An blog by a member of the Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, to explore the nexus between contemplation and resistance. "The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Inner Decay




"An internal United Nations (UN) report into the November 6 bombing in Baghlan, in northern Afghanistan, has revealed how the actions of security guards after the blast greatly increased the death toll."

"Dying empires cling until the very end to the outward trappings of power. They mask their weakness behind a costly and technologically advanced military. They pursue increasingly unrealistic imperial ambitions. They stifle dissent with efficient and often ruthless mechanisms of control. They lose the capacity for empathy, which allows them to see themselves through the eyes of others, to create a world of accommodation rather than strife. The creeds and noble ideals of the nation become empty cliches, used to justify acts of greater plunder, corruption and violence. By the end, there is only a raw lust for power and few willing to confront it." - Chris Hedges, "America in the Time of Empire"

"The document said it was unclear how many of the 77 (61 of whom were children) who died were killed by the bomb and how many by shooting afterwards. But according to AP, the report did say, 'However, latest reports suggest that gunshots could account for as many as two-thirds of all casualties.'"

"Regardless of what the exact breakdown of numbers may be, the fact remains that a number of armed men deliberately and indiscriminately fired into a crowd of unarmed civilians that posed no threat to them, causing multiple deaths and injuries."
'It is believed that at least 100 rounds or more were fired into the crowd with a separate group of schoolchildren off to one side of the road bearing the brunt of the onslaught at close range.' - "UN report into worst Afghan atrocity implicates security forces", wsws.org

These are acts of desperation, not strength. Of cowardice and despair. We will never admire, nor give obeisance to acts of domination that arise from despair of the truth of man, of the infinite potentiality of his personality. America must accept its fate with the humility that becomes a country that was once the world's hope. Let go of its tense clutch on power or embrace the void.

The great difference between the revolutions of the twentieth century and those of the twenty-first is this: those of the twentieth century rebelled against conventional morality and religion, and were largely successful in that rebellion. Those of twenty-first century are in favor of a radically orthodox morality and religion and will re-establish these as the foundation for an even more authentic rebellion against conventional morality and religion.

The loss of capacity for empathy means that we can no longer see ourselves as others see us. That sense which once allowed us to see from another perspective than that of our selfish interests has now been subtracted from the sum of our humanity. This engenders an elemental blindness that makes effective decision-making impossible. The obsessive focus on ourselves and our interests unleashed by 9/11 has isolated us with the cage of our own national ego, poking out the eyes of our soul, adrift in the void where we have lost faith in everything but military might. The search for perfect safety is the search for perfect hell.

Only genuine spiritual understanding can reveal what happens to the heart when safety becomes paramount, or in the words of C.S. Lewis: "To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intake, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries,; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell." C.S. Lewis, "The Four Loves"

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