(1) The best time ever to be alive (report on basic evidence of progress- Humanprogress.org).
(2) IDF soldier, “I was always taught to be human first.”
(3) What does “love your enemy” mean in the face of evil.
(4) The primary responsibility to maintain our humanity at all times, and especially when confronted with the savagery of others.
(5) The muddled thinking of Western intellectuals (inability to make fundamental distinctions between the civilians in Gaza and the indefensible Hamas terrorists).
(6) Psychologists Harold Ellens and Zenon Lotufo on theological beliefs (ideas of God) that incite violence in people. Point? Go to the fundamental beliefs/ideas behind eruptions of hate and violence, notably the animal-like features in humanity’s highest ideal and authority- deity- the features of tribalism, domination, punitive destruction.
(7) Climate alarmism updates (there is no “climate crisis”).
(8) More on the real battle of good against evil (Solzhenitsyn’s point that the real battle of good against evil runs down the center of every human heart).
(10) “I wouldn’t fall for it”. “Good people” oblivious to their support of mass-death movements. Don’t deny the power of bad ideas to deform human consciousness and life.
And much more…
Further on New comment below:
A reposting of the “evil triad” and the real battle of good against evil that takes place inside each of us.
Also, some insights to counter the tribal impulse that has erupted with such intensity today, notably, emphasizing humanity’s fundamental “oneness” as a potent counter to tribalism. Humanity’s oneness means that harm done to others is harm done to oneself.
And then, again, some metaphysical speculation (“spiritual” stuff) to help cope with the hell on earth that too many people experience during their life journey. Explaining, understanding, and affirming hope in a better future.
Site project: Basically, to tell people that its going to be alright, ultimately, for everyone. We are all safe in love, in the end. It’s a “Daddy” thing, reassuring the kids. There is no ultimate monster. In the end, we all return to our true home in an inexpressibly wondrous Love. This is critical to our full understanding of reality and life, to fully informing the meaning and purpose impulses in human consciousness.
And in the meantime, while living our life stories on this imperfect planet, it is also helpful (in a background supporting narrative sense) to recognize that life is getting better all the time. Life is improving over the long-term, moving toward a better future in the here and now world. See, for example, the ”Humanprogress.org” report further below.
See also below- “Six Myths about Hamas” and “Universities have become dangerous” for other important distinctions to make regarding the Israel/Palestinian situation. Too many Western “intellectuals/professors”, and their students, are ignoring or dismissing critical distinctions that are vital to any lasting peace. They are thereby aiding the ongoing incitement of hatred and eye for eye cycles of violence.
This on the true state of our world by Bjorn Lomborg and Jordan Peterson, Oct. 26, 2023, “The world is not as gloomy as the media would have you believe: The constant barrage of negative stories may lead us to imagine that our progress is about to end, but the evidence says otherwise”.
“It’s easy to believe that the world is falling apart while watching the news: climate change, political division, coups d’état, the global pandemic, Russia’s ruthless war on Ukraine, Hamas’ unjustifiable killings and the Middle East careening toward widespread violence. Before panicking, it may be worth stepping back to get some perspective.
“Media-driven fear demoralizes us — particularly when we’re young — and engenders terrible political decisions by crippling our ability to do better.
“War is endlessly and eternally horrific. It is understandable and even necessary that the media spotlights today’s conflicts. But this can make us believe that we’re living through unprecedented violence. Russia’s war indeed meant that battle deaths in 2022 reached a high for this century, but they are still very low by historical standards. Last year, 3.5 in 100,000 people died as a consequence of war, below even the 1980s and far below the 20th-century average of 30 per 100,000. The world has in fact become much more peaceful.
“This is of course little consolation to those living in conflict zones. But the data speaks to the problem with the constant barrage of contextless catastrophe and doom. Analysis of media content across 130 countries from 1970 to 2010 indicates that the emotional tone has dramatically and consistently become more negative. Negativity sells, but it informs badly.
“The same pattern characterizes climate change reporting. A pervasive and false apocalyptic narrative draws together every negative event — ignoring the bigger picture almost entirely. Last summer, for example, forest fires made headlines, but coverage largely failed to mention that the annual burned global area has been declining for decades, reaching the lowest level ever last year. Likewise, deaths from droughts and floods make fill the front pages, but we don’t hear that deaths from such climate-related disasters have declined 50-fold over the past century.
“The data show what we all fundamentally know: the world has improved dramatically. Life expectancy has more than doubled since 1900. Two centuries ago, almost everyone was illiterate. Now, almost everyone can read. In 1820, nearly 90 per cent of people lived in extreme poverty. Now it’s less than 10 per cent. Indoor air pollution has declined dramatically, and its outdoor equivalent has also done so in rich countries. If we could choose when to be born, having all the facts at hand, few would choose any time before today.”
See rest of article at link above.
The Christ myth of Paul is regularly tackled on this site because it has been and continues to be the main influence keeping the pathology of apocalyptic alive in Western narratives and consciousness. For balance, I affirm that, yes, Paul’s Christ does embrace important ideals such as love, forgiveness, grace. But the argument here is that the darker features in the mix- i.e. tribalism (favoring true believers, damning unbelievers), domination (Christ as Lord, King, Ruler), and punitive destruction (Christ executing violent apocalyptic destruction, hell- see Revelation, Thessalonians), these darker features undermine, distort, and bury the better features. This was Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy’s point- that the “diamonds/pearls” of Historical Jesus were buried by Paul’s Christ.
That is the essential problem with ancient religious belief traditions that long ago embraced the worst features of primitive humanity and have not since purged their narratives of those primitive subhuman features. Those base features were projected onto the earliest theologies (God theories) and have ever since defined the gods at the heart of religious belief systems. And ideas of deity, as humanity’s highest ideal and authority, overwhelmingly shape all else in human belief systems.
So you see the task that we have ahead of us in order to clean up the complexes of ideas/myths that shape our thinking, emotions, motivations, and responses/behavior. It is a project that we must engage if we want to do the thorough problem-solving that gets to the root of the problems that have cursed human existence, notably, bad ideas inciting and validating bad behavior across the millennia. Purging our narratives of bad ideas and finding more humane alternatives is essential to helping us move toward that better future we all want, free of violence. See “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives” in sections below.
My emphasis on transforming the basic themes of our narratives relates to the fact that people across history have based their behavior on their beliefs (ethics based on theology), seeking guidance and validation from ultimate metaphysical ideals and authorities- i.e. deity. This has to do with the primal human impulse to meaning and purpose- people naturally want to know that they are fulfilling the reason for which they have been created and exist on this planet. Hint: Love is foundational to that meaning/purpose.
And this is not just some “religious/spiritual” thing. Materialists/atheists are driven by this same meaning impulse and just express it differently in their systems of belief or “anti-belief”. It is not possible to deny the impulse to meaning and still live as human.
Intro to “The Triad”: The root of all evil is the triad of inherited animal impulses and the related ideas/myths (archetypes) that incite and validate these base impulses. These impulses reside inside every human heart and comprise the worst monster and enemy of humanity. They constitute the greatest “battle against evil” that humanity has to engage and win in order to become “heroes that tower in stature as maturely human”. By winning that battle against evil that takes place inside us, we achieve the fundamental goal and purpose of human life and story. We do so by “loving our enemies” as the highest reach of love, as essential to the unconditional love which is the defining feature of deity.
A reposting of “The Evil Triad”: Wendell Krossa
My “triad of evil” is not a comprehensive list of all human wrongs but it lasers in on some of the more basic and prominent baddies at the root of so much inhumanity and consequent suffering. The triad are prominent sources of problems among people and always have been. They comprise the most basic features of the residual animal inheritance in human brains, a triad of dark impulses and associated validating ideas that have long been deeply embedded as “archetypes”, central themes that endlessly reappear in human narratives, whether religious or “secular”, ideas/themes that incite and validate our worst impulses.
Carl Jung called these base animal impulses the “shadow”. Joseph Campbell termed them “the animal passions”. Religious traditions refer to these as “inherited sin” or “the sinful nature”. Lyall Watson called them “Dark Nature” as in inherited animal drives.
Conquer this triad and you will achieve heroic status, “towering in stature as maturely human”, a true warrior who has slain the greatest monster and enemy that humanity has ever faced.
The following summary lists the impulses and the ideas that incite and validate the impulses. I offer insights to counter these worst impulses of humanity- alternatives that bring out the best of being human, that motivate the better impulses of our human spirit.
(1) The residual tribal mentality and impulse- i.e. excluding and opposing others that differ. Viewing the differing other as an outsider or “enemy”, a threat to oneself. Primitive views of deity have long validated this inhuman impulse- i.e. the myth of a cosmic dualism, the Zoroastrian belief in a Good God versus a Satanic Force/spirit that shaped Western religions and consciousness, and the consequent views of God as a tribal reality that favors true believer insiders and excludes and destroys outsider “unbelievers”. God as ultimate source and validation of discrimination.
Alternative ideas to counter the tribal impulse and its validating myths- (a) view all people as equal members of the same one human family. We can base this view of the oneness of humanity on the origin of all humans on Earth today from the “Mitochondrial Eve” in Africa, the mother of us all (a black African too- take that White Supremacists).
Or (b) we can base our belief that we are all members of the same one reality on the fundamental oneness behind all reality that even quantum mechanics affirms (quantum entanglement). Apologies to physicists who detest people drawing these “Woo Woo” speculations from physics, but we draw helpful insight and inspiration from where we can.
Or (c) we base our oneness conclusion on the “spiritual” insight that we all belong to the same ultimate Consciousness (our oneness with Ultimate Reality or God as revealed, for example, in NDE accounts).
(2) The impulse to dominate others- the alpha male or alpha female thing. Yes, alpha female. Archeologist/anthropologist Marija Gimbutas concluded from her research that, historically, female tribal leaders were as brutal as patriarchal leaders, hence “alpha female” is also true. As for examples of alpha women, we remember Golda Meir and Margie Thatcher, among others.
Rather than view the “war of the sexes” as the gentle, kinder ladies versus the nasty, violent patriarchs, it may be more accurate to understand the real issue as the fact that both sexes share the same animal inheritance (i.e. impulses to tribalism, domination, punitive destruction) as well as the truth that both sexes share the same human spirit (i.e. the ability to forgive, love, exhibit gentleness and kindness). This is the defining inner dualism that is not some fundamental difference between the sexes but is something shared by both sexes.
This comment on Gimbutas’ research- “Gimbutas understood ‘the Goddess’ as a representation of the generative as well as the destructive forces of nature”. Others state that she believed “the world was at peace when God was a woman”. Pre-historians like Stephen LeBlanc in “Constant Battles: The Myth of the Peaceful, Noble Savage” reject the belief of a peaceful past without violence, even under matriarchal leaders. And feminist authority Barb Kay presents data on violence from women that competes with rates of violence among men. Again, both sexes have the same inheritance of base animal impulses.
Further, primitive ideas of deities as dominating lords, kings, rulers have long validated this base impulse to domination with myths of the “divine right of kings… political leaders/governing authorities as appointed by God (i.e. Romans 13)… priesthoods as mediators for God”, etc.
We counter the domination impulse with the Classic Liberal protections of the freedom, rights, and equality of all people (systems of common law and societal institutions that grant equal rights and protections to everyone alike). Notably, the protection to the right of self-determination of every individual, to not be controlled by state authorities/elites, the busybody powerholders who ceaselessly try to intervene in and manipulate the lives of citizens with partisan policies, excessive rules, burdensome business-hindering protocols, property-confiscating taxation, etc.
The impulse to totalitarianism is unleashed through such interfering bureaucratic types (“bosses from Hell”) trying to control the lives of citizens, busybody meddlers who forget that they were elected, or hired, to represent and serve the people.
Add here the comment of Historical Jesus that true greatness was to serve others, not dominate them, meaning democratic persuasion not coercion in human relating.
(3) And the impulse to punitive destruction of offenders/differing others as in retaliatory, eye for eye justice systems. We counter the dehumanizing lust for vengeance (often cloaked under the cover of “justice”) with restorative justice approaches that treat all humanely even while holding all responsible for behavior. Meaning that it is not “anti-compassion” to responsibly incarcerate those unwilling or unable to restrain their worst impulses to violence or harm of others. This is a poke at the horrifically bad policy of across-the-board, undifferentiating “de-carceration” that has been embraced in US cities that are run by Woke Progressive parties today (i.e. not carefully distinguishing between repeat violent and non-violent offenders).
Further, any common-sense, humane system of justice will hold offenders responsible to make restitution to victims.
But then, after incarcerating violent, harmful people, we are obligated to treat such offenders humanely as that is how we maintain our own humanity in the face of evil. Just as we treat prisoners of war humanely according to international human rights codes. Its not about our feelings toward offenders and offenses, where outrage is the natural and healthy human response to horrific offenses/evil. But then, despite such intensely felt responses, we embrace the intention and practise of treating offenders humanely, not with hurt for hurt, humiliation for humiliation, or pain for pain, as in punitive justice responses. See Simon Wiesenthal’s “Justice, Not Vengeance” or Karl Menninger’s “The Crime of Punishment”.
This triad of evils and alternative humane responses is just to offer some simplification for easier comprehension and remembrance. It goes directly to some of our worst impulses and the related outcomes that have caused so much human misery across history, and how to respond in alternative ways that help resolve long-standing pathologies in human existence.
A full list of alternative themes to overturn archetypes and liberate from the triad and inspire toward a more human future- see “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives” in sections below…
One more on “Oneness”: A critical feature to counter destructive tribalism, Wendell Krossa
Back in the late 1980s I took an HTML course and typed up my first website and posted it on the Internet. It looked like those barebones pages from the earliest Apple printers- just plain typed material with no graphics.
In response to comments on my site, some guy vacationing in Italy emailed me about a strange otherworldly experience that he had. He was sitting on a porch somewhere in Italy with his wife, enjoying supper, when unexpectedly the universe opened up before him for just a moment and left him with a stunningly inexpressible sense of oneness with the cosmos and all reality. He asked me- “What was that? What does it mean?”
I had no answer for him as I was quite unfamiliar with the very concept of oneness. But since then, views on the fundamental oneness of all things have repeatedly come to the fore as something foundational to reality and to humanity.
Bob Brinsmead has noted that quantum mechanics also affirms this oneness, despite those who dismiss such conclusions as “Woowoo” stuff that has no basis in an empirical science like physics. Nonetheless, a fundamental oneness exists and its right to conclude that based on such oneness “when you harm another you harm yourself”.
“Spiritual” traditions like the NDE movement also affirm this profound sense of oneness with deity and all reality.
Some more on the root myths/ideas that incite the worst in humanity… Wendell Krossa
Historians Arthur Herman (The Idea of Decline in Western History), Richard Landes (Heaven on Earth), Arthur Mendel (Vision and Violence), and David Redles (Hitler’s Millennial Reich), among others, have done the detailed research showing that (trigger warning for true believers) basic Christian themes have played significant roles inciting, guiding, and validating the violence in Marxist, Nazi, and now environmental alarmism “salvation” crusades. Meaning, among other elements involved, they are all “profoundly religious movements”.
I have summarized the complex of Christian ideas/myths that are involved in such movements as “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption”. This represents the larger complex of myths that I have detailed in sections further below titled “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives”. These same ideas/myths also shape most other religious traditions, both Western and Eastern (Yes, Hinduism and Buddhism have “Declinism” themes which is an essential feature of apocalyptic mythology).
(1) “Lost paradise- The belief in this life- and history-distorting myth raises concern over something essential and valuable (one’s true birthright, true property) that is now lost or taken away, some past utopia that needs to be recovered, restored. Something essential to human well being and happiness that is missing. Belief in this pathology sets people up to be receptive to “salvation” schemes to recover what has been purportedly lost.
(2) Apocalypse- After the loss of original paradise, it is claimed that life is degenerating toward something worse, toward collapse and ending. This history- and life-distorting myth incites the primal fear of some looming threat to one’s existence. It incites the defensive/protective survival impulse, the desperation to just live. This incited survival fear then renders us susceptible to the proffered “salvation” schemes of alarmist prophets.
