Thursday, February 7, 2013

“We must love one another or die”

By Dr. Lucio F. Teoxon Jr.

Human beings have twice gone berserk on a global scale within the short span of three decades. With over thirty-seven million casualties, slaughtered and injured, the incalculable havoc and dislocation wrought by World Wars I & II are brutal historical facts whose shocking reality should have brought us to our senses.

That is why in the wake of the last war the United Nations was set up to launch concerted campaigns against the birthing of war in the mind of man. This international body reaffirms the universal brotherhood of man regardless of nationality or skin pigmentation, religious or political creeds, social standing, age or gender.

Even so, we have all but forgotten that there are certain inexorable laws that govern human existence, violation of which punishes the offender right on the spot. One such law is the principle of causation, of action and reaction, which holds that a cause is behind every effect, which in turn becomes the cause of another effect, and so on down the line.

Hence, hate begets hate. Arrogant show of force can only be met with a corresponding show of force locking the contending parties in a vicious circle of conflict. Only love can overcome hatred. The timeless truth of this precept was shown by Jesus Christ who taught it more than two thousand years ago; Gautama Siddharta likewise preached the same guiding principle some six centuries earlier than Christ.

Still, what rules our lives is violence. We are a hard-headed lot. When we were created the command was to subdue the earth, but not one another. There is not much option for humankind if we are to ensure our very survival on this planet; and the sooner we realize this, the better for us. Certainly, armed conflict, brute force or any form of violence is not the way to go. The mushroom clouds that once hovered over Hiroshima and Nagasaki are wicked reminders that technologically we have it in our hands to wipe out the human race from the face of this planet. An eminent poet could not have said it better, “We must love one another or die.” Love is our redemption. There is no other.

But when shall we ever wake up and learn our lessons so that history is literally stopped from repeating itself in the groove of eternal recurrence? When it is finally too late for all of us?

Vaclav Havel, playwright and three-time president of the Czech Republic, said that if the world is to change for the better there must be a change in human consciousness. We are all caught in the prison of our own limited thinking, and this is the bane of every man, of every nationality. Was this not the cause of such madness as Hitler’s “final solution” or such recent phenomenon as “ethnic cleansing” or even in the extended sense the gruesome tragedy of the September 11 attacks? The animal instinct of a home turf or being ethnocentric distorts an individual’s otherwise broad orientation in the same way that a pair of blinkers limits a horse’s peripheral vision.

It is imperative that we see with the eyes of the poet Archibald MacLeish as he contemplated the view of the earth as seen from outer space. “To see the earth,” he wrote, “as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats is to see ourselves as riders on the earth together, brothers on the bright loveliness in the eternal cold--brothers who know now we are truly brothers.” Only an enlarged vision, an expanded consciousness can enable us to regard that fellow next door as our brother or sister and not an alien. But getting to the farther reaches of consciousness is an inward journey. The way without is the way within. No other path could there be. As the Chinese put it, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a small step. To travel far we must begin near. The nearest, of course, is our own mind.

Indeed, we have to find a different way of relating to one another--as individuals or as a community of nations. We have to begin our exploration in the inner space within ourselves. This is the wisdom which the ancient sages of the East and the West have come upon ages back. The germ of the Eternal resides in the inner space of the heart and when once you and I have realized our own identity with “It” as well as our oneness with each other, not intellectually but actually, then there will come about a flourishing of goodwill and goodness in everyone.

Then at last peace shall descend in our lives. Not in some distant future, but right here and now.

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