Image for post
Image for post
Unattributed photo

“Peaceful coexistence on this beautiful planet we share cannot be achieved by warfare. It cannot be achieved by power. And it cannot be achieved by ignoring each others’ suffering. We cannot kill our way to peace, oppress others to create peace, or close our eyes to achieve peace. Peace is the only path to peace. Our humanity is indelibly linked to our treatment of one another.”
― L.R. Knost

*
“The forest is always large, immense, great and mysterious. No one ever gains power over the forest, but the forest possesses the power to change lives and alter destinies.”
― Jack Zipes, The Brothers Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World

*

“What persons do I hate? What groups or factions do I fight against? Whatever they are, they are a part of me because I am bound to that which I hate as surely as I am bound to that which I love, and psychologically the important thing is where one’s libido is lodged, not whether one is for or against a given thing. So if one pursues such reflections diligently, one will gradually collect one’s scattered psyche from the outer world, like the dismembered body of Osiris, and such work promotes the coniunctio.”
~Edward Edinger, Mysterium Lectures, Pages 322–324.

*

“It is in the nature of political bodies always to see the evil in the opposite group. …The State has no intention of promoting mutual understanding and the relationship of man to man; it strives, rather, for atomization, for the psychic isolation of the individual. The more unrelated individuals are, the more consolidated the State becomes, and vice versa.”
— Carl Jung

*

“The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow or love.
Chained by his certitude, he is a slave; he has forfeited his freedom.
Only the person who risks is truly free.”
Leo Buscaglia

The librarian often told me I was too young to understand the tomes I was checking out, but she let me check them out anyway. I took them home and poured over them with the help of a ragged, much underlined dictionary. My life experience was inadequate to the task, as often as not, of grasping what was being discussed, but I persisted.

I still persist. I still imagine mysteries that are just beyond my ken. For me, books have always had an aura of secret, inspiring wisdom, and I admire and listen to the ones who write them.

You may have noticed that I inspire myself with quotes from these authors.

In the meantime, I was always trying my best to construct a life. I went about it much the same way I read. When I went down the wrong path, I abandoned it as soon as I was clear it was leading nowhere I wanted to go. In my youthful ignorance, I made a lot of stupid and even dangerous — speaking in soul terms — moves.

My trial-and-error modus operandi was brimming with errors. I was strangely unembarrassed by them. I just accepted them as a natural part of the process of living.

In the end I sorted myself out, at least to the extent of affirming my basic nature, without apology, of course. Yet, the question of how to live still preoccupies me. I do believe that Jung is right to warn us not to identify too strongly with one side of an argument — for the simple reason that it makes you susceptible to harboring and furthering its opposite energies, unbeknownst to yourself, of course.

But choosing sides and demonizing those not in agreement are two different things, I think.

All those well armed militia members in America have chosen to hate people who may have a different perspective on things, or maybe just a darker skin color. That’s the lowest rung of consciousness, of course, but it’s possible to live by a vision of generosity and kindness towards all and still choose sides.

I vote and I write based on my perception of things. I try to promote an inclusive vision of things, but I also consider certain organizations and belief systems to be dangerous, to be fought against.

The question of evil is not settled in my mind. Is there a fundamental malevolence in life or is there just simple misguided beliefs and ignorance? Whichever it is it’s to be resisted, in my opinion. We are seeing the growth of hate and violence in America right now. I agree that hate and violence on both sides will just make things worse, but I still think we have to take a stand.

If we can do that with kindness and care in our hearts, we at least have not thrown more fuel on the fire. Perhaps we have even contributed to a much needed healing.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store