think differently

It is the duty of every cultured person to find all possible ways and means to settle disputes in a peaceful manner, without declaring war to kill his or her fellow human beings. –K. Sri Dhammananda

Religions tell us that killing is wrong. Funny, then, isn’t it, how many wars are fought in the name of religion, and how many exceptions to that plainly spoken rule have been created to justify war, or, if not war, then some “targeted strike”, which will surely kill.

If people want to make a moral argument for military intervention they have to reckon with this in some way. And as far as I can tell the only way to do that is to say you hope you don’t kill quite as many people as the “bad guys” would have killed if you didn’t intervene. That’s not good enough. — Heather Parton

There is no “moral argument” for killing. None whatsoever. Think about it. Killing to prevent killing makes no logical sense. The drive to kill is always an emotional one, always colored by something other than reason. Killing is violence, no matter how it’s done, and violence is a crime of passion, always. Anger, hatred, jealousy, hubris, arrogance. A human being cannot kill another without that passion, and with it, reason is lost. The words “humanitarian” and “war” don’t belong in the same breath, at least not without the stipulation that they are irreconcilable.

Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime. Ask the infantry and the dead. — Ernest Hemingway

file00024844479

Enmity creates more enmity. Al Qaeda killed thousands when its “martyrs” flew passenger planes into US buildings. It pissed us off. We retaliated. That pissed them off. It started long before that, and we’re still fighting, still killing. Still escalating.

That’s different, some say. There’s no negotiating with terrorists who want to kill us. That may well be true, but to become like them, to react in kind, does that stop their desire, their attempts to kill?

No.

In truth, there’s no negotiating for peace. We go about seeking peace the wrong way. Seeking a “quick fix”, we try to force it. There’s no more logic in that than there is in killing to prevent killing.

Treaties, pacts and peace formulae have been adopted and millions of words have been spoken by countless world leaders throughout the world who proclaim that they have found the way to maintain and promote peace on earth. But for all their efforts, they have not succeeded in removing the threat to man-kind. The reason is that we have all failed to educate our young to truly understand and respect the need for selfless service and the danger of selfishness. To guarantee true peace, we must use every method available to us to educate our young to practise love, goodwill and tolerance towards others. — K. Sri Dhammananda

I can’t say that war is evil, violence is bad and killing is wrong, because the truth of it is beyond such simplistic concepts. I can say that war, violence and killing won’t bring us any closer to peace, happiness or security than we already are, and that they most likely will take us further away.

That’s especially so if our motivation is anger or spite, hatred or rage. Or some misguided belief that we are morally superior.

To obtain peace, we must train our minds to face facts. We must be objective and humble. We must realize that no one person, nor one nation is always wrong. To obtain peace, we must also share the richness of the earth, not necessarily with equality but at least with equity. There can never be absolute equality but surely there can be a greater degree of equity. — K. Sri Dhammananda

That last part might be a little hard for some of us, starting with discerning the difference between equality and equity (not the kind you may or may not have in your home). Hard, too, to grasp — after millennia of warfare — that something so simple as kindness could make even the slightest dent in the harshness of life.

War is like a fire in the human community, one whose fuel is living beings. — the 14th Dalai Lama

Did I say simple? Yes, it’s a simple idea, but it’s not the least bit easy. Much easier to launch missiles, troops or diatribes against whatever, or whomever, we perceive as an enemy. To extend a hand, to understand, to stand by in the face of horror — those are some of the most difficult things in the world to undertake. And maybe even impossible.

Using chemical weapons against civilians is horrible. So is using an atomic bomb, an automatic weapon, a knife or a fist. These are degrees of the same thing, and we can’t stop one by using another.

The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. — Martin Luther King Jr

Congress may very well authorize a US attack on Syria for its crimes against its own population. Syria won’t be happy. The downward spiral continues until enough of us step outside the madness, until enough of us know the pain any act of violence causes to us all. Then we can start to change the world.

###
KC Wildmoon

KC Wildmoon

KC Wildmoon is an accidental journalist who never even bothered to finish school since her accounting major was incredibly boring. Instead, she opted for being a minor rock star and annoying as many government officials as possible on a regular basis. After 16 years at CNN, she's now doing forensic journalism for Ireland-based Storyful.