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Rules of Gold - Toward a Radical Transcendence of The Current Dilemma

First Posted March 2011

One of the most urgent, essential, and difficult questions facing humanity is how to fight or oppose something without becoming it.  How do we fight terrorism without becoming terrorists?  How do we fight war without starting a war?  How do we fight hate without hating?  How do we fight disease without catching the disease we are fighting?  How do we oppose close-minded ‘haters’ without hating them, and becoming close-minded?

This really happened...In my local church recently we had a visitor.  She was "not like us."  She was not nearly as tolerant or open minded as those in the congregation.  I heard 3 people say that "she just isn't open minded enough to be here, and wouldn't it be better if she did not come back??!?

Maybe we need a sign over the church door..."Open only to those who are as open minded and loving as we are.  All others, stay away!"

Do you see what I mean?  How do we get out of this bottomless pit of misery?

Let’s summarize The Current Dilemma with the following tiny dialogue:

  1. “People need to be open, loving, and accepting of differences.”
  2. “But there are many people who are not open, loving and accepting like we are.”
  3. “Those close-minded, hate-filled people must be opposed and eliminated.”

How can I be open and accepting of that which is closed and hateful?  It’s quite easy to say, “Oh, just love them…” or “All things are possible….”  But what, specifically, are we to do?  What, indeed, can tangibly be done to keep from renewing the perpetual cycles of hate & war?

The following is offered as an outline of those specific steps which can lead us out of the dilemma.  This is only a beginning.  I would love to get your feedback.

  1. Reveal / expose / open / communicate.  Information!  Data!  Knowledge!  These are the raw tools that we must assemble in order to do our work.  Not just 2nd or 3rd hand material, but as close to the actual source as we can get.
  2. Do everything you can to experience people, doctrines, texts and histories in context.  Something may, indeed, look and be wanting on your scale of love & peace.  However, this does not mean that, in its contextual origin, it is not a great expression of love.  (For example, a sacred document from 1500 years ago can seem quite bigoted and  misanthropic in today’s context; that does not mean, however, that it was not a huge leap forward in human evolution, for its time.)

    What’s more, there are always reasons for things & attitudes being what they are.  Always.  That does not of necessity excuse an improper reaction, but that context is an essential part of the information, data & knowledge required in #1 above.  (For example, today’s terrorist is almost always the result of some previous terrorism.)
  3. As we discover data (#1) and context (#2) we are gaining the key components to genuine love & transcendence: Empathy and Compassion.  This grants us the Divine Gift of being able to feel what others feel, and to know why.  We are more than walking a mile in their shoes, we are literally living for a time in their own hearts and minds.
  4. With this Empathy & Compassion (#3) we can, hopefully, at least for a moment, avoid assigning negative motivations to someone.  Instinctually our reptilian brain assumes the worst.  We must overcome this biological reaction if we are to make any progress at all.
  5. Recognize that genuine evil is very, very rare.  By “genuine evil” I mean intentional acts that one knows to be wrong, but are taken anyway.  The overwhelming majority of human acts are from an attitude of goodness, no matter how twisted.  This means that most of the terrorists, murderers and war mongers commit their atrocities because they think, ultimately, they are doing good.
  6. Take the high road, at all times, at all costs.  No book burning, or ass-wiping with sacred texts, or pissing in holy water.  These, and an endless parade of like-minded obscenities, only exacerbate the problems, and can never bring healing.  It boils down to
    R-E-S-P-E-C-T, pure and simple.
  7. No violence.  Ever.  Period.  That is precisely what we are trying to do here, break the cycle of war and retribution.  In the midst of conflict, every act of violence is simultaneously justifiable retribution and unprovoked aggression.  Violence of any kind, in any form, will serve only to breed a new generation of terrorists, who had their home bombed when they were young, who will grow to demand themselves and others take action…and on & on & on & on it goes…

    And that includes violence of the heart.  Hatred is just one step removed from bloodshed.

  8. Be consistent.  Avoid hypocrisy like the plague.  We must  judge ourselves with the same morals we apply to others.  If killing 3,000 innocent people is horrible and inexcusable (and it is) then killing 600,000 innocent people is likewise horrible and inexcusable.  This is the heart of Jesus’ “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and “Do not judge until you are ready to be judged.”
  9. Transcend partisanship.  A partisan see only their part of an issue.  A partisan forms a party to resist and oppose all who are not in their party. This, in its most condensed form, is the essence of all human problems.  If a partisan does XYZ, it is understandable and good.  If the partisan’s “opponent” does the identical XYZ, it is unforgivably evil.  Partisanship is the heart & soul of hypocrisy.

    A partisan sees only a part.  Love requires unity, which is one-ness, which is inclusive, which means that no part of the whole can be excluded.

    Partisanship is the essence of I-Me-My, the heart of ego, the core of evil.  You cannot fight partisanship by using your part of the “good” to fight their part of the “bad.”  True love goes beyond all of that, sees both sides as equally hurt, equally to blame, equally needing healing. 

    Even if “they” are evil partisans, you cannot clean the world of that evil by opposing it with your partisanship! 
  10. In this way, transcending partisanship, you jump “out of the box,” focusing on the whole, both “sides” at the same time.  You no longer see parties, but hurting human beings.  Your heart & mind no longer participate in the particular wars and battles that plague mankind.  You have an overview of the whole system, the one-ness of totality which is the heart of love.  You see “both” “sides” as being aspects of the same thing.

    In the realm of the hypocritical partisans, the heads & tails of the coin are forever at odds, despising the other for their almost-identical acts & attitudes.  When you jump out of the system, you can see the coin in its totality, needing a bit of polish on both sides.
  11. Be aware of the bad, but focus on the good.  When we spend our time looking only for a person’s / religion’s / people’s “bad” sides, then we are in the partisanship wars and a part of the problem.  When we focus on the good, then the inherent goodness of all becomes the essence of how we see them, and the evil is the bit of varnish that needs polishing.  Otherwise the exclusive focusing on evil causes us to identify the other as evil, and the perpetual wars are perpetually being perpetuated.

    Which is to say, in another way, be aware of the differences, but focus on the similarities.
  12. Live the change you want to see.  Sick of “lowlife scum?”  Take the high road.  Tired of war?  Be at peace.  When the “other guy” makes you suicidal, identify yourself with the whole, and as you go beyond the perspectives of partisanship, you will find a reason to live. 

    Living the change means we always take the highroad, always express love, and are constantly ready to forgive.  Let it go. 

    “Yes, but what if I’M ready to let the past go, but that other scum isn’t??!?”   

    Please see #1………

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