Thursday, September 17, 2015

365 True Things: 172/Divisiveness

I introduced my questing group in post #106. Today was our monthly meeting day, and what a pleasure it was to be with my beautiful fellow questers.

Today we read a few verses from the Bible (Isaiah 2:1–5): the part about beating swords into ploughshares and spears into pruninghooks, and the command that "nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

Annie was inspired into this selection by a statue she saw in NYC, by Evgeniy Vuchetich (1957): a gift of the Soviet Union to the United Nations.

Well, that old, cold war is over (sort of), but we've got plenty more strife on the planet in the meantime.

I am currently working on a textbook about Judaism, learning a lot. Including, perhaps most surely, that so many of us come from the same place, philosophically/mythically/morally/spiritually: that is, the Bible. What I call the Old Testament, for Jews is the Torah, Prophets, and Writings. And if Wikipedia is to be believed, Muslims put stock in the Torah (Tawrat), the Psalms (Zabur) given to David (within the Writings), and the Gospel (Injil) given to Isa/Jesus—i.e., the New Testament.

We have so many common roots.

Never mind all the compassion and tolerance that are taught by Eastern faiths—reminding me of the Golden Rule and glass houses, et cetera.

And yet: all we can do anymore is fight, it seems. I believe the media (including social media) are largely at fault for that perception, but I also think it's more than just that.

There's a lot of fear in the world these days. Too much difference. Too little communication.

So today, the three of us talked about what we, personally, can do to avoid divisiveness. Starting with being less impatient and judgmental ourselves. More open-minded. Not leaping to assumptions about others. Trying to connect. Trying to not find fault. Compassion, of course, is key—for ourselves, perhaps first and foremost. This quote by Pema Chödrön resonates with me: "We are all capable of becoming fundamentalists because we get addicted to other people's wrongness."

I'd like to get back to other people's rightness. And the ways we can and do agree. And making ploughshares instead of—or, if necessary, out of—swords.

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