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News, Human Nature, Nature, and Nonviolent Compassion …

April 18, 2012

I hear a lot of people say they hate the news; they don’t watch, read, a/o listen to it. “It’s depressing,” is a common response. I can totally respect that, too. How anyone responds to anything, no less news, is their business, their right. That in itself — that everyone has the right to respond to the news/whatever, thanks to free will — is a great thing, and something that a lot of people are still unable to do in many places. But, when I hear someone say that they hate news I’m naturally vexed, and feel almost completely the opposite.

The news is a voice bursting with importance and meaning. It’s the voice of the voiceless in many ways, as many regimes/societies are censored, silenced, and hidden in plain sight. Take Syria right now. I just heard a piece from PRI’s The World that interviewed a young guy hiding in a house surrounded by tanks, snipers, and without food and water, as has been for the past year. The Assad regime has killed more than @ 9,000 innocent civilians. Unarmed girls and women are raped, murdered, and strewn out in the streets, often strangled or stabbed to death to save bullets and incite fear. Just last month, 26 women and 21 children were found beaten, mutilated, some apparently raped, and killed — some with their throats slit. Without news, there would be no way to know that this is taking place. News serves to shine a light on outrageous cases like Syria, but also on a whole plethora of other areas of our lives (e.g., sports, the economy, etc.). Obviously, the case of Syria at present is one extreme, but it serves to highlight what people are capable of doing, as history has repeatedly shown us time and time again. Sometimes that’s not what we want to hear. But, naiivete to such things: awareness an/or knowledge of a wrong, and subsequent inaction is just as bad, if not worse, than the wrong in and of itself. So, a lot of people ‘choose’ to stay away from knowing, choose not to notice, or be aware. Ignore it until it happens to you, or someone you know. If something is happening to one person, it’s happening to everyone. We’re all connected. Syria is just the same game, with a different name as Darfur, Myanmar, Bosnia, Rwanda, the Ivory Coast, etc. From one extreme, in cases of systematic murder, rape, etc., to the other, more subtle violations of rights, liberties, and justice, looking is the first requirement for exposing reality. Shining the light, looking through the cracks, crevices, and into the figurative rabbit holes is a constant, necessary requirement of a forward moving, normal person and society. No one event in history is the same as another, and the breadth and depth of things that life creates reflect an obvioud diverse set of modalities and degrees*. It helps me, — like anything, not just news/history, etc. — to relate it to different things in different ways (while obviously being mindful of differences). For instance, such simple things like; I need to study, eat well, and manage my money, etc. And for more important things (in my view, that is), like; I need to dig into relationships, traumas, etc., and deal with them accordingly. It’s all about moving forward, progress. Being a better person. Being the best people we can be. And I know that it’s somehow become a trend for people to ignore and fear the things we need to deal with the most. Because they’re things we don’t like about our selves (intentionally not ‘ourselves’, sic), that we don’t like about our past, etc. And so we turn away from it. Hide it under the rug. And, hence, not be able to move forward, to be our best self, live our best life.

On another level, on a nearby plateau, is the need to be the compassionate observer (which should be called just being ‘normal,’ but alas, one brick at a time). As members of this one big family called nature, on the planet we share, we have what I feel/believe is one of those most basic of instincts, compassion. Love. We’re obligated to protect life where we see it being harmed. Especially when something in a place of unequalled/unrivalled power uses it to take advantage/harm something of lesser power. Like watching a bully punch, make fun of another kid. It’s an imbalance of nature that needs and obligates the world to protect the victim, using the least possible resistance/defense. Using the least possible required force to resist/repel/defend, squares perfectly with the whole philosophy (and with brasilian/gracie jiu-jitsu, eh — no surprise). Because we believe in not harming things, neither do we want to in return harm the ‘bully.’ Harming the ‘bully’ makes us the very thing we don’t believe in, letting anger and fear turn into hurting someone else. Revenge is simply the bully switching sides. Through the belief in nonviolent compassion, we maximize getting nature back in balance. We do what we say and say what we do. Morally, and spiritually airtight. It doesn’t behoove us because it’s what the philosophy tells us: but because it’s our basic nature, our most salient instinct.

More on this later, esp re Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., the Dalai Lama, Brasilian Jiu-Jitsu, etc.

*This is crucial right here: the ability, and the notion of being able to be aware (one), specify/define (two), react (three), and classify/compare (four) the vast amount of things that happen is of the utmost import. It allows a prioritization, and comparitive analysis that serves to simplify and organize the complex, complicated world and events that pass before us, esp when we get into abstract concepts; values, morals, ethics, justice, etc., AD INFINITUM! My hours upon hours of prowling the U of A (University of Arizona) library at all hours (what is better than 24hr libraries, esp university size, quality ‘braries) and reading Plato, Socrates, Descartes, Nietzche, Russel, Einstein, Weber, Durkheim, etc., AD INFINITUM, while laying on the floor in the aisles, did not go to waste! Anyways ~ the operationalization of events, etc., serve to maximize our collective understanding, and move forward in addressing them. I need to do a seperate post on operationalization: it’s process, meaning, and significance. Duly noted.

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