(3) Redemption/salvation- The requirement of an atonement to save one’s life and world, and this involves the demand to make some payment or sacrifice, to purge some evil threat/enemy in order to save the purportedly threatened reality, the need to engage a “righteous battle against some evil’, to conquer a monster/enemy, to embrace a hero’s quest and save a maiden, all to restore the lost original paradise world.
Embracing the above “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” complex of myths gives people the sense of being on the side of right against wrong, of being on the side of good against evil, of doing the right and just thing, even of being favored and approved by a God that validates this narrative. Embracing “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” mythology fulfills our primal drive for purpose, meaning, and to do something heroic in life.
Be aware of the deluding power of these ideas as in climate alarmism and its decarbonization salvation scheme.
Note on the intensified eruptions of Tribalism today– Harming others as harming yourself, Wendell Krossa
Critical in the mix of responding to and resolving the notable eruptions of violence that we are all watching across our world, is to counter the tribal element- i.e. the viewing of differing others as fundamentally different in some way. The tribally-oriented narratives that have surged to prominence today distort and deny the fundamental oneness of humanity. I would argue, with others, that the varied tribal features that we focus on as essential to our identity are actually quite peripheral to our elemental oneness. They are narrative features that distort and bury the fundamental oneness of humanity.
Point- Our fundamental oneness means that we are, in reality, all equal members of one family and therefore responsible to care for and love one another.
Too many have embraced the fallacy that we are essentially different in some manner, according to the identity markers that people commonly use to differentiate their groups from others.
We give far too much credit to the identity markers of religion, ideology, nationality, ethnicity/race, social groups, etc. to separate ourselves from others. But these are all peripheral to what ought to be our most foundational identity marker- our fundamental oneness in the human family. This is arguing for basing our identity on what is most fundamental about us all (all sharing the same human spirit, the same human mind and consciousness), not basing our identity so much on the more peripheral things that we use to differentiate ourselves from differing others.
As one scientist said about racial identity based on skin color- biologically, genetically, it is just a genome-peripheral difference between active and inactive melanocytes (melanocytes exude melanin to color skin for UV protection in high sunlight regions). As the scientist said, that is such a minor, peripheral thing on the human genome that “it amounts to nothing of any more importance than a sunburn”. Its like two people of differing skin colors posing before one another as essentially different and stating the difference as- “You sunburned people…. Or… you not-sunburned people”. Kind of petty, eh?
Yet today “race” (based on skin color) has been made a dominant issue that people use to divide and fight over. What happened to Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a colorblind society? “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”. In other words- based on our common humanity.
Again, these are issues of fundamental themes/ideas in human narratives that need to be challenged, changed, and updated with better alternatives.
The outcomes of tribal views of humanity? When one group unleashes violence toward “enemies”, that incites the tribal impulse like nothing else. It brings out intense emotions in the others affiliated with the group that is subjected to violence. Note, in this regard, the protests in support of Palestinians that have occurred across the world as Israel now takes action to defend itself from terrorists.
Many have correctly noted that Hamas does not represent the Palestinians and surveys show that even many Gazans do not support Hamas and would prefer to rid Gaza of that terrorist group. No matter. That the “enemy” (i.e. Israel) has now responded to rid the world of Hamas, this protective action has now unified and incited rage in all those on the other side of this particular divide.
Many Muslims have concluded that their tribe has been attacked and all the legitimate differentiating between the savagery of Hamas and the Palestinian cause is meaningless to those refusing to make such distinctions. It is now a reduction to the simple-minded tribal dualism of “our tribe has been attacked by our enemy”. It is a retreat into intense tribalism that denies human oneness.
It is critical to counter such tribalism (on all sides) with this fact of human oneness- whether based on “mitochondrial Eve”, or quantum mechanics (“quantum entanglement- the inherent interconnectedness of all that exists”), or the oneness presented by “spiritual” traditions. (more on this below)
Concluding from the reality of oneness, someone wisely said, “When you harm another, you harm yourself”.
And Campbell’s wise comment applies here. I repeat this regularly because it goes right to the heart of the issue.
“For love is exactly as strong as life. And when life produces what the intellect names evil, we may enter into righteous battle, contending ‘from loyalty of heart’: however, if the principle of love (Christ’s “Love your enemies”) is lost thereby, our humanity too will be lost. ‘Man’, in the words of the American novelist Hawthorne, ‘must not disclaim his brotherhood even with the guiltiest’” (Myths To Live By).
Some “big background” points, speculations to help with life here… I embrace a variety of speculations/insights on reality and life from diverse sources to help understand and frame the horror of hellish life experiences, Wendell Krossa
I recognize that nothing will alleviate the traumatic terror that the victims and families of the recent Hamas attack have suffered. But I offer this anyway as something to add to the mix of insights that people cobble together in their own personal worldviews to help them understand life somewhat more, and to help them cope with what they experience in life. Insights to marinate on in the background of our minds.
There are events in life that overwhelm us and we need some sense of greater realities that shape what is happening to us- to help us understand the “Why” of such things, to perhaps find meaning/purpose in them, and to assist us in finding post-trauma resolutions, if at all possible.
Some notable insights from varied sages, traditions:
One speculation- This cosmos, world, and biological life (as a medium for consciousness) all exist to provide a “learning or experience arena” for humanity. We come from a greater Consciousness/Mind, from ultimate oneness, a realm of love. And we enter this world in order to live out a brief life story and learn things, mainly to learn what love is and how to love, and most critically to learn what no conditions love is, to learn the love of enemy, the ultimate experience of love.
Human experience and life have to occur in a realm of dualism because we only know, experience, and learn the good of life in contrast with its opposite, the bad of life. As someone said, there is no authentic moral good except as a free choice against evil. Making the presence of evil a necessary reality to bring forth good as a response.
Add also that love and freedom are inseparable realities. You cannot have one without the other. Where there is no authentic freedom there is no authentic love. Hence, if God is love then a God of love will grant authentic freedom to people. Consequently, that entails the “risk” that people will choose to give way to their inherited animal impulses, vent those impulses on others, and that is “evil”, or the animal, as we know it in this world. The abandonment of true humanity.
Insights from Joseph Campbell’s writings interspersed with my paraphrases and comments: Wendell Krossa
We go out into life to engage a Hero’s quest, to have an adventure in life. But, as much as we hate it, there is no development or growth in human life without struggle and suffering, without experiencing the nasty side of life. So in our life story, we confront and engage a “monster” that may be some physical disability or deformity, perhaps an emotional problem, or a social conflict/issue, etc.
Further, in our struggle with our monster/enemy we will be wounded, and thereby learn lessons and gain insights to pass on to others. Personal wounding serves the function of stirring empathy with others who similarly suffer. And empathy is a critical element to authentic love.
We also may receive a weapon from a wise mentor to help us slay our monster. For example, I take insights from people like Bob Brinsmead and James Robinson who have helped me to understand that the Christ myth of Paul does not represent the Historical Jesus, but contradicts the core message of Jesus. Their insights have helped me to “slay” the Christ myth, the “threat theology” monster that I cowed under from my years in Evangelical Christianity (a deity that threatens to judge, exclude, and destroy those not believing, submitting, and obeying Paul’s Christian gospel).
Then, after experiencing and learning what we came here for, we return to our true home in ultimate oneness and love. There is no dualism there, no heaven or hell, no darkness, no threatening deity (no judgment, exclusion, no punishment as in hell) only inexpressibly wondrous love. Meaning that all are safe in the end. This love at the core of reality is the ultimate thing to reassure all with. It affirms that “Everything is going to be alright”, ultimately.
While here on earth, Campbell says that we are just “actors on God’s stage”, playing our roles in stories of dualism battles (good versus evil). And we add the caution regarding this world as a realm as a temporary dualism- This is not to downplay the horror of evil and the need to fight evil in the righteous battles of here and now existence. But as Campbell cautions, when we engage our battles against evil, we must never forget that our “enemy” is still our family in the oneness that is the human family, and also in the ultimate oneness of surrounding eternal realms.
Others have suggested that before we come here, we may even choose our life story, our family, our body, and varied life experiences that seek to learn from. See Natalie Sudman’s “The Application of Impossible Things” for some interesting illustrative detail on this point (her NDE account). This challenges the reflexive blaming of God or the Devil for what happens here on earth. We may have had more to do with such things than we realize.
Further, Campbell has suggested that we are part of a greater Consciousness/deity, and only part of our consciousness is expressed here- mediated through our material brain that is a limiting organ to enable us to have a life story here. Limited to 5 senses, 3-4 dimensions, and material world dualisms. What is expressed through our bodies and life stories is not the totality of the real us.
From the above insights I would offer that we are never alone here, never separated from God as love, the surrounding, interpenetrating metaphysical reality that has incarnated in all of us as Something inseparable from our human spirit. The inner presence that gently persuades us to live as human, to love. The indwelling spirit that is always present in us, even during the worst of horrors of life. The ever-present God is expressed in all human raging against wrong in life and all human activity to fight evil and make life better for all. We are responsible to be the eyes, hands, and feet of the invisible God in life.
I don’t downplay or dismiss speculation on metaphysical things because I view such as critical to our meaning impulse- to know why we exist, to understand the purpose of human life and suffering. Things that are forever beyond the ability of natural science to answer, despite the discoveries of science that have been so incredibly beneficial to material life.
Science is a limited venture, with a limiting methodology and approach. It is not designed to answer ultimate questions of meaning that we all ponder. And speculation on the metaphysical has always been part of the human experience and so much past speculation (primitive mythology, religion) is distorting of reality and life and human consciousness and life. Hence, we need to offer better speculation, as in more humane speculations because we all base our behavior on our beliefs, as fundamental to being human. Our ideas/beliefs powerfully shape our thinking, feeling, motivations, and responses/behavior.
The “natural” but dangerous retreat into tribalism: Wendell Krossa
When violence is unleashed between one group and another opposing group, then the tribal impulse erupts and takes over and clouds consciousness with irrational rage and hatred. This is the real block to peace and solving cycles of violence. People naturally retreat into their tribal groups and tribal narratives and then too often refuse to listen to facts and fine distinctions between important things.
The tribal impulse evokes a very primitive mindset, very primitive emotional states and responses. Once people give way to the tribal impulse they then refuse to listen to critical distinctions like the profound difference between Hamas’ “kill all Jews” and the larger Palestinian cause. Or the difference between the Israeli response and care to not bomb civilians contrasted with Hamas’ intentional hiding behind civilians to purposefully cause civilian deaths for propaganda.
The Israelis take great care not to harm civilians and must be encouraged to continue doing so in order to maintain their humanity before an excessively critical world. Evidence: See the civilian death ratios from Israeli responses to terrorism, compared to civilian death rates in other conventional wars. (See link to “Six Myths About Hamas”).
These are critical distinctions at these dangerous times of eruptions of mass-violence.
Basic ideals/practises that are the identity markers of authentic human being:
(1) The inclusion of every human being as a full equal.
(2) Respecting the freedom of everyone- as in protecting the equal rights of all individuals and the self-determination of every person. This is contrasted with collectivist approaches that subject individuals to the powerholding elites that are “necessary to run the collective” (‘enlightened elites’ believing that they know what is best for all others). Collectivism is about centralized power versus the dispersal of power among diverse competing individuals in liberal democracy systems.
(3) Restorative justice approaches to human failure- not pacifism but treating offenders humanely while holding all responsible for behavior and consequences, including the incarceration of repeatedly violent offenders who cannot or will not control their worst impulses.
Is this why so many good comedians are Jewish? “How to defeat terrorism? The Jewish way is to leave them laughing”, by Aviva Engel, Oct. 25, 2023
Here is the excellent analysis of Jordan Peterson of the psychopathology of Hamas savagery, a pathology shared by Left Wing authoritarians presenting themselves as compassionate- “Why I am pro-Muslim but anti-thug”
Paraphrase summary of Peterson’s comments:
Interesting that the recent research from psychology has shown the most pathological of personality disorders related to psychopathy, including the pathology of sadism as positive delight in the suffering of victims, and stunningly, also including the propensity to claim outright virtue or victim status while pursuing grandiose and destructive programs. These people, say Peterson, lie, cheat, steal, savage reputations, brag, claim credit where none is due, and distribute blame to everyone but none to themselves all the while pursuing their immediate selfish, hedonistic gratification, all the while trumpeting their moral virtue while brandishing their identity as unfairly oppressed. They threaten the entire society, hoping to light everything in flames and dance in the ruins. This is happening with Wokeism, as with Hamas.
And the best way to promote this madness, says Peterson, is to adopt a religious cover, cloaking yourself in all that is just, merciful, ethical, traditional. But this is less effective in the post-religious West so those exhibiting the dark tetrad of evils cloak themselves as avatars of compassion for the downtrodden so they can deservedly punish the successful.
So much good comment in this Peterson video- “We are for equity because merit is our sworn enemy”…. And more…
This important essay on the “Six Myths about Hamas” that distort the Israeli/Palestinian situation yet are widely published by media across the world and accepted by many as true.
Quotes from essay introduction:
“Alan Johnson gave this speech in 2014, after the 50-day military conflict between Israel and Hamas. We’re publishing it today, lightly edited for clarity, because we believe the myths are still with us and are still poisonous, radically misshaping the Western understanding of Hamas, Israel, and the history of the conflict, especially on the liberal left.
“The horror of the 50-day conflict between Israel and Hamas is known to everyone here. You didn’t just watch it on TV. You had anguished conversations with your family and friends at home and in Israel.
“You knew it was a legitimate act of self-defense by Israel against the rockets and the tunnels and the antisemitic hate of Hamas.
“You knew Israel had offered Hamas “quiet for quiet” day after day in early July, holding back as the Hamas rockets rained down on Israeli civilians.
“You knew that no one in Israel wanted this war. You knew Israel accepted an Egyptian cease-fire proposal seven days into the conflict while Hamas rejected it, fired more rockets, and used the terror tunnels to try and murder Israelis.
“But on TV, we were presented with something quite different: a motiveless assault by a cruel IDF on Palestinian children. For a week or so, Israel’s right to self-defense was acknowledged. But then, as the number of casualties rose, Israel’s actions were called “disproportionate,” then “unjustifiable.” Then Israel was accused of “deliberately targeting civilians,” and a “slaughter of the innocents.” Before the conflict was over, the terms child killers and war criminals could be heard.
“Make no mistake. Israel took a blow to the solar plexus when it came to global public opinion.
“We saw several large demonstrations in London: criticism of Hamas was nowhere, but the demonization of Israel was everywhere.
“We saw the National Union of Students vote to boycott Israel.
“We saw the Labour Party abandon its balanced position. Ed Miliband “differentiated” the Labour Party from the Conservatives, condemning Israel’s necessary ground operation to deal with Hamas’s terror tunnels as “unacceptable and unjustifiable.” He attacked David Cameron day after day “for not condemning Israel’s unacceptable and unjustified killing of civilians in Gaza.” One of his MPs, Grahame Morris, asked the Prime Minister why returning lone IDF soldiers were not being treated in the same way as returning ISIS jihadis.
“The low point was perhaps when Labour’s John Prescott, the former deputy prime minister of this country for many years, used his Daily Mirror column, twice, to say Gaza was akin to a “concentration camp” and Israel was akin to the guards.
“We saw “Holocaust inversion” everywhere. You know the kind of thing—Bibi morphs into Hitler, the IDF into the SS, and so on.
“And we had Vince Cable calling for a review of arms exports to Israel if. . . Israel responded one more time to those Hamas rocket attacks.
“The point is this: we mostly lost the war to interpret the war.
“I want to suggest that one important reason was that six myths about Hamas and Gaza took hold. These myths gave people a framework of understanding that hurt Israel, badly. Many people could not see Israel plainly. They could only see the evil caricature constructed by the six myths.”
See full essay at link above.
More on critical distinctions to make re the Israel/Palestinian situation:
“Universities are institutions which, at their core, are about seeking the truth in our world in order to better and deepen our understanding of it. When they deviate from this purpose, they abandon their raison d’être and responsibility to society. Seeking the truth — not “my truth” or “your truth” but the truth — is a difficult, nuanced, complex task that involves many false starts and mistakes as the path towards better knowledge is trod.
“This is why it has been so disheartening to watch as any attempt to parse the Israel–Hamas situation has been either ignored or abandoned. Indeed, for anyone who has considered the situation with even mild seriousness, it should be clear that there are, at minimum, six different entities implicated, none of them substitutes for the other.
