not permitted in those countries (in both of them the penalty is, or can be, beheading) while both the Germans and the Japanese do all they can to encourage the spread of pacifism in British and American territories. The Germans even run a spurious ‘freedom’ station which serves out pacifist propaganda indistinguishable from that of the P.P.U. They would stimulate pacifism in Russia as well if they could, but in that case they have tougher babies to deal with. In so far as it takes effect at all, pacifist propaganda can only be effective against those countries where a certain amount of freedom of speech is still permitted; in other words it is helpful to totalitarianism.

I am not interested in pacifism as a ‘moral phenomenon’. If Mr Savage and others imagine that one can somehow ‘overcome’ the German army by lying on one’s back, let them go on imagining it, but let them also wonder occasionally whether this is not an illusion due to security, too much money and a simple ignorance of the way in which things actually happen.”

…and there you go.  Mr. Orwell not only said it better than I could have possibly, he also relieved me of the task.

Please take a moment to look at our current situation through his eyes.  What would George think?  Apply the common sense of this essay to what is happening all around us today, then extrapolate…do the math.  Frightening.

Gandhi is the example that is always bandied about.  Yes, passive resistance worked in that case, but not alone, and not without the loss of many Indian lives.  Indians who were willing to “lay down” for their cause, willing to get shot.  Are you?  …and while it may have eventually sickened the English to fire on unarmed peaceful civilians, if you think for one moment that those who would behead children, and shoot women in soccer fields, are the same sort of enemy, there is no essay written that can help you understand what I mean when I say there is violence inherent in peace.

S. Conde