My friend, Susan Katz Miller, wrote this wonderful book about embracing two religions in one family. She tells in this blog (that I am re-blogging) about a book reading she recently did about her book by the same name: Being Both and reflects on this precarious moment the world faces.
I can’t wrapped my head around the hate Hamas has been cultivating and growing for 16 years since rising to power in Gaza, and many more before this. The hostile brutality of their murder rampage on 10/7 cannot be let go without serious, significant consequences. I would murder them myself if I could.
And then the suffering of the people of Gaza, the 2.2 million people being used by Hamas as human collateral, disposal pawns in their Hate War to incite millions of people watching as they point their fingers and cry like the little, frighten men that they really are how brutal Israel is being to them.
Narratives are funny things, especially when used to evoke and manipulate millions into emotional responses such as rage and fury. What I have heard in the days and weeks since the barbarous butchery Hamas unleashed on 1,400 innocent human beings, is an Israeli man who feels guilty and helpless because he cannot rescue his kidnapped wife and daughters. And I have heard of a Palestinian man who feels guilty and helpless because he cannot protect or even find clean water for his wife and two sons.
What kind of beings have we become when we can murder women, children, and babies. One cannot take any side and claim blamelessness of sin. And yet to bath one’s mind in hate and to teach one’s children and countrymen to hate, this is some human beings excel in doing. And no one is going to win in the end. No one is blameless, and no one deserves to be deprived of basic human rights, especially the right to live and life for being Jewish, Palestinian, Christian, Muslim, or for being black or brown, red or white.
I pray for peace, for understanding, for justice, for a kinder and more compassionate world where all human life is precious and celebrated. Where children learn how to grow and cultivate tolerance, cooperation, and compassion. We seem so very far away for such a world–War in the Middle East, War in Ukraine, threats and insults from dictators and terrorists tempting, baiting, provoking the rest of the world to be their very worst selves… because a world like that… bullies, villains, thefts, and monsters win.
Life is fragile. It can end in an instant. Don’t waste it hating others because you really just hate yourself if that is all you can do.
Hate is a suicide pact. Hate never ends peacefully with a perfect world. Hate is not Heaven.
Now we are getting into the nitty gritty stuff of why we need strong archetypal characters and stories, especially now. We need them because we live in a time chock full of improbable characters playing as if they are super heroes, but really they are just playing insidious tricks on our minds so they can get our money or get power.
And if they do get enough power, they are going to take everything from you (Yes, even if you supported them, especially if you supported them!)
And also as if we need even more examples of why we need to strengthen our minds against frauds and fakesters, just the other day, David Gura spoke with Zeke Faux of Bloomberg News and New Yorker staff writer Sheelah Kolhatkar about the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried who is the disgraced founder of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
This part of the interview is exactly what Joost Merloo is writing about here and why I am highlighting in this blog: We are suckers for people with money. We are even worse suckers for people who pretend to have money!
GURA: For people who haven't invested in crypto, haven't dabbled in this world, don't know Sam Bankman-Fried, don't know what FTX is, why is this story, why is this alleged fraud so important and such a big deal?
KOLHATKAR: This is an old story, to some extent. This is a story about, you know, an ostensible genius who happened to be very young, lauded by the press, you know, worshipped by Silicon Valley, who was allowed to go out and behave in, ultimately, a reckless way with other people's money while people turned and looked the other way. And, you know, lo and behold, things were not as they seemed. Something was seriously wrong, and it resulted in a, you know, terrible amount of pain and destruction and financial losses.
And this arc, this narrative arc, is something we see over and over again, particularly in sort of hot, new tech companies where you often have these young men who are just empowered to go out and behave recklessly while they try and grow their companies. And then, of course, we figure out afterwards that they were cutting corners or fraud occurred, and, you know, there's all sorts of pain and recrimination. And you don't have to care about crypto to care about the outcome and the question of whether justice is served in this case.