“On one side there is the State of Israel, the Jewish people and the Israeli government. These groups are not synonymous. On the other side stands Hamas, the people of Gaza and the Palestinian state. Again, they are not the same thing.
“It is therefore logically consistent to, at once, hold all of the following views: opposition to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government, horror and revulsion for the disgusting Hamas terror attack on Israel and the Jewish people, support for the right of Israel to defend itself in the face of such barbarity, and sympathy for the people of Gaza who are seeing their loved ones killed. I would suggest this is not only logical but sensible.
“It would be foolish to suggest that in terms of pure human suffering there isn’t a symmetry between Gaza and Israel. Any life lost is a tragedy and the Gazan mother who sees her child killed mourns with equal intensity to the Jewish mother whose child was cut down. However, understanding that a situation is complex cannot be used as cover for refusing to state the truth about the terrorist nature of the Hamas attacks. Following their butchery, an important truth missed by many universities, students’ unions and anyone protesting in support of Palestine must made clear: symmetry of suffering is absolutely not the same as symmetry of responsibility. Moral equivalence is not appropriate because it does not exist in this instance.
“In Gaza there will be collateral damage because war is awful and involves civilian deaths. However, the purpose of Israel’s response to Hamas in Gaza is not to kill civilians. A democratic nation defending itself — whatever flaws that nation may have — is not the equivalent of a terror attack. National defence stands in direct opposition to the crimes perpetrated by Hamas, whose purpose was murder; whose purpose is Jewish extermination; whose desire it was to spill the blood of innocent babies and the elderly.
“Sadly, these important differences escaped the students’ unions, and even seemed to escape university administrators, who issued bland statements mourning the loss of life without calling out the terror for what it was.”
See full article at link above.
A captured terrorist interviewed by Israelis, by Melissa Fine, Oct. 22, 2023, “We became animals”
Quotes from article:
“Before Hamas terrorists descended on Israel on Oct. 7, they were instructed by their commanders to “behead Israelis and cut their feet,”…
“A captured Hamas militant is seen, wearing a white jumpsuit, sitting across from an Israeli interrogator who is “asking him questions.”
“Asked about Islam, the militant admits to the interrogator that the religion instructs followers not to kill women, children, or the elderly, but Hamas commanders told their terrorist troops, “they could do whatever they felt like doing.”…
““He said commanders told them to step on the heads of civilians, to behead them, and to do whatever they felt like,” according to Yingst.
“Asked about comparisons between Hamas and ISIS, the captured man agreed that the comparisons are warranted.
““We burned, we slaughtered, and we beheaded people,” he reportedly replied.
““We became animals,” the militant stated. “Things that humans do not do.”…
“After they killed the civilians, the acts they committed on their bodies were so “graphic,” Yingst was unable to share them with viewers….
““What these barbarians did to these people is beyond words,” she said. “There is evidence of mass rape so brutal that they broke their victims’ pelvis – women, grandmothers, children.”
““People whose heads have been cut off. Women standing in their night dresses woken up and shot. Faces blasted off. Heads smashed and their brains spilling out,” she recalled. “Women and children burned to charcoal. Bodies murdered with their hands tied behind their backs.”
““We see evidence of torture and savagery,” said Colonel Rabbi Haim Weisberg. “We have babies with their heads cut off. Bodies without hands, without legs, without genitals.””
See full article at link above.
This from H. Sterling Burnett, Oct. 27, 2023, “Climate Change Weekly #486: Models Can’t Agree on Climate Sensitivity”, notably the report- “Statistics Norway Casts Doubt on CO2 Temperature Driver Claims”. That is the very heart of the climate alarmism narrative. That CO2 emissions are driving climate change that will be catastrophic if it passes another 1.5 degrees C of warming.
Quotes from Burnett report:
“The 147-year-old Norwegian statistics bureau, Statistics Norway, recently published a report which concluded it was premature to tie present temperature trends, the much-feared global warming, to human carbon dioxide emissions.
“Dagbladet, one of Norway’s largest newspapers, described the major findings of the report succinctly, writing:
““A recent SSB (Statistics Norway) report claims that climate research operates with too short of time intervals to be able to determine whether the influence of CO2 on temperatures has a statistical correlation. Other factors such as cloud formation, solar activity, and ocean currents have a significant impact, the researchers claim”.”
This interesting comment on media bias against Jews– “Michael Oren: A War Against the Jews: Hatred of Israel cannot be distinguished from hatred of the Jewish people. Incontestably now, anti-Zionism is antisemitism.” Oct. 27, 2023.
“This war is not simply between Hamas terrorists and Israelis. It is a war against the Jews.
“The insight began with the international media’s coverage of the conflict. Again, it wasn’t the press’s insistence on calling mass murderers “militants” or citing Hamas and its “Health Ministry” as a reliable source. For close to fifty years—as a student activist, a diplomat, a soldier, a government and military spokesman, and, above all, as a historian—I’ve grappled with the media’s bias against Israel. I’ve long known that the terrorists are “militants” solely because their victims are Jews, and only in a conflict with Israel are terrorists considered credible.
“Instead, it was the media’s predictable switch from an Israel-empathetic to an Israel-demonizing narrative as the image of Palestinian suffering supplanted that of Israelis beheaded, dismembered, and burnt. It was the gnawing awareness that dead Jews buy us only so much sympathy.”
Linkages between things noted by varied commentators– Antisemitism is taught (better “propagandized”) by “intellectuals” in Western universities. The graduates emerge to work in media, entertainment, politics, varied social forums, etc. and hence spread that antisemitism throughout the wider society.
And maintaining our humanity by balancing concern for civilian victims on both sides– “Celebrities, like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, have condemned Hamas, also writing that “the growing loss of innocent Israeli and Palestinian life is heart-wrenching.”
Intro comments and points…
The Israeli/Hamas massacre presents a worst-case scenario that forces us to confront what it means to respond as human in the worst situations of life, in the face of evil. Many commentators are wrestling with this issue, and urging the Israelis to honor universal human rights standards as they take justified action to defend themselves and rid the world of evil. And do not let it be under doubt- Israel has a stellar record in this regard, compared to other countries (i.e. notifying civilian populations in advance of attacks).
This situation brings “love your enemy” to the fore as a critical ethical precept to help define love, to help us understand what it means to be truly and maturely human, and how to maintain our own humanity when responding to evil.
I use the term “evil” to describe what Hamas did, but “animal” is a more biologically and psychologically correct term (see Lyall Watson’s “Dark Nature”). So I would respond to Robert Hare’s point that psychopaths have “alien” brains with the description of psychopaths as having more “animal” brains, as in the conscienceless and cold animal predator. Hare is a leading expert on psychopathy.
A captured terrorist interviewed by Israelis, by Melissa Fine, Oct. 22, 2023, “We became animals”
Intro note on comment below: Good people are often not aware that by engaging righteous battles against some purported “evil threat” they may actually be supporting a mass-death movement. See further below for full comment. Wendell Krossa
The themes of “lost paradise/apocalyptic/redemption” mythology have endlessly distorted the true state of life and deceived people, frightened by apocalyptic scenarios, into embracing “salvation schemes” that result in horrific destruction and violence toward others. Alarmed populations have often been led to believe that they were heroically engaging a righteous battle against some intolerable evil that threatened to destroy them. The righteous warriors have sincerely believed that they were “saving their world”.
“Good people” (note the comment of the young Jewish lady below regarding German citizens in WW2) have repeatedly across history had their consciousness deformed by the above complex of religious themes, themes that are still prominent in the world religions and have even been adopted by “secular” ideologies like climate alarmism. Alarmed people become susceptible to “salvation as murder”, oblivious to the potentially destructive outcomes of their “righteous battles against purported existential threats”. Such is the consciousness-deforming influence of exaggerating problems to apocalyptic-scale threats.
Add here that the irresponsible use of apocalyptic-scale exaggeration incites the survival impulse in populations and this helps to understand the intense rage and hatred of frightened people who subsequently commit themselves to cancelling, destroying, and even eliminating their “enemies”- i.e. those presented by alarmist leaders as the “threats to their survival”. Psychology has long recognized that fear is often at the root of rage toward some differing other who is presented as threatening.
Point? ISIS is an apocalyptic movement. So also climate alarmism is prominently shaped by the theme of apocalyptic. Just as Marxism and Nazism were very much apocalyptic movements. Probe these things for yourself, noting the insistent claim by these movements of some threat from others that is exaggerated to apocalyptic-scale (i.e. “human use of fossil fuels causing catastrophic climate change… capitalism… Jewish Bolshevism…” all presented as “existential threats”).
Further point- The irresponsible use of exaggeration (media are notorious here as in “Creating Fear: News and the construction of crisis”), public commentators not taking care to get to the true state of a thing, and hence not careful of how panic-mongering can incite people to “salvationism” responses that harm others (“save the world”), such irresponsibility results in horrific damage to others as in decarbonization today.
And you wonder why this site repeatedly goes after the psychopathology of apocalyptic, “the most violent and destructive idea in history” (Arthur Mendel, “Vision and Violence”). Its about getting to the root of an issue in order to properly solve the problem for the long-term future.
So yes Bob Brinsmead, the root issue may be that there are “no really bad people, but just bad ideas leading people to do bad things to one another”.
Further notes: Psychologists Harold Ellens and Zenon Lotufo detail how bad theological ideas deform human minds and lives. And Historians Richard Landes, Arthur Mendel, David Redles and Arthur Herman detail how the above religious themes of “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” have misled many people to support the mass-death movements of Marxism, Nazism, and now environmental alarmism. Yes, among other factors, all three are “profoundly religious movements”. Pay attention to the core themes of these movements. And pay attention to the destructive outcomes of such movements. To paraphrase a well-known aphorism: “By their outcomes you shall know them”.
A repeated argument on this site is that ongoing historical outbreaks of violence, whether religiously inspired or ideologically inspired, will continue to erupt until we confront the complexes of foundational ideas in our narratives and root out those that incite our worst impulses and replace them with humane themes that inspire and affirm the better angels of our nature. Even a military man recognized this years ago when the ISIS caliphate was spreading across the Mid-East. He said that military responses to crush such violence would not solve the problem for the long-term. You had to also deal with the ideas or belief systems inciting such violence.
A notable block to the fundamental reform of narratives is that some of the worst ideas that humans have embraced across history are deeply lodged in our theologies- our theories of God. Given protection under the “immutable sacred”. Those themes were projected onto the earliest deities and have remained there ever since, defining the fundamental nature of deity- i.e. ideas of God as (1) tribally exclusive (favoring true believers, excluding unbelievers), God as (2) dominating Lord, King, Ruler (deity validating domination/submission forms of relating), and God as (3) executing punitive destruction on sinful humanity as judgment via apocalypse and hell (solving problems with retaliatory violence), among other pathologies. The “evil triad” of themes.
Human views of deity are the cohering center of our great meta-narratives, both religious and “secular/ideological”. Deities embody our ultimate ideals, the themes that most authoritatively shape our thinking, emotions, motivations, and responses/behavior.
And no, this is not an argument for some form of atheism. There is a creating Consciousness, Mind, Intelligence, Ultimate Reality, or however you prefer to term that.
The argument here is to thoroughly rethink the defining features of the deities that we have inherited from world religions, features that are now also embraced as the defining ideals of “secular/ideological” belief systems. Our ancestors projected animal-like features onto the earliest gods, and those features (again- tribal exclusion, domination, punitive destruction) have dominated theologies and belief systems ever since.
Those animal-like features must be purged from deity if we are to fully liberate and humanize our narratives and consciousness. This is a project to fully humanize God, the highest embodiment of our ideals, our supreme guiding authority. It is far past time to create a new God (meaning a new theology as the human explanation of deity) that embodies the best of our insights on what it means to be truly human. I offer “unconditional” as the singular encompassing feature that expresses the best of humanity, the height of what it means to be truly humane.
Again, to make the point: This site repeatedly argues that one fundamental feature defines a truly humane God- inexpressible no conditions Love. No religion has ever communicated this to humanity. Historical Jesus tried (i.e. “Love your enemy because God does”), but his insights on this stunning new theology were buried by Paul’s Christ myth. Note the research of “Q Wisdom Sayings” scholars like James Robinson, who detailed how Historical Jesus offered “the stunning new theology of a non-retaliatory God… his greatest contribution to the history of human ideas”.
But then a generation later early Christianity abandoned that new theology and retreated to Paul’s retaliatory God and Christ (Romans 12: 17-20- “‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay’, says the Lord”, or “Lord Jesus will return in flaming fire to destroy all who do not obey my gospel”, Thessalonian letter.). My repeated point here- The Historical Jesus was someone entirely opposite to Paul’s Christ. Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy understood this, as do some of the Jesus Seminar people.
Imagine what this definition of deity, as no conditions love, could do to transform human thought and life. Deity has always served as humanity’s highest ideal and authority. If deity were to embody the highest form of love, and if this supreme expression of love was embedded plainly/distinctly/conspicuously at the core of human narratives, it will consequently inspire, guide, and validate human lives with a stunningly new humane ideal. Marinate on this for a while. It transforms everything.
This is just saying that whatever you hold as your ultimate ideal will powerfully shape how you think and feel, it will motivate you, and it will then influence how you respond and act in life. This is all about liberation from the worst of past mental pathology. It is about transformation of consciousness and life as never before in history.
Jordan Peterson also argues this fact- that whatever you hold as your highest ideal is your God, your ultimate authority.
“Salvation as murder” is evident in the varied salvation schemes presented to the public where alarmists drag others along to destroy humanity and life in order to “save the world.” Examples include the recent disaster in Sri Lanka where leaders tried to decarbonize agriculture and brought the country to the brink of ruin as they tried to “save the world from climate catastrophe”. People will embrace such “madness of crowds” schemes because they have been primed with frightening apocalyptic scenarios. Other examples of similar “destructive, murderous salvation”- the recent proposed cull of cattle in Ireland, the proposed shutting down of farms in Holland, and proposed decarbonization of Canadian agriculture.
Decarbonization is repeatedly producing such destructive outcomes (see “co2coalition.org” links further below, along with the regular reports on decarbonization outcomes in Britain, Germany, and elsewhere as noted in “Net Zero Watch” newsletters.).
But there is no greater and more graphic portrayal of violent, destructive salvation than the book of Revelation with its apocalyptic Christ. That violent, world-destroying Christ has been the main influence keeping the primitive myth of life-destroying apocalypse alive in Western consciousness over the past two millennia, in narratives both religious and “secular/ideological”.
Central to understanding what love means, this site focuses on this ancient precept to “love your enemy”- an ethical precept first proposed by the Akkadian father in his advice to his son (roughly 2000 BCE), then later in history advocated by Historical Jesus as the central theme of his teaching.
“Love your enemy” is the key to resolving our greatest questions. It goes to the heart of what love actually means, love being our highest ideal, the feature that more than any other defines what it means to be authentically and maturely human. Love your enemy then answers the primal questions of humanity as to- Why was this cosmos was created? What is the primary purpose of conscious human existence, the purpose and goal of human life and story?
As varied sages have noted- Earth was created as a learning arena for humanity. Human story and life exists primarily to learn what love is, to understand and experience love, to learn how to express love, the one thing that will last forever beyond this temporary material realm.
And love is a many-varied thing- evident and expressed through all the diverse things that humans do to make life better for themselves, for their families, and for their greater societies. Love is evident in all human creativity, work, innovation… all the general good that people do.
The ultimate expression of love as “love your enemy” takes love beyond the more common and base forms of love as “tribal love”- love that is limited to one’s fellow ingroup members. Love your enemy reaches out of tribal limits to engage inclusive “universal/unconditional love”, love that understands that we are all members of the one human family, versus tribal versions of love where people view themselves as favored insiders versus outsider enemies (e.g. true believers versus unbelievers).
Love your enemy embraces the speculation, or belief, that ultimately after our brief sojourn in this realm of dualism (good vs evil) we return to our ultimate home in eternal oneness and unconditional love. Love your enemy understands that central to this realm of temporary dualism is to learn something of love, to receive and give love, to learn how to express love to others (Ken Ring in “Lessons From The Light”).
