Friday, July 11, 2014

Insanity

"Blooming Cacti"
-summer in my desert garden-

The tragic and escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians has left me heartbroken and astonished. Every day we hear stories of rockets, bombs, homes turned into piles of rubble  - neighbor against neighbor as body counts rise and mothers weep for their dead children. Yesterday I listened to a fascinating BBC radio interview that gave me a new insight into this senseless warfare in a "Holy Land." 

A reporter was interviewing the Jewish mayor of Jerusalem along with a Palestinian spokesman for Hamas. They both hurled the usual insults against one another, not unexpectedly accusing the other side of instigating and perpetuating the escalating destruction. 

Then the BBC reporter asked one simple question of both sides - a question that struck me as getting directly at the crux of the problem. 

The reporter suggested that this pattern of mutual aggression has been going on for years between these two neighboring peoples. Over many generations, everyone on both sides have lived under a dark cloud of fear and suffered tragic losses.  The reporter then asked, "Don't you think maybe it's time to do something different,  to break the pattern of destruction - a political solution, a treaty, a meaningful truce rather than bombs and rockets?" 

The answer given to this simple, direct question was astounding to me and also quite revealing. As if he never even heard the reporter's question, the Hamas representative said that they will continue to bomb Israel, only now more than ever, adding that they are developing new rockets that will be more accurate in destroying targets. In like fashion, ignoring the reporter's question, the Jewish mayor of Jerusalem said that as along as Arab rockets keep coming, Israel will continue to strike back against the Palestinians and each time they strike, it will be even harder than before. 

It was such crazy thinking. Why would anyone imagine that repeating the same thing they have been doing for years would lead to anything but continued ongoing destruction and loss for everyone?  I immediately called to mind something Albert Einstein once said:

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again 
and expecting different results

As I listened to the BBC interview yesterday I thought to myself, "yes, that's exactly what this is; it's  crazy thinking." I wondered whether or not some form of cultural "insanity" has infected the minds and hearts of people on both sides of those borders (at least those in positions of leadership)?  And, my guess is that this form of insanity is hardly limited to people in nations like Israel and Palestine. 

Many years ago, as the Vietnam war was spinning out of control, Martin Luther King Jr. offered some wise words of timeless wisdom that seem to make even greater sense to me now in our own day and age:

Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away at its vital unity. Hate destroys a person's objectivity. It causes a person to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful and to confuse the truth with the false and the false with the truth.

Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence in a descending spiral of destruction which must be broken or we shall be plunged into dark annihilation. Somehow this madness must cease!

Dr, King also said:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.
Hate canot drive out hate; only love can do that

My mantra and my prayer for this day: Let there be light! Somehow this madness must cease. 








2 comments:

  1. "For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love, this is an old rule". (The Dhammapada)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Lucian. Yes an old rule indeed..and an eternal truth

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