Some time ago I read an article by somebody who wanted Christians to take arms against the invasion of Muslims. Well, nothing new there, isn’t that what the Crusades were all about? I don’t know why religious fanatics are so self-righteous about their religion, they don’t have particularly all-embracing peace love power beauty and joy philosophies or histories. It’s more like kill the bastards if they disagree with you.
It always comes back to I’m right and you’re wrong, and it’s all rather exhausting. I understand the desire to wage war, of course I do. My pillow’s looking pretty ragged, and quite a few old telephone books have gotten torn up, thrown around and stamped on, then sent to telephone book heaven. My vocal chords and imagination have been well exercised in thinking of and yelling obscenities when nobody’s around. My room looks like hurricane city when I’m done expressing. Clothes and soft things all over the place – nothing broken, though. If I didn’t do it, I’d want to engage in real combat all the time.
If I have anger or fear that I don’t pay attention to, my imagination steps in and embellishes on whatever triggered it. Which triggers off more anger or fear. And the more afraid and angry I feel, the more justified I think I am in “protecting” myself by attacking whoever threatened me.
I know for myself that if I don’t catch my anger and do something about it I slip easily into what I think is a cycle of madness. It makes me feel very righteous, but always at somebody else’s expense, and when I’m in this frame of mind I forget that that somebody is as human and possibly vulnerable as I am. Either I stay angry or afraid, acting out in a way that creates enemies for me and possibly even harms people, or I suppress the emotions and they start popping out at very inappropriate moments.
I used to think that the saying people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones meant if you’ve done something wrong don’t blame other people for doing the same thing. Now I think it means we’re all vulnerable, none of us are perfect, we all make mistakes. We all live in a glass house. Pay attention to what’s happening to you instead of judging others.
Pointing fingers doesn’t achieve anything except foster fear and hostility and people who are good at it can really make the targets of their accusation feel worthless. But how does that help? It‘s unlikely to start a movement amongst them of what the judger considers to be better behavior. It just whips up anger and fear. And pretty soon everybody’s saying “it’s not my fault, you started it”. It’s addictive. Mmm, addictions are so healthy.
And it’s loads of fun for the ego of course, but it doesn’t make anyone happy. One thing I’ve learned. It doesn’t matter how much somebody’s behavior outrages me, I’ll never be able to persuade them to change by attacking them – even if it’s just telling them they’re wrong – because it’ll make them shut the door on me. I shut the door on people who attack me, why shouldn’t they? Because I’m right? Well, I’m not, from their perspective.
Haven’t we all been so heavily conditioned with the concept of right and wrong? I find it really hard to get away from, even though it’s so counterproductive and energy consuming. I realized something a while ago, which helps. The minute I want to judge somebody as being wrong or bad, it’s because they’ve pressed a button in me that I don’t want to look at. Damn, hate having to be so responsible and accountable.