Bob Brinsmead, “If love is not unconditional/universal then it is not really authentic love”.
Love your enemy is another way of affirming the real nature of authentic love, a way of taking love to its ultimate height. And that means “love your enemy” is key to understanding existence and life.
Love your enemy is also key to liberation from all that is ugly and deforming in life- from tribal hatred of differing others and the cycles of eye for eye violence that such tribal hatred produces, that dehumanizes all on both sides. Love your enemy is liberation from the evil triad inside us (i.e. tribalism, domination, destruction of differing others) that is our real enemy/monster, where the real battle of good against evil takes place inside every human heart.
Critical to the better future of peaceful coexistence that we all want, is to understand that we are not obligated by love to “like” differing others, but we are obligated to treat them humanely no matter how we feel about them (giving primacy, not to emotions, but to our responses/actions/behavior). Though love your enemy would also attain new heights (a further reach of love) by actually celebrating difference, not just tolerating it.
Essential to love enemy is the critical practise of forgiveness, and of accepting the fact that the differing, offending other is still family (fundamental oneness) and we have a primary obligation to love and care for family, to seek the restoration of others no matter their failure to live as human.
Quotes from further below– Continuing with the single most potent counter to eye for eye cycles of violence…
“Love your enemy takes our highest ideal- love- to its ultimate reach and its real meaning as an “unconditional” reality. This new core ideal then reverberates out to transform human emotions, motivations, and responses/behavior. Love your enemy ends the “deformation of personality and society” that has long resulted from threat theologies, with their “monster gods” that have long incited and validated monstrous human behavior toward others as in tribal exclusion, domination, and punitive destruction (again, Zenon Lotufo in “Cruel God, Kind God”).
“Love your enemy then points us to the better answers to the great questions of human meaning- Why do we exist? What is the purpose/goal of our existence on this planet? Love your enemy points us to the real nature of the quest to become fully and truly human- i.e. to discover what it means to be human and that is a quest to learn and exhibit unconditional love toward all.
“Further, love your enemy is profound liberation from the worst features of past belief systems and the horrific behaviors that such systems incited and validated.”
Quotes from below:
“We are obligated at all times to maintain our own humanity, even when confronted with the worst situations in life, even through the horror that life sometimes throws at us.”
“There are barriers we need to erect to protect our humanity, lines that we should never cross, that can become blurred under the eruptions of adrenaline and outraged emotions that are the natural human response to savagery. All of us should embrace guideline ideas/principles/responses to shape our personal narratives, guiding ideals that will help us respond carefully should we ever face savagery from others, guiding ideas/principles that will ensure that we maintain our humanity in the face of evil. This is especially necessary if we are ever obligated to use defensive force in order to stop the insanity of barbaric violence from others.”
“At the heart of all three Abrahamic religions that dominate the thinking of Western populations is the ultimate ideal- deity- the ultimate authority that inspires, guides, and validates the behavior of members of these religions. That ultimate ideal is a God that demands and promises destructive, violent vengeance on unbelievers, heretics, infidels, false prophets…
A Harold Ellens quote on the Western God (While not all three of the Western religions advocate sacrifice, all three are based on beliefs in a God that solves problems with violence):
“(The) metaphor of an angry God, who cannot forgive unless appeased by a bloody sacrifice, has been ‘right at the center of the Master Story of the Western world for the last 2,000 years. And the unavoidable consequence for the human mind is a strong tendency to use violence’.
“’With that kind of metaphor at our center, and associated with the essential behavior of God, how could we possibly hold, in the deep structure of our unconscious motivations, any other notion of ultimate solutions to ultimate questions or crises than violence- human solutions that are equivalent to God’s kind of violence’…”
Critical to ending eye for eye cycles of retaliatory violence between people is the requirement to change the core ideals/ideas of human belief systems, notably to change the basic features of the God that is the cohering center of belief systems. See “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives” in sections below. People have always projected their ideals onto their gods, ideals that then serve as their highest authority to incite, guide, and validate their behavior and lives.
This is a call to reject the evil triad of themes that have long dominated our gods and hence validated our worst impulses- i.e. impulses to tribal exclusion (true believers versus unbelievers), domination of others, and the punitive destruction of differing others. We replace this triad with the Classic Liberal ideals of full inclusion of all as equals in the one human family, non-dominating forms of relating (respecting the freedom and rights of all, protecting the self-determination of others), and engaging restorative justice approaches to human failure.
“I wouldn’t fall for it”. “Good people” oblivious to their support of mass death movements, Wendell Krossa
As we watch fellow humans carried away in “madness of crowd” movements and their destructive outcomes, can we really assume that we are better and would not fall for such insanity? We should not miss or dismiss the persuasive influence of the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” themes in our own narratives that can render us susceptible to “salvation” schemes that “destroy the world in order to save it”.
Most of us like to think that we would never become drawn into committing atrocities against others, certainly not become caught up in a mass harm or mass murder movement. We like to think that we are something better. But are we really? Or is it just the luck of the draw that we weren’t born and raised in some area of the planet that produces the monsters that we see joining the mass murder outbreaks of today.
Consider the young SS man who was dying of his wounds in a German hospital during WW2. Simon Wiesenthal was pulled out of a concentration camp work gang by a German nurse and obligated to visit the young man. The SS man wanted to make a confession to any Jewish person for the atrocities that he had committed. He was not an evil person but, like many others in his generation, had become carried away with the madness that had swept across Hitler’s Germany. I think about how the many ordinary, good Germans similarly caught up in mass murder that in later decades puzzled outside observers as to how such could happen to so many ordinarily good people.
(Insert: A young Jewish lady working in a Holocaust remembrance association posed this issue well, asking- “How was it that so many good people were caught up in such horror?” She could recognize that many of the Germans caught up in Nazi horrors were good people.)
Think about this- What would we have done if we had been raised in a society that terrorized us with purported looming catastrophe so horrific that our very existence was threatened? What if we had been propagandized endlessly throughout our childhood that the Jew was a disease that would destroy us and hence our very survival depended on our nation acting to rid our society of that existential threat. The Nazi propaganda was an “apocalyptic millennial” narrative. A very religious crusade. Historians Richard Landes, Arthur Mendel, David Redles, and Arthur Herman have outlined the religious themes that drove Marxism, Nazism, and now shape environmental alarmism.
(Note: This is not about excusing the “hate” element that is expressed via these movements but recognizing the incited fear that is often behind survival rage and “hate” of the other that has been presented as a threat to one’s existence. This affirms my point on the irresponsible use of alarmism, especially apocalyptic-scale scenarios, to frighten populations. Take note, news media, environmental/climate activists, and others denying the good evidence on the progress of life to instead alarm and traumatize people with exaggerated scenarios of looming catastrophe and thereby manipulating people to embrace “salvation” schemes, schemes with outcomes that “destroy life and humanity in order to ‘save the world'”.)
Years of indoctrination prepared German citizens to embrace the “noble cause” opportunity (the “hero’s quest”) to save German society from annihilation and rid it of the horrific threat that Nazi leaders claimed was posed by Jews, a threat that had incited the survival concerns of Germans. The Nazi narrative emphasized the themes of “the loss of the original German paradise, the apocalyptic threat from Jewish Bolshevism, and the necessity of salvation through the Nazi scheme to exterminate the threat of the Jews”. Many Nazis actually believed that they were doing something good and righteous in order to save their society, they were engaging “a righteous battle against evil”.
After escaping repeated attempts on his life, Hitler concluded that “Providence” was protecting him so that he could carry out his salvation of German society. He presented himself as a savior.
We are deluding ourselves if we think that we would not have similarly fallen prey to such madness.
Consider today how many have become caught up in the propaganda of the climate alarmism crusade- i.e. that we are facing an existential threat to our lives and societies from fossil fuels, and we can only save ourselves with radical and immediate decarbonization.
Energy and climate experts have repeatedly warned that the sudden abandonment of fossil fuels threatens the lives of billions of the poorest people on earth (see reports on sites like “co2coalition”, “Wattsupwiththat.com”). How many of our fellow citizens, believing that they would not fall for something as obviously evil as Nazi madness, or ISIS madness, are now caught up in the climate madness with its now clearly evident outcome of harming the most vulnerable people. The climate alarmism crusade further threatens horrific outcomes to billions of Earth’s poorest people and that would be a holocaust beyond all historical holocausts. Think about this, if you like to pat yourself on the back believing that you are not the type to become caught up in some mass murder movement.
Note what happened recently in Sri Lanka. https://www.wsj.com/articles/sri-lankas-green-new-deal-was-a-human-disaster-gotabaya-rajapaksa-borlaug-synthetic-fertilizers-hunger-organic-agriculture-11657832186
That same insanity of shutting down conventional agricultural systems was also proposed for Holland (banning conventional agriculture), Ireland (cattle cull), and considered by the government in Canada. These proposals have not been abandoned despite the warning from Sri Lanka.
The destructive outcomes of decarbonization…
Up to tens of thousands of people die additionally every year from cold in Britain, the US, and other countries, dying from fuel poverty due to rising energy costs from the war on fossil fuels (i.e. rising energy costs due to government policies that block fossil fuel development projects, consequently creating scarcity and rising prices). The people harmed by this madness are the most vulnerable in our societies. This latest mass murder movement is already spreading across societies. Are you taking part in this harmful outcome by advocating and supporting decarbonization?
And how many of us have become just like those good Germans who did not actually join the killing of Jews, but did nothing to protest the intensifying anti-Semitism in their society either? Other Germans, not carried away with the Nazi hysteria, warned their fellow Germans of the erupting and spreading evil of Nazism. But many Germans refused to listen- and chose to embrace the “banality of evil”. Choosing silence in the face of evil. Exhibiting the spineless turning of their faces away so as not to be bothered.
We all have Jung’s “shadow”, the animal inheritance inside us, the evil triad of tribalism (the mentality of us versus differing others), the urge to dominate, and the impulse to punitive destruction of differing others. And if we are convinced by a narrative of “lost paradise/looming apocalypse/demand for salvation”, whether in a religious or “secular” version, then we are all susceptible to becoming carried away in the mass murder outcomes of such profoundly religious crusades like climate alarmism and its salvation scheme of decarbonization.
When we embrace a story of existential threat, of evil enemies threatening our very lives, and then with our survival desperation incited, we are told by elites that we must embrace their salvation scheme, well then you get what we have today- majorities of youth believing “that humanity is doomed”, “the world is getting worse”, and its too dangerous to even consider bringing up children in a world soon to end.
Consequent to aroused fear from the climate alarm narrative, many have embraced the climate alarmism narrative and its demand for immediate purging of the threat of CO2 in order to save ourselves. We now have entire Western societies caught up in the insanity of decarbonization and not content with the ruin of their own societies, also forcing their salvation crusade on the rest of the world. That threatens billions of the most vulnerable people.
We also saw good, well-intentioned people caught up in mass murder schemes that resulted from Rachel Carson’s apocalyptic narrative (Silent Spring). Her unscientific book influenced the ban on DDT that resulted in millions, many children, dying because they were denied protection from malaria in following years and decades. (See “The Excellent Powder: DDT’s Political and Scientific History” by Tren and Roberts).
Good people among us repeatedly become caught up in mass-harm/mass-death movements, believing that they are under existential threat, apocalyptic scale threat, and then willing to join what they believe to be righteous battles against evil enemies, and wanting to heroically save the world by ridding life of the evil threats that have been presented to them.
The hope for long-term liberation from the endlessly recurring eruptions of crowd madness will depend on understanding the primitive mythical themes that deform our consciousness and repeatedly incite our worst impulses to harm others, even if unintentionally and without awareness of outcomes from our “salvation” schemes (that evil triad of impulses inside us to tribal exclusion of differing others/enemies, domination of others, and punitive destruction of differing others).
And this on Climate change impacting the mental health of youth. No. To the contrary, it is the endless hysterical haranguing on the narrative of “climate catastrophe” in public that traumatizes youth, not any actual climate change, which has been mild.
“The Climate of Fear: Youth Mental Health in the Throes of Climate Change: We live in an age of unparalleled wealth and comfort, where bogeymen must be created because they don’t actually exist”, Charles Rotter, Oct. 14, 2023.
Shame on the adults that are endlessly and irresponsibly traumatizing a generation of youth with an apocalyptic myth that contradicts science. Climate alarmism is Chicken Little-level ignorance of climate science. Again, see the detailed research on sites like co2coalition.org and Wattsupwiththat.com.
Maintaining hope in the midst of too much news to the contrary…
This from Humanprogress.org, Oct. 12, 2023, “Is This the Best Time to Be Alive?: Overwhelming evidence shows that we are richer, healthier, better fed, better educated, and even more humane than ever before”, by Marian Tupy.
“Humanprogress.org” is one of the best sources of good evidence on the overall, long-term improvement of life. Make it a regular stop during your browsing. Also, “co2coalition.org” and “Wattsupwiththat.com” are excellent sources of evidence to counter the “profoundly religious” climate alarmism crusade, a contemporary eruption of apocalyptic hysteria, another “madness of crowds” outbreak.
“For most of human history, life was very difficult for most people. They lacked basic medicines and died relatively young. They had no painkillers, and people with ailments spent much of their lives in agonizing pain. Entire families lived in bug-infested dwellings that offered neither comfort nor privacy. They worked in the fields from sunrise to sunset, yet hunger and famines were common. Transportation was primitive, and most people never traveled beyond their native villages or nearest towns. Ignorance and illiteracy were rife. The “good old days” were, by and large, very bad for the great majority of humankind. Since then, humanity has made enormous progress—especially over the course of the last two centuries.
“How much progress?
“Life expectancy before the modern era, which is to say, the last 200 years or so, was between ages 25 and 30. Today, the global average is 73 years old. It is 78 in the United States and 85 in Hong Kong.
“In the mid-18th century, 40 percent of children died before their 15th birthday in Sweden and 50 percent in Bavaria. That was not unusual. The average child mortality among hunter-gatherers was 49 percent. Today, global child mortality is 4 percent. It is 0.3 percent in the Nordic nations and Japan….
“With rising incomes came a massive reduction in absolute poverty, which fell from 90 percent in the early 19th century to 40 percent in 1980 to less than 10 percent today. As scholars from the Brookings Institution put it, “Poverty reduction of this magnitude is unparalleled in history.”
“Along with absolute poverty came hunger. Famines were once common, and the average food consumption in France did not reach 2,000 calories per person per day until the 1820s. Today, the global average is approaching 3,000 calories, and obesity is an increasing problem—even in sub-Saharan Africa….
“But the unprecedented prosperity that most people enjoy today isn’t the most remarkable aspect of modern life. That must be the gradual improvement in our treatment of one another and of the natural world around us—a fact that’s even more remarkable given that human nature is largely unchanging.
“Let’s start with the most obvious. Slavery can be traced back to Sumer, a Middle Eastern civilization that flourished between 4,500 BC and 1,900 BC. Over the succeeding 4,000 years, every civilization at one point or another practiced chattel slavery. Today, it is banned in every country on Earth….
“Strange though it may sound, given the Russian barbarism in Ukraine and Hamas’s in Israel, data suggests that humans are more peaceful than they used to be. Five hundred years ago, great powers were at war 100 percent of the time. Every springtime, armies moved, invaded the neighbor’s territory, and fought until wintertime. War was the norm. Today, it is peace. In fact, this year marks 70 years since the last war between great powers. No comparable period of peace exists in the historical record.
“Homicides are also down. At the time of Leonardo Da Vinci, some 73 out of every 100,000 Italians could expect to be murdered in their lifetimes. Today, it is less than one. Something similar has happened in Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Scandinavia, and many other places on Earth.
“Human sacrifice, cannibalism, eunuchs, harems, dueling, foot-binding, heretic and witch burning, public torture and executions, infanticide, freak shows and laughing at the insane, as Harvard University’s Steven Pinker has documented, are all gone or linger only in the worst of the planet’s backwaters….
“Overwhelming evidence from across the academic disciplines clearly shows that we are richer, live longer, are better fed, and are better educated. Most of all, evidence shows that we are more humane. My point, therefore, is a simple one: this is the best time to be alive.’
Full report at link above.
And this young soldier, Shahar Gabay, escaped several hours of running and being shot at by Hamas terrorists.
