I’ve never understood the premise of war and have yet to see evidence of a that choice ever eliminating or resolving the problem it was trying to solve, yet we continue to make that choice, time and time again.
We declare war on almost anything we don’t like these days. A war on terrorism, a war on drugs, a war on crime, even wars against each other.
I don’t deny the existence of evil in our world and the poisonous effects it has on our society, however I’m pretty confident in saying that the effects of poison in any host cannot be reversed from the addition of more poison.
I think what we fail to recognize with this idea of eliminating someone or something we deem as evil, is that in order to rid ourselves of this menacing element, we must do something evil in order to achieve it.
We must kill the killers.
Although we may attain short-term success in defeating our enemy, don’t we in fact, also become them?
We haven’t really eliminated the evil at all, we have merely substituted one evil act with another and justified it through a lens of freedom, democracy or sometimes, even God.
If war is inevitable, as some might suggest, then shouldn’t we at least begin by building an army filled with individuals who act as an antiserum to that poison rather than creating more poison?
Rather than fighting fire with fire, it seems to me that it would be wiser for us to start building surpluses of water instead.
And that water is love.
There are many who roll their eyes at the idea of choosing love over fear, emphatically denying the possibility of such a notion ever being successful; yet it was.
In 1947, after thirty years of choosing a non-violent approach against what he deemed to be an oppressing British empire, Mohandas Gandhi did indeed achieve success in the realization of an independent India.
It’s true that what transpired afterwards is debatable, that violence was not eradicated entirely in that country and more work was, and is still needed.
What cannot be debated however is that this first step of choosing non-violence in the face of violent oppression was a success, demonstrating that love can indeed overcome fear.
Love is a pretty big word that many of us generally use to describe huge amounts of “like.”
Maybe the time has come for us all to begin a dialogue to better understand what this word means in a variety of situations, not just with our accustomed pleasurable and romantic definitions.
For me, choosing love in the face of violence simply means making choices that are not based from fear, to “be the change I wish to see in the world” as Gandhi once said, and choose a response that is in alignment with end result I want to achieve.
It’s not just with the larger challenges in my world but also with the smaller ones, the people I encounter professionally as well as the ones I hold near and dear to my heart.
It’s not easy and many times I get discouraged and struggle to find that place inside, yet I am comforted by the words that this brave man of India once shared when asked how he rose above that same deflating feeling.
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it – always.”
What are your thoughts? (comments below)