We Can Become What We Oppose

newspaper-154444_640I got up this morning, watched the news on TV and read the newspapers. It all moved from one scene of violence to another and the threat of violence hung ominously over everything else.

I felt disturbances within I didn’t like. I allowed them to be, but watched them carefully, and as the heat dissipated, they slowly dissolved and I was left at peace once again.

What remained behind though was the thought that the most important issue of our time is how we overcome evil without becoming another form of evil in the process.

I sense this question lies at the very heart of our living today.

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About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Discernment, Life, Politics, Spirituality, Transformation, wisdom and insight and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to We Can Become What We Oppose

  1. nrhatch says:

    I never start the day by watching the news or reading newspapers. Not the positive note I’m seeking first thing in the morning.

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  2. ladyfi says:

    That is so true! But we have to remember that the world is full of unnoticed deeds of good and kindness too.

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  3. josna says:

    Such an important insight, Don, so quietly expressed. I made my students read a whole book whose conclusion is essentially this! It’s _The Fear of Barbarians:Beyond the Clash of Civilizations_ by Tzvetan Todorov (2010). Its title also recalls J. M. Coetzee’s novel, _Waiting for the Barbarians_, which delivers a similar insight. In that novel the fear of barbarians at the borders is used by the regime in power to justify their own barbaric behavior.

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    • Don says:

      Thank you Josna. I know J M Coetzee’s novel – beautifully written expressing tremendous insight. The book you mention sounds very good. It must have invoked some discussion.

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      • josna says:

        I thought you might have read it, Don. (Didn’t mean to lecture–bad habit of mine!)

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      • Don says:

        Josna, I really didn’t see it as lecturing. 🙂 There’s a link below on a comment by aquarianmeandering. You might be interested in reading it.

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      • josna says:

        Just did, Don. I agree that the outside doomsayers can tend to overlook the dynamism and lively debate in democratic South Africa, and be completely unaware of the amazing new ideas and projects that South Africans are developing. (And of course, Coetzee’s novel was written during Apartheid.)

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      • Don says:

        Thanks for taking the time Josna.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    To ways to look at this. There is the engrained way, that subscribes to – we are born innocent?

    Could be, we’re born with a latent evil?

    I think were both, one counter checks the other. Comes down to choice?

    I strive for good, to make right, but I have an evil side despite my intentions…….I used ‘I’, though I could have generalized.

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    • Don says:

      I like what you say. I also feel we are both. It was Carl Jung who said that evil too has the capacity to be an instrument for the enlargement of human awareness and goodness.

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  5. Paul Harris’ article (in the form of a letter) is a very helpful one at this time: http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/blog/a_letter_to_a_friend_.html

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  6. Hudson Howl says:

    To ways to look at this. There is the engrained way, that subscribes to – we are born innocent?

    Could be, we’re born with a latent evil?

    I think were both, one counter checks the other. Comes down to choice? There examples for us, all around us, since we we’re born -there is always a choice to be made. Simple? Not sure.

    I strive for good, to make right, but I have an evil side despite my intentions…….I used ‘I’, though I could have generalized.

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  7. I am aware of the negativity that pervades this world. And when I choose to channel my precious time and energy into anything that borders the (IMO) less than desirable, I do so. But it doesn’t happen frequently. What’s changed in my life and allowed me (and others) to focus on all that is good, constructive, and possible in our sphere, is that I have neither watched TV nor read a magazine or newspaper in 14+ years. And I have become more contented with what I focus on versus the impact and abundance of energy vampires out there.

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    • Don says:

      Thanks Eric – admire your stance. I’d find that pretty difficult to do, I suppose I’m seeking ways in which to remain connected to the things mentioned without allowing their toxicity to influence me. Not easy. Maybe I’m chasing rainbows. 🙂

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Such a challenge to keep ‘looking UP’, and counting the blessings even IN all the ugliness and struggle.

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  9. Robert says:

    I know what you mean Don, in outrage I find myself gritting my teeth and getting the same feeling I get at the back of my throat when I’ve eaten too much cream. I can see the attraction of becoming a hermit.

    >

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  10. Michael says:

    Don, I just want to thank you for the wonderful question… Were we to simply ask this, before diving into action, it seems like a great deal of unintended consequences might be averted.

    And it seems like you gently gave the answer: by sitting with what arises, and giving it the space to run its course within, where the transient will inevitably be swallowed/transformed by the eternal.

    Michael

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    • Don says:

      Thank you Michael.What you say about diving in to action is so true. I think one always needs to try and keep a contemplative distance that enables discerned action instead just action for the sake of action.

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