“Hamas massacre survivor answered call from dad to say final goodbyes as mass of terrorists closed in on him”.
“”I was terrified for my life … people all around me getting slaughtered and just a massacre,” Gabay said. “We actually ran for one-and-a-half kilometers of open field with nothing to protect us, with terrorists shooting all around and we had no sleep, no food, no water, no one to protect us, just miserably getting shot at. At this time, my dad called me. I told him I love him. I was panicked and I think he realized what was happening and realized that I’m saying my last good-bye.”
“Gabay says he intends to join the fight against terror as a soldier when he recovers from what he went through. He added that when he was a combat soldier, there were strict guidelines of how Israel Defense Force soldiers are expected to treat enemy soldiers and civilians.
“”I was always taught to be human first. If we did something that was even close to what they did, we would be [put] in prison, we would be judged the harshest way… People need to know the difference [between us and them]. Hamas is no army, no country. They are just terrorists without any heart,” he said.”
Other bits and pieces points and comments:
We are on safer ground in terms of preserving our own humanity if, when we are forced to use defensive force to stop those unleashing violent assault on innocents, we do so with a sense of regret, and a sadness for those that we must restrain by all means possible, sadness for their loss of humanity (I believe this was also suggested by the Chinese sage Laotzi).
Another sage offered this provoking comment, “There are no really bad people, just bad ideas that make people do bad things.”
Other insights that may help to make sense of the horrors that some people experience in life (some of this comes from scattered comments throughout Joseph Campbell’s writings, others from NDE accounts):
We exist in a temporary realm of dualism that is not our permanent home. Our real home is eternal love and oneness. But we come here to engage brief life stories and part of such stories is to experience and confront some monster, some evil, to struggle with that monster/evil, to respond to it, to learn lessons in our struggle with monsters/enemies. And one notable element in learning humane response is to learn to love an enemy, and thereby exhibit true heroic maturity or goodness.
As Campbell says of our tribal dualism battles- We are all playing roles as actors on God’s stage (temporary roles in good and evil conflicts in the here and now, in this realm of dualism), roles that are not continued in the ultimate oneness and love of the metaphysical reality beyond. This is not to make light in any way of the horror of evil here, and the necessity to fight evil.
“Love your enemy” is a fundamental human responsibility. It points to the true nature of authentic love.
Distinctions that matter, especially in the white heat of outrage after horrific offense has been committed. How do we love our enemy (maintain our humanity in the face of the worst of evil) while using defensive force to fight evil and restrain aggressively violent people?
Loving enemies is obviously not about feeling fuzzy, warm, or mushy toward vile offenders and its not about dogmatic pacifism either (i.e. “turn the other cheek”). What then is love of enemy? One suggestion urges agape-like love as in the “intention” to always act humanely, even toward criminals and prisoners of war, acting as human despite how we feel toward the vileness of the offending other.
Much like the Allies working to restore Germany and Japan into the community of nations after the atrocities of WW2 (and yes, holding war criminals responsible, just as Nelson Mandela held Apartheid oppressors responsible in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission).
Further, Chinese sage Laotzi cautioned that after defeating your enemy, do not engage in humiliating triumphalism but seek restoration with your enemy.
This re Prime minister Netanyahu commenting on Israel at war, “What will Netanyahu’s legacy be?” by Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 14, 2023
This from the link:
“Exactly two weeks ago, a period that now feels like an eternity, Jews everywhere gathered in synagogues to celebrate Shabbat and Sukkot and read those most memorable words from the Book of Ecclesiastes: “Everything has its season, there is a time for every experience under heaven…. A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace.”
“National Unity Party head Benny Gantz quoted those words in his remarks to the country Wednesday night, declaring that he was joining an emergency government.
““There is a time for war, and a time for peace,” he said. “Now is the time for war.”
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, said, “At this time we are all soldiers of the State of Israel… This is the time to come together and win. This is not the time for difficult questions; it is the time for crushing responses on the battlefield. There will be a time of reckoning for the Simchat Torah massacre, a time for an accounting, a time for apportioning blame, a time for difficult questions, but not just yet.””
Careful, careful Bibi. It is always the right time for the number one priority in life- the responsibility to maintain our humanity, to live and act as human, and this primary responsibility is most especially critical to maintain during times of war, the ugliest of times, because we must always think of the long-term future after the outbreaks of insanity and inhumanity that is war. How we conduct war is critical to later restoring relationship with enemies when resentments, bitterness and hatreds must be resolved if we are to progress toward eventual peace. We must always consider how to move toward the better future that we all want. We cannot resign ourselves to the insanity and inhumanity of endless eye for eye cycles, endless hatred and murder. There is no human future in that.
I would urge that more than at other times, during war it is most critical to consciously raise the questions of what does it mean to be human, to act as human. These questions and concerns are most critical when we are living through the worst times of life. The main concern should not be just to “crush with the iron fist” but how to conduct war in the most humane manner possible. Doesn’t that sound contradictory, eh. But Israel has a history of trying to do just that- such as notifying civilians ahead of time to evacuate areas that will be bombed even though that lessons the advantage of surprise attacks.
Ultimately, Netanyahu is right that Hamas, zealously, blindly, and irrevocably committed to exterminating Jews, “must be destroyed”, if they cannot be safely arrested and imprisoned. You cannot reason or bargain with consciousness-deforming hatred that is committed to your extermination.
The downward spirals of eye for eye cycles…
As our world appears to descend at times, spiraling downward into more of the same old cycles of “eye for eye” tribal hatred, moderates on all sides need to be courageous in stepping forward to apply the brakes to the descending spirals and bring us all back to the basic things that in times of peace we can cooperate on, back to peaceful coexistence in liberal democracy where we disagree on many things but all agree to use democratic processes to make public decisions on policies that impact us. And on most other issues that we differ on, we protect individual rights and freedoms, individual self-determination, and the free choices of all as equals.
Despite the evil that some commit, the fundamental fact remains that we are still one human family and we all share the one most basic responsibility- to love one another no matter how vile some become. Even when offenders have to be stopped with force, or captured and imprisoned where possible, they are still family and we are responsible to treat them humanely.
And always in the mix, remember the news media’s obsessive compulsive addiction to magnifying extremist voices, creating the distortion that all is going to hell in a handbasket (Sociologist David Altheide’s good research in “Creating Fear: News and the construction of crisis”). Media hysteria often exacerbates the sense of potential chaos and looming apocalypse which does nothing to calm populations. They have honed their skills well in the climate apocalyptic crusade.
We counter media distortion by remembering the larger background evidence- i.e. the big picture evidence that humanity has actually become less violent across history (see Humanprogress.org report above). So hold on to that perspective on the big picture and the long term trends that affirm it. It affirms a very different picture from the apocalyptic hysteria that media commonly present in response to events/episodes in life.
There is lots of good evidence to keep hope alive. Apocalyptic hysteria and exaggeration always distort reality and life.
Further, be aware of the element of “presentism” that also distorts reality. Presentism is the sense or belief that the events of our time are the worst ever because we are experiencing them firsthand. Placing things within the larger historical context can bring them back into proper focus as to scale and severity compared to similar events across history.
And more on that “spiritual” insight to help counter despair over the perception of absent deity:
There is no intervening deity existing in heaven above (“sky god”) that will descend into our material realm to stop evil and promote good. God has always been immediately present, inseparable from the human spirit, and is evident in all human raging against evil, present in all action to prevent evil and promote good in life. This immediately present and unmediated God is seen in the most mundane and ordinary actions of people in their daily lives, people trying to do the right thing, the good thing, trying to love others.
As the Hindus say (rough paraphrase), “We are that”. Atman (human self) is Brahman (deity). This is not affirming pantheism but recognizing that we, as the eyes, hands, feet of an invisible God, act to express God in life. Point? God is never absent during horrific outbreaks of human evil. Not even during the Holocaust. See comment on Jewish “Protest Theology” below.
This comment from further below re site project: How to end violence for the long-term future. This is not to downplay or dismiss the requirement to end violence in the immediate present, to protect the innocent by whatever means necessary.
Until you confront and change the fundamental ideas in human narratives that fuel the endless historical eruptions of violence, notably, some of the basic themes of religious narratives, you will not fully and thoroughly solve the problem of endless cycles of eye for eye violence between opposing groups of people.
“Cruel God” themes are often notably prominent inciting/validating factors at the heart of conflicts (deity beliefs long serving as humanity’s highest guiding ideal and authority). Cruel God myths have long incited the worst inherited impulses of people to dehumanize and destroy differing others, inciting the “evil triad” of impulses to (1) tribalism (validated by cosmic dualism myths of good versus evil- true religions versus false, true believers versus unbelievers), (2) domination (validated by myths of human subservience to authorities both divine and human), and (3) punitive destruction (divine demands to purge and eliminate “heretics/infidels/unbelievers”).
The “secularization” of primitive mythology in contemporary ideologies (e.g. “The Idea of Decline in Western History”, Arthur Herman) has not lessened the impact of such themes in the modern era.
Also, new comment below on the real battle of good versus evil, Jewish Protest Theology, maintaining our humanity in our response to evil (maintaining universal human rights standards), and the inexcusable Western defense of Hamas savagery (Douglas Murray- “Genocidists are now in plain view”), and more climate updates.
Joseph Campbell’s advice: “For love is exactly as strong as life. And when life produces what the intellect names evil, we may enter into righteous battle, contending ‘from loyalty of heart’: however, if the principle of love (Christ’s “Love your enemies”) is lost thereby, our humanity too will be lost. ‘Man’, in the words of the American novelist Hawthorne, ‘must not disclaim his brotherhood even with the guiltiest’” (Myths To Live By).
This from Sabrina Maddeaux (National Post), Oct. 10, 2023, “Don’t look away from the true horrors of what Hamas did in Israel: Ensuring it never happens again can only begin with knowing what, in fact, happened”.
The citizens of Gaza must also be shown the horror’s that have been committed by their Hamas militants- the beheaded babies, raped young women, burned bodies of other innocents, and more. Is that what they really want done to their “enemies” in Israel? Do the Hamas fighters tell them what they are doing to innocent civilians? Would average Gaza residents, if made fully aware, still approve of such savagery as legitimate to fulfilling their own quest for a better life?
Note this comment from an Israeli that support for Palestinians is something very different from Hamas…
And this on the muddled thinking (by “academics” who we often assume ought to know better, able to think more clearly) that cannot make basic distinctions between good and evil, between legitimate concerns and vile behavior that cannot be defended on any reasonable basis.
If the Palestinians in Gaza knew something of the evil that their fighters have recently committed, would they perhaps find space for just a little understanding that the Israelis have no choice now but to go after Hamas to end their terror. And if the Hamas terrorists cannot be captured alive, in a manner safe for the pursuing soldiers, then they must be eliminated by any means in order to stop such savagery from ever recurring again.
And as we now become aware of the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza, we must also press the Israelis to exercise the utmost care to not harm civilians, to continue their practise of warning occupants of areas, before bombing, that their area will be bombed soon so evacuate, a decent approach that the Israeli military has consistently used in the past.
On making basic distinctions between legitimate concerns and indefensible savagery: Note that the Palestinian doctor being interviewed in the link below refuses to answer the interviewer’s question of How can he justify Saturday’s savagery? Instead, the doctor keeps referring to past history, past Palestinian suffering, as justification for Saturday’s carnage. He refuses to acknowledge any distinction between valid protest and defense as opposed to inexcusable evil. We are never justified in resorting to inhumanity to promote any cause. That justifying of barbaric retaliation, dismissing it as justly deserved payback for previous Palestinian suffering, is a main reason why this horror and misery never ends.
My challenge to the doctor would be that we are always obligated to maintain our own humanity, even in the worst situations that we endure in life. My comments on these issues are about how the precept to love enemies helps us to do this.
And where in the history of Palestinian suffering do you have evidence of Israeli soldiers murdering hundreds of innocents at dance parties, gang-raping women, beheading and burning civilians, and more? It hasn’t happened.
In the wider history of that region, both sides need to confront this general validation of ongoing retaliation by focusing on their past suffering. It only fuels endless eye for eye cycles. Where is the forgiveness that liberates all from vengeance and breaks the cycles of suffering? Where is the courage to initiate such liberation by forgiving? This is an appeal to the more moderate people on both sides.
But in this present situation… Groups like Hamas do not respond to displays of humanity from the other side. They are committed to a death cult that has one goal- forcibly removing all Jews from the Palestine region. Extermination of the “enemy”. They have to be stopped by any means possible.
“IDF reservist offers harrowing description of ‘slaughters and massacres’ of Israeli civilians”, by Jesse Zanger, Oct. 13, 2023
IDF soldier Rudy Rochman makes these important distinctions and clarifications that many Western intellectuals and other supporters of Hamas are unable to make. Some supporters of Israel, in the heat of righteous outrage, are also carelessly clouding important differences. This soldier has personally seen the horror, the hell, and yet he makes careful distinctions between things that matter in the wake of a exceptionally vile massacre. This contrasts with, for example, Republican Lindsay Graham’s careless statement re Gaza, to “Level the place”.
“”We’re prepared as soldiers to fight in war, but no one could’ve been prepared to see the slaughters and massacres that we witnessed in these places. Men, women, and children. I mean, it’s not a battlefield where soldiers fought soldiers. It’s villages. It’s communities. It’s playgrounds. It’s nurseries. They just went in and destroyed everyone,” Rochman said.
“”And I think I need to make it very clear to everyone that this is not a war between Jews and Palestinians and Arabs and Muslims. This is a war between Hamas and human civilians that live in the land of Israel. And their goal is to push a narrative for populations to be polarized. And even though we’re in a war now we’re going to fight, we’re going to win, we need to understand that the human beings on the ground are not the ones at war. It’s those that are profiting from this war, which includes Hamas.””
“Love of enemy” tested by the worst eruptions of evil… Wendell Krossa
I continue to wrestle with these things because they involve the most important issues in our lives, the most critical factors in the human quest for meaning. Life traumatizes us sometimes with hellish events, when we are confronted with evil and our humanity is severely tested in terms of how we respond to such evil. The current conflict in Israel is one of the situations that pushes us to confront in the most naked manner what we are as human persons, what we want to become, and how do we continue the progress toward a more human future. These severest of tests in life are where our responses speak so fundamentally to what it means to be human.
Let’s see if we can wind our way through the thicket of balancing concerns that such eruptions force us to confront…
Note this from Michael Shellenberger on balancing the concerns of both sides…
The temple priestess in the movie “Troy” asks Achilles- “When will it all end (the endless cycles of retaliatory violence and killing)?”
Varied commentators have rightly noted that there is no “moral equivalence” regarding the latest outbreak of violence in Israel. The attack from Hamas and the Israeli response is about “civilization (a liberal democracy) versus the barbaric savagery” of ISIS-like terrorists that do not represent the legitimate concerns of the larger Palestinian population. And there is no bargaining with groups like Hamas that are irreconcilably committed to the destruction of Israel.
Hamas is possessed by a “Cruel God theology” (see Ellens/Lotufo comments below), and you cannot reason with the religiously-inspired hate and barbarism of such groups. They exhibit irrational psychopathology beyond all possible rationalizing and are zealously committed to violence against others (infidels) who are already damned to hell according to their intensely tribal worldview (and again, winding through the thicket with necessary distinctions- terrorist groups like Hamas do not represent the larger religion of moderate Islam). As Bob Brinsmead notes- People believing that God has damned their enemies to Hell have often been willing to engage violence to help God in sending those people to hell.
Further, you cannot sit down and discuss issues of peaceful co-existence with the hate-darkened minds of the people in these terrorist groups. You have only one recourse- defense that, if it cannot safely capture, restrain, and incarcerate the attackers, must then eliminate them with force. Such are the necessary ”tough love” responses required to protect others. Again, for balance, Hamas does not represent the people of Gaza or their otherwise legitimate calls for self-governing independence.
Varied writers on the anti-semitism of Islamic terrorists have noted that while most non-Muslims are dehumanized and devalued by Islamic extremists as part of the general category of “infidels”, Islamic extremists view Jews as deserving a particularly intense hatred for being a “satanic” enemy. In the view of such terrorists, Jews have a “demonic” element to their character that places them further over on the scale of dehumanized “evil enemy” that is deserving of elimination.