-- The fall of crypto | All Things Considered, NPR
The Enigma of Coexistence
Is it possible to coexist with a totalitarian system that never ceases to use its psychological artillery? Can a free democracy be strong enough to tolerate the parasitic intrusion of totalitarianism into its rights and freedoms? History tells us that many opposing and clashing ideologies have been able to coexist under a common law that assured tolerance and justice. The church no longer burns its apostates.
Before the opposites of totalitarianism and free democracy can coexist under the umbrella of supervising law and mutual good will, a great deal more of mutual understanding and tolerance will have to be built up. The actual cold war and psychological warfare certainly do not yet help toward this end.
To the totalitarian, the word "coexistence" has a different meaning than it has to us. The totalitarian may use it merely as a catch-word or an appeaser. The danger is that the concept of peaceful coexistence may become a disguise, dulling the awareness of inevitable interactions and so profiting the psychologically stronger party. Lenin spoke about the strategic breathing spell (peredyshka) that has to weaken the enemy. Too enthusiastic a peace movement may mean a superficial appeasement of problems. Such an appeal has to be studied and restudied, lest it result in a dangerous letdown of defences, which have to remain mobilized to face a ruthless enemy.
A tragic example of this is what happened to Khasoggi five years ago today.
As I write this blog, today is five years since Jamal Khashoggi with murdered and mutilated. Rachel Treisman opens this segment saying:
Jamal Khashoggi — a Saudi dissident who lived in Virginia and wrote for the Washington Post — walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage. He never came out.
Khashoggi, 59, was dismembered, and his remains have never been found.
U.S. intelligence later determined that a team of 15 Saudi agents had flown to Istanbul to carry out a "capture or kill" operation approved by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).
What strikes me as particularly pertinent to what Joost Meerloo is saying above is what Khashoggi’s friend and collegue Washington Post columnist David Ignatius says:
It's undeniable that there have been major changes in Saudi Arabia in the last five years, Ignatius notes.
Saudi Arabia and Israel have hinted they are open to establishing formal relations, which Ignatius says is something he never thought he'd see in his lifetime.
"It would be wrong not to credit those changes," Ignatius said. "What bothers me is that those changes have been implemented essentially by force ... We should understand that this is a modernizing dictator. And there's always the danger that citizens of Saudi Arabia could be thrown into prison if they disagree with him."
If you are interested in this topic, you should listen to the whole interview. It is only 3 minutes; time well spent to understand the complexities of our time and how what looks like a good thing or even a GREAT things, might be a very poisonous thing for our psychological reality.
Coexistence may mean a suffocating subordination much like that of prisoners coexisting with their jailers. At its best, it may imitate the intensive symbiotic or ever-parasitic relationship we can see among animals which need each other, or as we see it in the infant in its years of dependency upon its mother.
In order to coexist and to cooperate, one must have notions and comparable images of interaction, of a sameness of ideas, of a belonging-together, of an interdependence of the whole human race, in spite of the existence of racial and cultural differences. Otherwise the ideology backed by the greater military strength will strangle the weaker one.
Peaceful coexistence presupposes on BOTH sides a high understanding of the problems and complications of simple coexistence, of mutual agreement and limitations, of the diversity of personalities, and especially of the coexistence of contrasting and irreconcilable thoughts and feelings in every individual of the innate ambivalence of man. It demands an understanding of the rights of both the individual and the collectivity. Using coexistence as a catch-word, we may obscure the problems involved, and we may find that we use the word as a flag that covers gradual surrender to the stronger strategist.
Do you think the United States’ Congress has a high understanding of the problems and complications of coexistence? Given the recent fight over funding the US government and now Matt Gate’s stunt, it seems we need divine intervention to help guide us weaker minded souls in just remembering how to compromise and get along together.
“In the majestic Halls of Congress, God ushers elephants to one corner and donkeys to another, bestowing upon them a much-deserved respite.“
Images made on Genolve using AI with music for each animation as follows:
Feature Archetypal Animation
Music: The Greatest Showman (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) — Various Artists — The Greatest Show