is it that human beings can be so cruel to one another? I have long wondered
about the range of negative human behavior from meanness to murder. I
used to try to disassociate myself from the human race because of human
horrors. I came to realize that all humans, including me, are capable
of all things. This awareness did not make me feel any better.
is it in our nature that propels us to unkindness, to destructiveness,
to viciousness? What is it? I know we are akin to nature, which simply
lashes out and destroys entire landscapes with no remorse. Perhaps our
violence is simply part of what it is to be a human being and no matter
how we grow and change we will never eliminate this feature from our makeup.
Frank reported that in spite of what she and her family suffered during
World War II and the holocaust, she still believed that people were basically
good at heart. I often experience that as well, but it is not a constant.
looking about at strangers in crowded places I have observed that we are
often afraid to be kind to one another. This very fact promotes meanness-to-murderous
behavior. We are afraid that if we express kindness it will be misunderstood,
get us in trouble, or evoke responses we are ill equipped to handle. We
withhold from one. We opt for privacy and isolation instead of reaching
to another. This withdrawal promotes potential hostile expression, or
at least minor forms of paranoia.
sat beside an aged woman who dropped something she had great difficulty
retrieving. She couldnít bend and she seemed in great pain. I was sitting
right next to her as she began to struggle and I immediately offered my
help. She did receive my help and thanked me for it but it was very clear
that she would never have asked for it.
donít ask. We donít provide others with the opportunities to give to us.
We hold back. That held back energy, cumulative in the human race, is
what I sense explodes in acts of mistreatment and sometimes violence.
suspect we could radically change human nature if we collectively encouraged
everyone to feel and to express feeling. No matter what the feeling is,
once it is expressed we can move through it to new choices. As energy
is expended and expressed, the pathways open and we might all be encouraged
toward compassion, enthusiasm, gratitude, and creativity.†
in thoughts, holding back energy, and shutting down leads to explosions
of vital life force that take hurtful shapes. Blocked Chi results in physical
disease. Blocked energy produces congestion. Blocked feelings are internalized.
Eventually all this has to move. We either move it consciously and lovingly,
or we strike out because we must expend the energy, and in so doing, hurt
those in our way.
can no longer shrink from one another. The more we pull back the sooner
we will crash into our own walls of separation.
be afraid, suspicious of, or resistant to other human beings is to create
an opposing force. We need to choose between going to private war with
each other or merging into one larger being.
To promote peace,
fellowship, and community, we would do well to reach to others, to give
to others, to reveal our joys and suffering, to ask for help, to receive
when love is given. In those ways we can be the change we want to see
happen in the world.