Such are the narrative themes that are beaten into the minds of young Mid-Eastern people that then deform their consciousness with intense hatred of differing others and incite their emotions to engage crusades to destroy their enemies, even to embrace self-immolation in order to carry out such destruction (i.e. suicide bombings validated with promises of paradise for martyrs).
And a necessary caution in the mix: All sides need to be careful of the dehumanizing terms now being used to describe their opponents- i.e. notably the repeated description of opponents as “animals”. Dehumanizing others is the first step toward validating cruelty toward them. Dehumanizing others unleashes dangerous emotions and motivations that take us across lines we should never cross as human beings. Dehumanizing of differing others removes the constraints that help us maintain our own humanity in the face of evil. As in Rwanda and other places, if your opponents are “vermin… cockroaches… disease” then you have legitimised your crusade to exterminate them as a righteous battle to “save” something good, as justified protection. Careful, careful.
Just an insert on the fascinating research of Joseph Azzi, presented in his book “The Priest and the Prophet”. Azzi presents historical information revealing that Islam is basically the offspring of Jewish Christianity, notably Ebionite Christianity. Islam shares the same basic beliefs of Judaism and Christianity because Waraqa, the Ebionite priest who was Muhammad’s spiritual mentor, used the gospel to the Hebrews (an early version of Matthew’s gospel) to shape Muhammad’s theology. This information evokes the question of why then such hatred between these religions, such animosity and fighting when they are all versions of the same basic beliefs?
When hell and horror erupt in life, and in the immediate aftermath of such horror as today in Israel, we intuitively and with intense emotion retreat to our tribal positions, especially when those we may favor are attacked and suffer such horror (i.e. “favoring” Israel as in affirming a liberal democracy that stands for more humane treatment of all, in contrast with surrounding countries that devalue women’s rights and murder minorities like gays).
And heated outrage is the humane response to the horrific failure of humanity and violence of the attackers that recently flooded into Israel. Intense disgust and revulsion are the truly human responses to such barbarity. Words do not describe the hell that they unleashed on innocents. The individual stories coming from this past weekend turn our stomachs.
The age-old precept to “Love your enemy” seems so archaically, even offensively, out of touch in the face of the barbaric evil that we have all seen. Maybe a better replacement precept would be “be sure to maintain your own humanity” in the face of such evil. As always, I include the necessary qualifier that love your enemy is never about feeling mushy, warm, or pacifist toward people who commit such atrocities toward innocent others.
But even when organizing and executing unquestionably “just” defensive responses against such psychopathic violence, we have to maintain our intention to respond carefully so that we do not dehumanize ourselves by behaving in ways that move us down along the spectrum toward the carelessly destructive behavior of our attackers. The lust for vengeance often clouds the mind in regard to these issues.
No sane person questions all legitimate and necessary defense against violence. But we do well to remember that in the aftermath of 9/11, with the justifiably heated emotions following that horror, that unfortunately many people were roused to support the invasion of Iraq that resulted in some estimated 1 million civilian deaths over subsequent years (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-deaths-survey-idUSL3048857920080130 ). Others at that time were cautioning that there was no evidence to support the more hysterical and fraudulent claims of nuclear threat from Iraq (i.e. Weapons of Mass Destruction).
So also, fueled by claims of righteous war to protect freedom against “Communist” threat, the US expanded its intervention in Vietnam over the late 1950s/early 1960s, intensifying a conflict that resulted in some 1-3 million civilian deaths and horrors like Mai Lai. Who can forget the young soldier, in a decades-later follow-up documentary on PSTD, sitting in front of his living room coffee table and motioning toward the dozens of bottles of pills that treated his mental/emotional condition (he looked wasted, zombie-like under the influence of all those meds). He offered the apologetic explanation (more confession), “We did such horrible things over there”.
History is awash with examples of vengeance inciting people to retaliate against enemies and resulting in horrific outcomes, outcomes that then dehumanize those taking revenge. Another example: The Russians suffered stunning casualties from the Nazi invasion in WW2 (the war on the Eastern front). And then fired with soul-deforming vengeance, Russian soldiers executed horror in mass-raping German women and girls during their subsequent invasion of Germany to defeat the Nazis. Reports state that American and British soldiers also committed similar rapes on German women as they crossed Germany from the West, though at lesser scale.
We are all fundamentally responsible to maintain our own humanity in the face of whatever horror life throws at us. We are obligated to respond as human. There is never a justifiable excuse to give way to inhumanity and brutality toward our fellow humans. Never.
Also, in the heat and fog of another outbreak of war, and consumed with disgust at the savagery of Hamas toward civilians, it is all too easy to ignore or downplay the stories of innocents on the other side of the conflict, like the mother in Gaza who, while taking cover in a building, was bombed and her three children killed. Innocents on both sides suffer the most from these too often quickly spiralling out-of-control “eye for eye” vengeance cycles.
Further on the innocents who suffer on all sides…
I think also of Simon Wiesenthal’s account (“Justice, Not Vengeance”) of cautioning another Holocaust survivor who was planning vengeance against the Nazi who had killed his son at the entrance to one of the Nazi extermination camps. The man’s son, only 15 years old, had been separated from his father by Nazi camp guards. Frightened, the boy ran back to his father and was then shot and killed by a camp guard right in front of the father.
The Jewish man then showed Wiesenthal a knife hidden under his coat and shared his plan to kill the SS soldier in the courtroom the next day during his trial. Wiesenthal argued the man out of his plan, stating, “Let’s not become like the Nazis”. Let’s seek justice, but not vengeance. As Wiesenthal recounted, that did not turn out well as the Austrian judges were Nazi sympathizers and acquitted the SS man the next day. The Jewish man later angrily remonstrated with Wiesenthal for talking him out of his vengeance plot.
There are lines that protect our humanity, lines we should never cross, that are often blurred under the eruptions of adrenaline and outraged emotion that is the natural human response to savagery. All of us should find guideline things to include in our personal narratives that will help us respond carefully should we ever face savagery, guiding ideas/principles that will ensure that we maintain our humanity in the face of evil, especially if we are pushed to use defensive force in order to stop insanity.
Again, the temple priestess- “When will it all end?”
And this from Tyler Dawson, Oct.9, 2023, “Canadian died a ‘hero’ amid music festival massacre”
“Vivian Silver, a Winnipeg-born peace activist, is believed to be among those held hostage…
“Silver, 74, was born in Winnipeg but immigrated to Israel in 1974. She, along with her late husband and two children, settled in Kibbutz Be’eri, which is located less than five kilometres from the eastern border with Gaza…
“She has a million friends. There’s just a huge network of people who love her,” Mitchell said. “It’s just a factor of wherever she’s gone in her life, she’s spread this sense of community and love and humanity.”
Silver is a long-time peace activist, and was the director of the Arab Jewish Center For Empowerment, Equality, and Cooperation. It organized projects connecting communities within Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. She also helped found Women Wage Peace, a grassroots peace movement dedicated to connecting women activists on all sides and across the political spectrum to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
“The paradigm that we’ve been living under for all these years is that only war will bring us peace, and that has been proven false time and time again,” Silver told Forbes in 2021. “We can’t put up with this anymore. We can’t be sacrificing our families for no purpose because there is no purpose to this.
“We made peace with Jordan, and we made peace with Egypt when Israelis didn’t think it would happen. And the same thing can happen with Palestine. And that’s what I expect, and that’s what I’m working for. That’s what I’m putting my life on the line for.”
Added note: Bob Brinsmead quotes Joseph Campbell commenting on Old Testament theology- “We (in the Western tradition) have been bred to brutal mythology of war”.
Continuing with the historical precept that more than any other points the way to authentic liberation from our worst impulses and to the heights of authentic human existence, to the highest expression of love. “Love your enemy because God does”- 6 words that point to a potent approach to transform life and the world. Its about our progress over the long-term toward that better future that we all want, free of the horrors of war, violence, and consequent human suffering. Wendell Krossa
Nothing more radically overturns all past theology, transforming the ideal of God that has been the cohering center of human narratives and worldviews across history. Theology (human theories about God) is about the ultimate ideal and authority of humanity- deity. Views of deity (or creating forces/fields/entities) continue today as humanity’s ultimate ideals and authorities, whether in religious or “secular” versions (i.e. theories of originating or creating realities like “multi-verse, quantum fields, Self-Organizing Principle, or Gaia, Mother Earth, Universe”, etc.).
Love your enemy transforms theology entirely and most critically it fully “humanizes” human understanding and outlook. It potently contradicts the “Cruel God” theologies that have so horrifically deformed human consciousness and personality across history and led to endless inciting of violence against others. A God that solves problems with violence has always incited and validated people to similarly use violence to solve their problems with differing others.
Insert: Comments by psychologists/theologians Harold Ellens and Zenon Lotufo:
My point here- Until you confront and change the fundamental ideas in human narratives that fuel the endless historical eruptions of violence, notably the basic themes of religious narratives, you will not fully and thoroughly solve the problem of endless cycles of violence between opposing groups of people. This is about the long-term future…
Psychologist Harold Ellens and psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo did some important work on the influence of bad religious ideas on human personality and society. Again, my point here is that the fundamental themes of primitive mythologies have not faded from human narratives and consciousness today but continue in the great world religions and have also been given new embodiment in so-called “secular/ideological” versions as in the climate alarmism crusade. The old themes still impact our consciousness, lives, and societies.
Here are the comments from psychotherapist/theologian Zenon Lotufo (quoting psychologist/theologian Harold Ellens) on how images/beliefs, notably images of ultimate reality and ideals, like deity, how such images influence human consciousness, emotion, motivation, and response/behavior in daily life. Both men affiliated with the Christian tradition. Ellens was a US Army chaplain. In their work there was no throwing stones from without.
Quotes from Lotufo’s book “Cruel God, Kind God”
The Introduction states that, among others, “(Lotufo) explores the interface of psychology, religion, and spirituality at the operational level of daily human experience… (this is of the) highest urgency today when religious motivation seems to be playing an increasing role, constructively and destructively, in the arena of social ethics, national politics, and world affairs…”
My insert: The destructive outcomes of “religious motivation” are notable also in terms of the “profoundly religious” climate alarmism crusade and its destructive “salvation” scheme of Net Zero decarbonization (“save the world”), as evident in the spreading harm, from Net Zero and renewables zealotry, in societies like Germany, Britain, and California. Climate alarmism exhibits the same old themes and destructive outcomes of all past apocalyptic crusades.
Lotufo then notes “the pathological nature of mainstream orthodox theology and popular religious ideation”.
He says, “One type of religiosity is entirely built around the assumption or basic belief, and correspondent fear, that God is cruel or even sadistic… The associated metaphors to this image are ‘monarch’ and ‘judge’. Its distinctive doctrine is ‘penal satisfaction’. I call it ‘Cruel God Christianity’… Its consequences are fear, guilt, shame, and impoverished personalities. All these things are fully coherent with and dependent on a cruel and vengeful God image…
“(This image results) in the inhibition of the full development of personality… The doctrine of penal satisfaction implies an image of God as wrathful and vengeful, resulting in exposing God’s followers to guilt, shame, and resentment… These ideas permeate Western culture and inevitably influence those who live in this culture…
“Beliefs do exert much more influence over our lives than simple ideas… ideas can also, in the psychological sphere, generate ‘dynamis’, or mobilize energy… (they) may result, for instance, in fanaticism and violence, or… may also produce anxiety and inhibitions that hinder the full manifestation of the capacities of a person…
“The image of God can be seen as a basic belief or scheme, and as such it is never questioned…
“Basic cultural beliefs are so important, especially in a dominant widespread culture, because they have the same properties as individual basic beliefs, that is, they are not perceived as questionable. The reader may object that “God”, considered a basic belief in our culture, is rejected or questioned by a large number of people today. Yet the fact is that the idea of God that those people reject is almost never questioned. In other words, their critique assumes there is no alternative way of conceiving God except the one that they perceive through the lens of their culture. So, taking into account the kind of image of God that prevails in Western culture- a ‘monster God’… such rejection is understandable…
“There is in Western culture a psychological archetype, a metaphor that has to do with the image of a violent and wrathful God. Crystallized in Anselm’s juridical atonement theory, this image represents God sufficiently disturbed by the sinfulness of humanity that God had only two options: destroy us or substitute a sacrifice to pay for our sins. He did the latter. He killed Christ.
“Ellens goes on by stating that the crucifixion, a hugely violent act of infanticide or child sacrifice, has been disguised by Christian conservative theologians as a ‘remarkable act of grace’. Such a metaphor of an angry God, who cannot forgive unless appeased by a bloody sacrifice, has been ‘right at the center of the Master Story of the Western world for the last 2,000 years. And the unavoidable consequence for the human mind is a strong tendency to use violence’.
“’With that kind of metaphor at our center, and associated with the essential behavior of God, how could we possibly hold, in the deep structure of our unconscious motivations, any other notion of ultimate solutions to ultimate questions or crises than violence- human solutions that are equivalent to God’s kind of violence’…
“Hence, in our culture we have a powerful element that impels us to violence, a Cruel God Image… that also contributes to guilt, shame, and the impoverishment of personality…”.
As Harold Ellens says, “If your God uses force, then so may you, to get your way against your ‘enemies’”.
(End of Ellens, Lotufo quotes.)
“We become just like the God that we believe in”, Bob Brinsmead.
Continuing with the single most potent counter to eye for eye cycles of violence…
Love your enemy takes our highest ideal- love- to its ultimate reach and its real meaning as an “unconditional” reality. This new core ideal then reverberates out to transform human emotions, motivations, and responses/behavior. Love your enemy ends the “deformation of personality and society” that has long resulted from threat theologies, with their “monster gods” that have long incited and validated monstrous human behavior toward others (again, Zenon Lotufo in “Cruel God, Kind God”).
Love your enemy then points us to the better answers to the great questions of human meaning- Why do we exist? What is the purpose/goal of our existence on this planet? Love your enemy points us to the real nature of the quest to become fully and truly human- i.e. to discover what it means to be human and that is a quest to learn and exhibit unconditional love toward all.
Further, love your enemy is profound liberation from the worst features of past belief systems and the horrific behaviors that such systems incited and validated.
Aftermath of Hamas attack
From Reuters Oct. 10, 2023, “Israel pounds Gaza with fiercest air strikes ever after shock Hamas attack”, Dan Williams, Nidal al-Mughrabi and Maayan Lubell
This quote from above report on how life can go from paradise to hell in an instant:
“The thing I want the most is to wake up from this nightmare,” said Elad Hakim, a survivor from a music festival where Hamas had killed 260 partygoers at dawn. “Everything was so amazing, the best party I’ve been to in my life, until it… from paradise to hell, in one second.”
More on Hamas, Wendell Krossa
Again, there can be no denying the reality of the evil that has been unleashed by Hamas, not downplaying in any manner the horrors of such savagery against innocent people. It deserves only utter condemnation. But then without contradicting that in any manner, we are still obligated to maintain caution in the use of legitimate force to end such eruptions of violence, caution that has to do with upholding our own humanity when adrenaline and emotions are running highest.
We are all horrified at the savagery being reported from Israel now. And then, though almost ignored, we see reports such as that of the mother in Gaza hiding with her three children in some building that was then bombed. She survived but her three children were killed. Civilians on both sides are suffering.
Fundamental to being human- We are always responsible to also maintain our own humanity in the face of the worst that life throws at us, and to maintain a grip on how, after resolving outbreaks of violence, our humanity obligates us to continue to move forward in further resolving conflict for the long-term future, to ensure more peaceful long-term co-existence. This applies to all sides in such conflicts.
Campbell’s caution to maintain our humanity when fighting righteous battles against evil, is a reminder that our “evil enemy” is still our brother in the one human family. This applies to everyone, even to those acting most vile.
All of us need to embrace the question that the temple priestess put to Achilles in the movie “Troy”- “When will it (the endless cycles of retaliatory violence and killing) all end?”
More on the project to confront the fundamental themes that incite the worst of human thought, emotion, motivation, and response/behavior. This has to do with background factors, foundational ideas in narratives, and thorough long-term solutions. Wendell Krossa
Point in this comment? How we break free of the endless cycles of eye for eye retaliation and violence, and move toward the better, more peaceful future that we all want.
