First off, thanks for all of the comments to yesterday’s posts. I got my quote corrected, got some different perspectives, found out I wasn’t clear on some things and most importantly it got me thinking.
I actually had to do a Google search to understand why people were celebrating Osama bin Laden’s death. That just goes to show how “out of touch” I can be about things. Here’s an excerpt from the first article I opened:
No, the war against terrorism is not over. It may never be in our lifetimes. But as President Obama confirmed late Sunday evening, one of the most evil men to ever breathe is dead. And because of that, peace-loving men and women can celebrate.
Man… That’s a strong way to feel about Osama bin Laden and… it actually never dawned on me to view him that way. I can TOTALLY understand why a number of Americans would see him that way and it makes celebrating in the streets abundantly clear (plus a bunch of people in the street attracts… more people in the street).
You know what… I don’t think I’ve ever looked at the dictionary definition of evil (I look up words all the time):
a : morally reprehensible : sinful, wicked <an evil impulse>
b : arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct <a person of evil reputation
Wow… I guess he was evil (according to dictionary definition), but… words like evil and hate are words I’ve practically eliminated from my personal vocabulary. That’s not something that just happened over night. My mind INSTANTLY flashes back to one or many conversations I had with with my father.
I HATE YOU!
I remember “hating” everything when I was little. My mom when things didn’t go my way. School for sucking. My brother for… being my brother. 😉 My dad (seen on video here as miltownpops) wasn’t able to provide me with a whole lot materially or financially growing up, but one thing he gave me which in my mind is greater than money or things was love and the elimination of hate.
I can’t remember if it happened more than once, but I can vividly recall saying I hated someone in front of him one day and he told me “Hey! Hate is a powerful word. You shouldn’t ever hate anyone. You can dislike them, but you shouldn’t ever hate.” That stuck with me. This came from the same man I’ve seen SNAP about White people and “The Man.” lol I’m sure that planted the seeds that led me to being…
Too Daoist To See Evil
I think I was introduced to Daoism when I was 14 (I’m 31 now). And I wasn’t introduced to it directly. Someone gave my brother a copy of the Daodejing and I kind of “stole” it from him. I took that book with me EVERYWHERE and studied long and hard to uncover the hidden gems of wisdom. Here’s chapter 2 from the translation I had 17 years ago (by Stephen Mitchell) I have a ton translations now:
When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad [or evil].
Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.
Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn’t possess,
acts but doesn’t expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.
Without getting too deep into the whole chapter, one thing I took from it growing up was that bad/evil, like beauty, was in the eye of the beholder. So, relating that to the whole Osama thing, I understand that Osama was evil in the minds of a lot of Americans. BUT I also understand that to Osama bin Laden and his followers America/the American government is/was evil. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Well… the answer to that question is way beyond my pay grade although I will say that what Osama bin Laden did was wrong and much of our response to the attacks was wrong.
I don’t think killing Osama or terrorists was/is wrong. That could be viewed as pulling weeds from your garden of peace. 🙂 That said…
See… Words are a tricky thing which is why I’m constantly hitting a dictionary. There are 4 definitions of violence and 4 definitions of violent. Let me explain how I am and am not using the word.
exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse (as in warfare effecting illegal entry into a house)
b : an instance of violent treatment or procedure
marked by extreme force or sudden intense activity
emotionally agitated to the point of loss of self-control
The “violence” I’m talking about is an extreme emotional overreaction to a situation, plus a dash of revenge.
So if, to grab an example from the comments yesterday, an “old lady who was accosted and raped and she decides to defend herself. And if by chance the perpetrator dies […]” I don’t think any violence happened (not the violence I’m talking about).
Or if I was out with my girlfriend and 3 thugs attacked us and I felt it was necessary to kill two of the thugs to successfully detain the 3rd… Maybe it was violent, maybe it wasn’t. Did I kill them because I thought it would be awesome and was pissed that they attacked me? Violence. Did I kill them because there were three of them and what I did seemed like the best course of action for me at the time to keep myself and my girlfriend safe? Not violence.
Sometimes calculated excessive force isn’t violence (the violence I’m talking about). As violent as the operation that took out Osama seemed, if it was truly a major step towards the elimination of worldwide terrorism and the propagation of worldwide peace. Not violence. I just don’t see it like that (but I understand that a lot of people do).
So basically if two people, families, countries (or planets) play ping-pong with the ball of violence, things escalate to the point of almost total destruction of one player.
Who are the players in our current “games” of violence-pong? Corporations (money), governments (power), and people (culture/resources).
Osama bin Laden
What Osama bin Laden help organize was wrong, extremely wrong, heck I’ll even say it was evil. But I won’t say he was evil. Americans need to wake up to the fact that we suck. America is AWESOME and it sucks. Americans overly focus on the awesome and minimize the seriousness of the suck.
All I know is that we’re wasteful, we’re violent and we’re all up in other people’s (country’s) shit because of how wasteful and violent we are. You know all of those alien movies where some alien race uses up all of the resources of their planet and comes to our planet to enslave/destroy us with their advanced technology? The US is that alien race. You know how some “hero” pops up and figures out a way to destroy the alien race that’s attacking our homes, families and cities? BOOM! Osama bin Laden. If the movie was “Independence Day” and the earth was the middle east, Osama bin Laden would have been Will Smith. (I bet there isn’t one other blog on the PANET that made that comparison.) Maybe I should have used that Avatar movie with all the blue people…
OK, I don’t want to offend anyone too much, but wouldn’t it be nice if the alien race came to us with their advanced technology, helped us implement it in our lives in exchange for some of our resources in an ultra diplomatic fashion? It’d probably make for a really crap movie to watch, but it’d be way nicer for the people in the movie.
I understand that not all things can be handled in a diplomatic, hippy-dippy fashion, but I can’t feel good about the things the US does because I don’t believe they’re to lift up the people of the whole planet. If it’s about helping people there are MILLIONS… BILLIONS of people the US could help by helping them build infrastructure, etc. Instead we’re that alien race all up in other people’s shit to ensure our people (rich and poor) can keep being wasteful at the levels they’ve grown accustomed to. All that does is create a breeding ground for the next Osama.