A Perspective on Terrorism
Terrorism stems from hatred, hatred stems from rage, rage stems from fearfear of being overpowered, fear of being inadequate, fear of losing, fear of being unable to feed or protect oneís own people or even of being able to hold up oneís head with pride. How can we respond effectively to such fears?
Our own greatest fear is US retaliation in the old era modefurther disasters perpetrated in blind rage and outrage, an escalation of violence. While we grieve for all who lost their lives and for all those who survive to suffer, we know with certainty in our hearts that inflicting more suffering and death will only hold us in a downward spiraling path to doom. The real challenge is to find the light in darkness, to take tragedy as a wake-up call, to transmute the pain into behavior that leads to the only real security from violence.
As parents and teachers we urge our children to share their toys, and we do not tolerate their violent aggression or retribution, nor even ugly taunts and name-calling. We take away their sticks and stones, steering them lovingly to more positive activities, and urging them to learn self-control. Yet our children cannot help but see our adult world as visibly hypocritical, for we do not practice what we preach.
Who is responsible for creating a world of inequities and suffering? Who preaches democracy and equal opportunity while competing fiercely for the largest share of a pie that could feed everyone? Who calls some ethnic groups names and makes it clear that their ways are inferior? Why are we surprised if the response is hatred? How long will we persist in childish ways of solving disputes with ever more powerful means of adult violence? When will we get that these are the ways of immaturity? When will we take responsibility for the severe problems of the world we have created?
Repeatedly in these columns I have shown, as an evolution biologist, that species which survive can and do mature from their aggressive and greedy youth to mature sharing and caring. Our greatest spiritual leaders throughout history have shown us howto ask ourselves what we have done to incur such rage and what we can do to inspire love in others, to turn the other cheek and give back love, to forgive our enemies and feed them, to see ourselves as One and to know that what happens to the least of us affects us all.
Consider the difference in our reality this kind of behavior would produce. Must our children, who already see through our hypocrisy, take over the world before this can happen? Or can we turn this tragic shock NOW into the New Era of maturity required of us if we are to survive and thrive?
Date created: 11-May-04