Breaking free of cycles of violence requires some wholesale overhauling/reconstruction of complexes of affirming ideas that shape most human narratives- i.e. the re-evaluation of inherited narratives shaped by themes like the tribal mentality where people view themselves as actually different in some fundamental way from others, resulting in the common belief and affirmation of dualism worldviews that “our side is good, differing others are bad”. Consequent to such views, any assault against the good side is evil, and the retaliatory responses of the good guys are “righteous justice”, their wars are “just wars against evil”. Such tribal dualism thinking denies the oneness of the good guys with their “enemies”. This is especially critical to remember when the war is more obviously a “just war” against a clearly wrong attacker.
As Campbell stated:
“For love is exactly as strong as life. And when life produces what the intellect names evil, we may enter into righteous battle, contending ‘from loyalty of heart’: however, if the principle of love (Christ’s “Love your enemies”) is lost thereby, our humanity too will be lost. ‘Man’, in the words of the American novelist Hawthorne, ‘must not disclaim his brotherhood even with the guiltiest’” (Myths To Live By).
And yes, muddying the mix is the fact that some groups do aggress wrongly and defense is required to end such aggression (other recent historical examples include the defensive use of force against Nazis, also against the Marxists pushing inhumane and destructive collectivist approaches, and against contemporary religious terrorists, and so on). But then, we are obligated to return, after defeating such aggressors in war, to move forward again with reconciliation projects and approaches, not demonizing and humiliating the defeated other, but seeking to restore offenders and thereby break free of the endless historical cycles of payback violence. Examples of post- war restoration include Germany and Japan.
Otherwise, the option is just continuing the endless cycles of violence that are fed by persisting in traditional tribal mentality…
I am arguing here that it helps to reframe our narratives with basic insights like love your enemy as a central ideal for any system of meaning/belief, because even the enemy is family and we can affirm that with varied factors such as the fact of biological human oneness (the “mitochondrial eve” hypothesis). As well as on metaphysical reality such as the ultimate oneness that quantum mechanics points to. Spiritual traditions further affirm an ultimate oneness of all. This goes some way to ending the cosmic dualism mythology that has spawned, incited, and validated so much human tribalism across the millennia.
We should include all such useful insights available to us, to energize efforts to break retaliatory eye for eye cycles that have resulted in endless violence across history. Such cycles have long been re-enforced by ideas of tribal enmity (us as good, the differing other as evil enemy- based on myths of cosmic dualism- good versus evil). Additionally, eye for eye cycles are re-enforced by ideas of “righteous war against evil… of the hero’s quest to engage a battle to confront and slay a monster/enemy”, to save a maiden or something that is under dire threat from some purported evil. Threats incite the survival/salvation impulse, and the need to save one’s world and restore some good that has been lost (restore the lost original paradise)”, and so on.
Love your enemy encourages the rethinking of all such myths that have reenforced the endless cycles of violence across history- i.e. (1) the cosmic dualism myth that validates human dualisms and oppositions between groups of people (oppositions like ethnicity/race, religion, ideology, nationality, etc.), (2) the demand to engage righteous wars related to such dualisms, (3) deformation of the hero’s quest as a tribal war, (4) exaggeration of threat from differing others as in myths of apocalyptic threat that distorts the true state of the world and incites the human survival impulse, also (5) the impulse to restore some imagined lost paradise, to regain utopia.
Such are the many deforming, distorting ideas that contribute to cycles of violence and retaliation, even deforming “just wars” with excessive retaliatory violence.
A full complex of alternatives to the above pathologies… “Old Story Myths, New Story Alternatives”
Further comment on “love your enemy because God does”
What matters most in the human quest for meaning, for purpose? Wendell Krossa
My suggestion- Focus on “Love your enemy because God does”. This precept, and its related theological insight, offers liberation from our worst impulses as nothing else can, liberation at deepest levels of consciousness by transforming the fundamental themes of human narrative, even transforming archetypes. It shows us how we can achieve the ending of retaliatory cycles that have caused incalculable destruction and misery across history. It shows us how to attain the heights of human maturity and engage the real meaning/purpose of the hero’s quest to engage a battle against evil and slay a monster.
Love your enemy assists in the quest to conquer the evil monster and enemy that exists within each of us- the evil triad of tribalism, domination, and punitive destruction of differing others. It is the single most profound insight ever to transform thought, emotion, motivation, and response behavior and takes us toward more humane reality and outcomes. The most potent weapon to slay the evil triad above.
The superhuman levels of courage required to embrace non-retaliatory response as in “love your enemy”: Wendell Krossa
Non-retaliation takes levels of courage that few of us can even grasp. Like Nelson Mandela who said that he intentionally set aside his feelings of hatred when he left Robben Island prison after 27 years of incarceration, and purposed to work for an inclusive and peaceful society that included his former oppressors. Imagine the greatness of spirit to even employ your former prison guards as members of your security detail. It takes exceptional clarity on the issues involved, indomitable commitment, and unlimited generosity of spirit to exhibit such heroic levels of love, as most of us would struggle with the deeply embedded and widely embraced distortions that non-retaliation and unconditional treatment of offending others is about weakness, mushy pacifism, softness in the face of evil, disregard for conventional justice, etc. And Mandela had to struggle against the demand of millions of South Africans for revenge against their white oppressors. But he successfully overcame his earlier life violent responses to oppression.
Donald Trump, as another notable public example, could not think himself around conventional views of non-retaliatory response as exhibiting weakness in the face of attack. When a supporter asked him, during a townhall, to cease his nasty tweets, he replied, “If I did that, my enemies would laugh me off the stage”. He held the view that manly courage was to “hit back at your critics ten times as hard as they hit you”. He showed no appreciation of the fact that retaliation, especially when abandoning a focus on issues to engage ad hominem attack, renders us all petty and infantile, like little kids in the sandbox throwing sand back and forth. There is nothing of human greatness or courage in giving way to eye for eye retaliation. It is simply a gutless giving way to an inherited animal impulse that has wreaked endless damage and misery across history.
Love your enemy is the ultimate attainment of authentic humanity. It is the one response and practise that takes us to the very highest experience of being truly human. Again, Nelson Mandela offered a historically recent stellar example.
The gist of this ethic is easy to grasp- not buried in dense philosophical meandering. Love your enemy. Meaning, forgive, accept, include as family, treat as an equal- respecting the freedom and self-determination, respond to failure with restorative justice, not punitive, even when you have to restrain violence or defeat in war.
And love your enemy offers the highest insight into the true nature of God- as unconditional love. That feature alone liberates from millennia of threat theology that has deformed human consciousness and life with views of angry, retaliatory gods that mete out ultimate justice as punishment and destruction. Those pathological myths have generated millennia of unnecessary fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, despair, depression, nihilism, and violence (violence as people have always mimicked violence in God, using deity to validate their own worst impulses).
Again, (re the comment just below) balancing love your enemies (treat all humanely) with the qualifier that the most basic responsibility of love is to protect the innocent and restrain violent people. Love is never irresponsibly pacifist in the face of evil.
Compassion that causes harm, Wendell Krossa
The impulse to compassion coming from the Progressive left is admirable for its intention but too often ignores common sense and irresponsibly dismisses the more fundamental requirement of criminal justice to protect the innocent. That is the first and highest priority of any criminal justice system.
Varied commentators argue that Progressive polices toward criminals have been very much behind the surge in crime in US cities over the past years. Note for example, the “de-carceration” policies that let even repeat violent offenders go free, along with the “no cash bail” laws, among others. Any humane criminal justice system, while seeking to counter past abuses such as excessive incarceration of people even for non-violent offenses, must not then mindlessly and carelessly swing to some opposite extreme that does not differentiate among criminal offenders and responds to all with the same impractical consequences. Repeat violent people are responsible for most violent offenses and must be restrained to protect the public. And yes, also deserving of restorative justice approaches when incarcerated.
Note this, for example, on the complexities re the Canadian situation:
Why are we here? The insight that points most clearly and helpfully to the meaning and purpose of conscious human existence and the living of a unique life story. Wendell Krossa
I would put love your enemy up there as singularly critical to answering the big questions of the human quest for meaning. It is the single most helpful insight that gets to the root reason for human existence and life story. It points to the real purpose of the hero’s quest- i.e. to conquer a monster/enemy, meaning the monster inside each of us that is comprised of the animal inheritance of impulses to (1) tribal exclusion of differing others, (2) to domination of others, and to (3) punitive destruction of differing others, the “evil triad”. Love your enemy potently counters all three of these basic human pathologies.
Love of enemy rouses our human spirit to confront these base inherited impulses, to reject them, and then to turn and embrace the quest to achieve human maturity by (1) including all others as equals, by (2) respecting the freedom and self-determination of all others, and by (3) embracing restorative approaches to the failures of others.
Love of enemy is the potent weapon that enables us to conquer our real enemy, the “evil triad” monster inside each of us. That is the real battle of life between good and evil. The engagement and struggle with love your enemy is fundamental to the point of our existence here on this planet and our purpose for living out a unique life story. Love of enemy enables us to win the battle with our real enemy/monster and then tower in stature as maturely human, like a Nelson Mandela.
Don’t miss the input of the love your enemy insight in helping us get to the point of our lives, why we are here. Love your enemy is one of the most critical lessons that we are supposed to learn during our sojourn on Earth, among varied other things.
I would take Joseph Campbell further and suggest this is perhaps the key test of true humanity and the most fundamental lesson of human existence and life story. Fail this and what is the point of your life and all other achievements? Most people without question accept the irrefutable maxim that love is all. That love is the one thing that lasts forever after all else passes away. And what is love, really, if not love of enemy?
“If love is not unconditional (love of enemy) then it is not authentic love”, Bob Brinsmead.
Love of enemy is the one critical factor to maintaining our own humanity in the face of evil and the diverse offenses we all experience in our journeys through life. It acts as a potent defence against the urge to yield to eye for eye retaliatory responses that cause so much misery in life and prevent our common progress toward the better future that we all want, the more peaceful societies we all deserve. Each of us has a role to play in contributing to such a better world. It begins with our own inner battle against the evil impulses inside us all.
Love your enemy is not a burden or cross to bear. It is the most potent form of liberation ever offered. It tells us how to free ourselves from our worst inherited impulses that have long enslaved us with the worst of inhumanity, deforming our lives with ugliness- anger, hate, resentment, bitterness… all consciousness-darkening emotions.
Love of enemy grants us the most profound sense of being truly and fully human, freed from the defiling influence of our worst impulses.
And love your enemy takes the ultimate in human courage- to be the initiator in breaking an eye for eye cycle, to “take one on the chin” and refuse to hurt back for hurt caused. Even bearing shame, humiliation from others for “not being manly and standing up for oneself, for justice”.
But that feeling of doing the truly human thing is priceless. The sense of human maturity and achievement. All of us can experience this ultimate human achievement in the ordinary of daily life, in the most mundane experiences, for example, in traffic, minor human interactions in public places…
Some of my failures to “love your enemy” were in traffic… responding as enraged animal when cut off. Petty, huh? After feeling the rage in such ordinary situations, sometimes flipping the bird, screaming “fuck you” in my head, I would then tell myself that is not what I want to be as human. There is a higher plane of more human existence. Love your enemy gets us there. And it involves the embrace of unlimited forgiveness of other’s failures, including all as full equals, respecting the freedom and self-determining choices of others (non-dominating forms of relating), and engaging restorative, not punitive, responses to human failure.
The full context of Jesus’ “love your enemy” precept…
“Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you? Everyone finds it easy to love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Everyone can do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Most will lend to others, expecting to be repaid in full…
“But do something more heroic, more humane. (Live on a higher plane of human experience). Do not retaliate against your offenders/enemies with ‘eye for eye’ justice. Instead, love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then you will be just like God because God does not retaliate against God’s enemies. God does not mete out eye for eye justice. Instead, God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Be unconditionally loving, just as your God is unconditionally loving”. (My paraphrase of Luke 6:32-36 or Matthew 5:38-48.)
A guardrail role for unconditional love of enemy, Wendell Krossa
We all need to embrace precepts in our narratives and minds as guardrails, so that when some ugly impulse erupts inside us, in response to some nasty life experience, we have something that cautions us, warns us that we are entering a danger zone and need to slow down, pull back, reverse even. Maybe we have been cut off in traffic by someone in a hurry. Add the element of the person being another ethnicity, and then things can quickly veer into ugly territory in our thinking.
Martin Luther said that we are all susceptible to birds flying through our hair, meaning that all sorts of ideas will flit through our minds, even crazy ones, ugly ones, hateful ones. We cannot prevent these intruders, but we are responsible if we let them settle down in our heads and make nests, becoming something more permanent in our thinking. Then we are entering dangerous territory if we let nasty, ugly, inhumane things marinate, take root, and then stir emotions like anger, hatred, resentment, and bitterness that lead us to despise others.
Love your enemy should be built into our heads as a priority guardrail for our minds. I argue that love of enemy as an ultimate humane ideals is based on good evidence that we are all one, one family, responsible to care for one another, to forgive one another without limit, to include all equally, to respect the diversity of our human family, to honor the freedom and self-determination of all- i.e. the Classic Liberal stuff where common laws and state institutions exist to protect the equal rights and freedoms of all individuals. Meaning- no coercion, domination of others. Societies where people and their institutions exercise persuasion, reasoning, debate of differences… all the healthy procedures of liberal democracies.
All of us, at the most basic level of common human responsibility, are obligated to embrace all others as family, careful not to humiliate with pejorative smears, belittling, despising, slipping into ad hominem attack, sticking to substance of issues, avoiding personal, especially insults about physical body that cannot be changed. Unlike a major public figure who recently did this repeatedly to any critics. Clue as to whom? Orange was his favorite color. But, his critics then did the same in return, with spades more hysterical vengeance. Vilifying publicly. Where they were comedians, the comedy was ugly, hateful, spitting out vilification, trying to humiliate. Not funny at all.
Loving our enemies unconditionally is the one narrative feature- held as an ideal- that enables us to do the least harm and the most good in life. Marinate on it for a while, and then try it.
How practical is this in the face of assault by violent others? Wendell Krossa
There is no question that defensive response is required when those initiating some violent assault against others are driven by the features that shape narratives on all sides- i.e. the tribal mentality that views itself as on the side of some good, with a God that validates its status as the “true believers” (God’s chosen people) locked in cosmic opposition to some other as the evil enemy (the “satanic enemy… infidel that God hates and wants destroyed”).
Locked into such tribal self-identity, and denying human oneness (we are all members of the one human family), people then see violence as “justice and righteous war against evil”, and they embrace the hero’s quest to conquer and slay a monster/enemy as valid mainly for their side.
People with their minds shaped by such ideas, will then argue that their very survival demands attacking some differing other that they have convinced themselves as threatening their survival by its very existence. That their God demands righteous war against such an evil enemy. This very much defines the Israeli/Palestinian situation today.
And no one would question the need for defense against such religiously/ideologically incited attackers (i.e. war), especially when the attackers can not be reasoned with through normal channels of peaceful dialogue, diplomacy, etc. But then what about the future, and ongoing cycles of violence? As the temple priestess asks Achilles in Troy, “When does it end?”
How should we proceed after defeating our attackers? This is where love your enemy must be activated as the best way forward, or we just resign ourselves to endless eye for eye cycles.
Re previous comment on Piers Morgan interviewing Dana white who said that his greatest accomplishment was his kids, not business successes. Others have expressed similar sentiments on what really matters most:
And some more on the apocalyptic climate alarmism narrative:
There will be no catastrophe if and when we pass 1.5 degree C more warming- Barbara Moran, Oct. 3, 2023, “Many scientists don’t want to tell the truth about climate change. Here’s why”
Climate alarmism updates, Wendell Krossa
A note to those politicians, often on the conservative side, who still affirm the alarmism narrative on global warming, though cautioning the rush to Net Zero (i.e. arguing for a 2050 deadline instead of the more commonly accepted 2035 deadline), but still ultimately affirming that we must “do something to end human emissions of CO2”.
Some basic climate science facts from the best of climate scientists- Lindzen, Happer, putting up their research at CO2coalition.org and others posting reports at Wattsupwiththat.com
We don’t know how much humanity contributes to rising CO2 levels as CO2 levels rise and fall across history due to natural factors. CO2 levels have often been in the multiple-thousands of ppm with no exceptional warming and no climate crisis. All life flourished during such high levels of CO2. During other eras of high CO2 levels Earth was enduring ice ages. How to reconcile that disconnect of high CO2 and low temperatures?
We don’t know how much CO2 contributes to global warming as other natural factors play a more dominant role in climate change (Vinos reports). Also, the CO2 warming effect has reached “saturation” and much more CO2 (e.g. a doubling to 800 ppm) will contribute very little to any further possible warming.
And we don’t know how much more warming will occur as climate warms and cools and we are still in the coldest period of our interglacial, with cold killing 10 times more people every year than warming does. There is no climate emergency. The mild 1 degree of warming saves more lives every year from cold deaths than are lost to warming deaths.
For most of life it has been 3-6 degrees C warmer with no climate crisis and life flourishing in warming paradise world. Heat was conveyed from tropics to even out climate and warm the colder regions which benefitted all life with extended habitats. Most life prefers more warming and highest diversity of life is in warmer areas.
All to say, there is no sound scientific reason to tax carbon or decarbonize our societies. So why keep affirming the alarmism narrative and embracing the alarmism salvation scheme that is devastating societies with inflation and fuel poverty for the most vulnerable? Recognize the best science and base policy responses on that. There is no scientific case for decarbonization, not even on a more relaxed schedule.
Another note: The Western Progressive celebration of Hamas savagery is beyond comprehension for its ignorant and biased thoughtlessness, exposed now as just more anti-semitism hatred.
Whatever “maintaining your humanity in the face of evil” means (as per the precept “love your enemy”), it certainly affirms intense outrage at Hamas’ grotesque savagery, along with disgust at the Western leftist defense of that evil.
Love your enemy is never about feeling mushy or warm toward people who commit such atrocities toward innocent others. But even in the midst of executing defensive responses to violence we have to maintain the intention to respond carefully so as not to descend into the careless destruction committed by these offenders.
As unthinkable as it may be to those suffering the horrors of Hamas violence, with Campbell’s caution we have to remind ourselves that the offenders are still family ultimately and so, thinking long-term future, we must never give up on trying to resolve the root hatreds that feed such violence.
In the case of religious extremism that feeds such hatred and dehumanization of differing others we again see the primitive mythology behind this… the screams of “praise to God”. What kind of God would validate terror, rape, murder, beheading, kidnapping of children and elderly, and more.
The long-term project here is to counter such narratives (Monster gods advocating violence toward “infidels”) with better alternatives, much like Christianity found ways over past centuries to moderate its widespread tribal hatred and violence toward heretics and infidels (Crusades).
In the meantime, defensive force is the only option- the forceful restraint of those planning and carrying out violence.
We comfort our children when they are small and afraid that “There are no monsters”. But in fact, there are monsters…
This from Irish Times, Oct. 12, 2023, “Israel says no exception to Gaza siege unless hostages freed: Death toll in Israel rises to 1300 after weekend Hamas attack, as Red Cross says fuel for hospital generators in Gaza could run out in hours”.
This raises the concern that in the heat of righteous rage over savagery there is the danger of disregarding universal human rights standards and mistreating people in larger populations that are related to one’s enemies. We must hold to those universal rights standards in order to maintain our own humanity and show the world that, even in the face of the worst of evil, we can hold to something better than those who choose to abandon their humanity. Add here the necessary distinction that the civilian population of Gaza is very different from Hamas.
Quotes from above link…
“The International Committee of the Red Cross said fuel powering emergency generators at hospitals could run out within hours.
““The human misery caused by this escalation is abhorrent, and I implore the sides to reduce the suffering of civilians,” ICRC regional director Fabrizio Carboni said in a statement on Thursday.
““As Gaza loses power, hospitals lose power, putting newborns in incubators and elderly patients on oxygen at risk. Kidney dialysis stops, and X-rays can’t be taken. Without electricity, hospitals risk turning into morgues.”
“Israeli energy minister Israel Katz said there would be no exceptions to the siege without freedom for Israeli hostages.
““Humanitarian aid to Gaza? No electrical switch will be lifted, no water hydrant will be opened and no fuel truck will enter until the Israeli hostages are returned home. Humanitarian for humanitarian. And nobody should preach us morals,” Mr. Katz posted on social media platform X.”
But then those of us who are cautioning from the outside must also be careful of judging other’s responses to a complex situation that we know very little about. Here is some balancing comment on what Israel must do now and the probable cost to Gaza’s general population. War is ugly and messy.
“An existential evil: Israel’s battle is a war for civilization against barbarism”, Melanie Phillips, Oct. 11, 2023.
Added note on the real battle of good against evil:
In the heat and fog of fighting actual ‘monsters’ and enemies in life, the human ones, we do well to remember that the greatest monsters and enemies we face in life are inside each of us- our inherited impulses as in the evil triad of tribalism, domination, and punitive destruction. Add also the monstrous ideas in our narratives that we use to validate these base impulses.
We all embrace ideas in our personal worldviews to explain, affirm, and validate how we feel and act in life. This has always been essential to the human quest for meaning. And consequently, we are all responsible to ensure that the ideas we embrace are fully humane and will inspire the better angels of our nature, while helping us to restrain our darker impulses.
This interior battle with our “shadow” (Jung) is the real battle of life. As Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, the real battle between good and evil runs down the center of every human heart.
Note: As Israelis go out to justly destroy Hamas, they must maintain their humanity, and continue those decent practises of warning civilians in Gaza to evacuate areas that are about to be bombed. Also ensure that medical supplies, food, and water are provided to civilians to take care of their needs.
Some background points to understand the horror in the present…
Events like the eruption of savagery in Israel incline me to Jewish “Protest Theology” which demands that God be held in judgment for his absence during the Holocaust. I understand that in Protest Theology, Jews are holding to an archaic view of deity as some great Spirit that they believe has intervened across past history to bless the righteous and curse the wicked. To uphold conventional justice.
But no such God has ever existed. Even their own prophets and ancient heroes in the Old Testament acknowledged problems with that theology. David wondered why the righteous suffered while the wicked prospered. Job’s “comforters” made him miserable by claiming that his suffering was due to his own sin. Job protested but was not able to properly answer them, resigned to conclude that life’s injustices were shrouded in “mystery”.
I hold the view that what humanity has long understood as deity or God is a reality that has incarnated in all humanity as something inseparable from the human spirit, the humane consciousness in us which inclines us toward truly human thought and behavior. The inner “conscience” that influences us by “gentle persuasion”, the “still small voice” that urges us to do the right thing, the human thing.
Conclusion? God is never absent in the midst of evil but is that Presence inside us which feels revulsion at inhumanity, is outraged, and then cries and struggles/fights for the restoration of human decency in life. God is intensely present and involved in that which urges us to act to protect the innocent, to stop the violent, and to keeps the trajectory of gradual progress toward a better future going. As some have stated- We are the eyes, hands, and feet of an invisible God in this world. Its up to us to prevent evil and to protect and promote good in life.
I also hold the optimist view of the big picture and long-term trends which affirm that humanity has become something better across the millennia (James Payne- “History of Force”). And I explain evil as the consequence of authentic Divine love permitting authentic freedom of choice in humanity. While most will choose for good, some choose for evil and that is often due to people holding bad ideas that incite and validate bad behavior.
Such freedom of choice between good and evil is frightening but is essential to achieve the desired outcome of genuine moral goodness. Meaning, that without genuine freedom of choice, moral good is meaningless. It cannot exist. It is the contrast with evil that gives moral good any meaning.
Even with our overall long-term progress, there is still the possibility for horrific eruptions of evil and suffering in life.
And to those suffering the horror of lost loved ones… One alleviating factor in the face of such eruptions is that the best love is yet to come- meaning, the inexpressible unconditional love that awaits all beyond the transition through death. Death can then be viewed as a liberation from the hell and horror of this world. “Pie in the sky by and by”? “Whatever gets you through your life, its all right”, John Lennon. We all find insights to help us cope with the horrors that we experience in this world.
Note this insightful comment on the inexcusable defense of Hamas savagery by Western so-called “intellectuals”, masking their anti-semitism and hatred of Jews behind the claim to be defending “human rights”.
“Noah Lew: Those who celebrate unspeakable horrors committed against Israelis must be held accountable: Many prominent Canadians have failed to condemn, or remained indifferent to the atrocities”, National Post, Oct. 11, 2023
“Canadian political and civil society leaders have been largely united in their steadfast condemnation of these atrocities.
“… there have also been many prominent voices — politicians on the far-left and far-right, international human rights organizations, academics and pro-Palestinian civil society groups — who have failed to condemn or remained indifferent to the atrocities. Indeed, many of them have gone so far as to blame the victims for the brutalities inflicted upon them, or even more appallingly, applaud and celebrate these horrific acts.
“It is hard to see the responses to these crimes against humanity as anything other than a litmus test: Who among us are willing to justify, and even celebrate, the most violent and depraved acts imaginable? Who among us believe that civilians should be methodically and systematically slaughtered in the name of human rights?…
“For Jews, the willingness by those who describe themselves as “human rights activists” to justify and legitimize unimaginable violence when it’s committed against Jews unfortunately comes as no surprise. As is now becoming apparent to many, there is a unique double-standard that is consistently applied to Israel and to Jews.
“Underpinning this remarkable cognitive dissonance — wherein those who profess to fight for human rights, freedom and equality attempt to justify heinous crimes against humanity…
“… antisemitism is consistently laundered by the United Nations and various human rights organizations, who couch their hatred in the language of human rights….
“They embody the mainstreaming of antisemitism, in that they believe the open celebration of the mass murder of Jews — hidden beneath the subtext of false euphemisms such as “settler” or “colonizer” — is socially acceptable.
“They embody the marginalization of antisemitism in the broader anti-racism struggle, in that they profess to be anti-racists and social-justice advocates, while propagating racist hate. And finally, they spout antisemitic rhetoric under the protective cover of human rights, thus providing legitimacy to others to similarly engage in it….
“Ultimately, those who laud terrorist organizations such as Hamas do a disservice — as Prof. Cotler has consistently warned — to Israelis, to Palestinians and to the peace process. They bear responsibility for Hamas’ heinous crimes against Israelis, and they also bear responsibility for the suffering of innocent Palestinians as a result of Israel’s response. If we truly seek to pursue peaceful coexistence — both in the Middle East and at home in Canada — we must hold those who promote hate, violence and extremism accountable.”
“Noah Lew is special advisor to Irwin Cotler and a director of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights.”
And this interview of Douglas Murray- “Genocidists are all in plain view”, Murray on the people throughout the West who are celebrating the Hamas massacre:
And where in the history of war do we find such expressions of human decency when a country is forced to take defensive action against violent attackers? The enemies of Israel would never show the same decency.
And this from David Whitehouse of Net Zero Watch, the newsletter of the Global Warming Forum, Oct. 11, 2023, “Climate ‘out of control’? A reality check”
“It’s a state of affairs that has caused much confusion among climate scientists and commentators (often the same thing) many of whom attribute the sudden spike to climate change – but in doing so end up being rather muddled and contradictory. But is there anything really ‘out of control’? Is this abrupt climate change? Perhaps a transition, the crossing of a threshold?
“There are some who look towards climate computer models for an explanation, saying that what we have seen over the past few months is in line with expected warming but at the upper end of the scale. This is highly unlikely because the events of a few months, especially during a strong El Niño year when there is so much variability going on, are not a climate change event, even though Zeke Hausfatherhas said that 2023 has been unusual for the climate. Actually if you view what has happened in terms of climate models it is a clear failure because none predicted the spike – once again showing their inadequacy.
“In short, it’s not climate change because – as reputable climate scientists rightly emphasise – a sudden temperature spike or drop in a single year (or even in a number years) can and does happen quite frequently, although this year is a particularly unusual spike. Nevertheless, this sudden rise in temperature is on a far too short period to be driven by global warming which is a long-term trend.
“Abrupt climate change is possible without human forcing and is not unusual in the climate record, even recently. Between 1976 and 1977, the Tropical Pacific underwent a rapid warming that had global impacts, including over North America, which was wetter than usual for the following two decades. Even today the cause of the 1976/77 climate shift is still debated.
“The explanation for the recent event has not one cause but multiple.”
Another: Ivor Williams, Oct. 12, 2023 on “Why COPs Should have no teeth”
Quotes from link:
“Leaders of nations may also have wondered at the increasingly manic shouts of: ‘global boiling; ‘July the warmest in human civilisation’s history’; ‘oceans growing hotter … triggering global weather disasters … heat searing enough to knock out mobile phones’; ‘daily temperatures hitting a 100,000 year high’; ‘the September data shows … the planet’s temperature reached its warmest level in modern records and probably in thousands of years.’
“Advisers to leaders of nations may have pointed out that we have only been measuring daily world-wide temperatures for about 140 years. NASA makes it quite clear that ‘before 1880 there just wasn’t enough data to make accurate calculations.’ The last ice age ended about 10,000 years ago; the advisors may have advised that it would therefore seem reasonable to expect that records will be broken, will continue to be broken, and may or may not have anything to do with global warming.”
And a Jordan Peterson clip:
Peterson makes a good point around the 3 minute 30 second time… that if we are overly self-conscious, with associated anxiety and negative emotions, if we ruminate too much about ourselves and our concerns, then you can learn to switch your thinking to what you might do to make the lives of the people around you better. Shifting the focus from self to others.
Peterson in another video has said that if you are going into some setting with other people and feel anxious, self-conscious, and inadequate, then go into that situation focusing on how you can help others and make them feel better, focus on their concerns. That shifts your thinking away from your own self-consciousness, nervousness, anxiety.
His advice… Service to others is one of the ways out of negative self-focus. He notes that today we focus young people too much on their mental health and mental states as the way to help them and that, he says, could not be less true. Such over-protection and having people focus on their own concerns is a pathway to misery.
Another point: He says write down all the things that you are afraid of and are avoiding but are necessary for you to move forward, things you are not doing that you need to do in order to get to where you should be, in order to move forward in your life. Then write down a “strategy of incremental exposure”… a plan of how to deal with the things that you should be doing. When you do this, the things that you fear are then less frightening than you have imagined. This facing of things that you fear should be “incremental”, a bit at a time. You then train yourself not to run from your problems and fears. You then overcome anxiety and build confidence gradually… And more.
Lot of good advice in this video clip….
Martyn Lloyd Jones advice- Don’t’ focus so much on your own problems as you then exaggerate your problems to become something bigger and worse than they really are. It is helpful to focus on others and their problems, focus on helping them and when doing that your own problems will diminish.
This is a kind of Cognitive Therapy approach.
More on “The Israeli/Palestinian issue”:
Already an intense tribalism has set in on both sides (as in many of the dualist oppositions in societies) that refuses to listen and understand the differing other. If you don’t unquestioningly and zealously support the Israeli “iron fist crush and destroy” position then you are “antisemitic”, a hater of Jews, even though many of the people arguing for carefulness in retaliating against Hamas are simply trying to caution about protecting civilians on both sides.
And if, on the other hand, you challenge those supporting the Palestinians, who too often do not clarify that this excludes support for the terrorism of Hamas, then you are anti-Palestinian rights, part of the Israeli “oppression… colonialism”.
So, this intentional misunderstanding on both sides, refusing to recognize legitimate nuances and distinctions, just solidifies the stubborn tribalism, and associated intentional obfuscating ignorance, of both sides.
And you think “love your enemy” has no practical application today??
From “Environment and Climate News” at
“Analysis: Climate Change- The so-called climate crisis is a sham”, by James Taylor, Oct.9, 2023
“There cannot be a climate crisis when temperatures are unusually cool.
“Scientists have documented, and even the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has admitted, that temperatures were warmer than today throughout most of the time period that human civilization has existed.
“Temperatures would have to keep warming at their present pace for at least another century or two before we reach temperatures that were common during early human civilization.
“There can be no climate crisis – based on the notion of dangerously high temperatures – when humans have thrived in temperatures much warmer than today for most of the last 12,000 years.”
See full analysis here…