[lit-ideas] A Prescription for Peace

  • From: JimKandJulieB@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2006 19:52:25 EST

 
 
This is such a  wonderful article -- it's long, so I copied & pasted what I 
thought was the  most amazing portion of it.  If you read, truly read the 20 
"realizations"  you will find why I sent this.  Absolutely profound and 
wonderful
.  I  think I'm going to print them and put them on my wall somewhere. 
A Prescription for Peace 
 
Teaching Tommy During an Era of Fascism  Doug  Soderstrom, Ph.D. Psychologist 
- <gdsoderstrom@xxxxxxxxx> 


Then, after having  spent forty years as a psychologist teaching at the 
college level, my sentiments  have not changed; we, as teachers, have done a 
terrible thing.  We have  chosen to mislead our students.  We have led them to 
believe things that  are simply not true.  Rather than educating them, arming 
them 
with the  knowledge necessary to understand “the realities of the life,” we 
have  inadvisably placed an inordinate emphasis upon preparing youth for the  
workplace, essentially training them to become robot-like cogs in the machinery 
 of mankind.  Rather than vesting them with the power to think for  
themselves, the power to reason in a critical manner, the sagacity to 
understand  the 
complex nature of the moral dilemmas set before us, we have, through the  power 
of propaganda, chosen to domesticate our youth, deciding that it is  
preferable that they become flag-waving patriots, loyalists, apologists  
chauvinistically pledging their allegiance to the Fatherland. This, paired with 
 a 
combat-contingent reinstatement of the military draft (H.R. 4752: Universal  
National 
Service Act of 2006) coupled with President Bush’s No Child Left Behind  Act 
(Section 9528) that has apparently given military recruiters (who quite  often 
do not tell our kids the truth) the nearly unprecedented right to roam the  
halls of our public schools demanding the name, address, and telephone number 
of 
 each and every student in the country….…. and we may well be looking at a  
lead-up to that which occurred in the 1930’s as Adolph Hitler 
“brown-shirted” 
 the youth of Germany assuring there would be a ready supply of soldiers to 
serve  in combat.    
 
Decidedly, such is no  way to raise children unless we, as a people, have 
decided that we do not want  our children to possess the soundness of mind, the 
skills, necessary to carry  out the astonishingly difficult task of maintaining 
the cumbersome complexities  of a democratic republic. 
 
Consequently, as  a counterbalance to the many myths (fictions, fantasies, 
and fabrications)  taught in our public schools, I am proposing that youth be 
taught to respect the  wonderful elegance of peace, love, and justice, that our 
children understand the  terrible dreadfulness of war, hate, and injustice, 
that they appreciate the  gravity, the paramount import, of facing the reality 
of the world in which they  live, that they develop the character, even the 
wisdom, to realize  that:
 

    1.  Every human being is  sacred, that regardless of one’s sex, race, 
status, economic condition, creed,  color, nationality, religion, or sexual 
orientation, nothing is of greater  value than that of protecting the right for 
everyone to be treated with  respect.  
    2.  Each and every human  being is first, and foremost, a valued member 
of the human family, and then,  and only then, a citizen of any particular 
nation, that reversing the order of  these will, without exception, distort 
one’s 
relationship with his fellowman  leading to an increased likelihood of mutual 
misunderstanding, conflict, and,  in the long run, war.  
    3.  Peace is a far better  thing than war, that each of us, as human 
beings, has a moral responsibility  to use our energy and talents to move the 
world toward peace, love, and  justice, and thus away from that of war, hate, 
and 
injustice.  
    4.  From the very  beginning our country has been enmeshed in violence.  
First, there was  the decision to go to war with the British Empire.  Then a 
near-genocidal  attempt to destroy the American Indian, the original 
inhabitants of our  country, followed by a centuries-long exploitation of the 
Black 
race.   Along with this, our country has a time-honored tradition of conflict 
with 
a  multitude of others: threatening to destroy our adversaries (nations 
unwilling  to align themselves with that of our interests) through the use of 
an 
arsenal  of deadly (many of them nuclear) weapons; willingly participating in 
the  overthrow of numerous popularly elected governments unwilling to abide by 
our  rules; demanding that other countries allow us the right to exploit their  
natural resources in order to maintain our own standard of living; has been,  
and perhaps still is, involved in the trafficking of drugs around the world;  
assassinates foreign leaders, aids terrorists, and supports “death squads;” 
 
has committed a multitude of crimes against humanity; has allowed the CIA, an 
 organization much like that of the Mafia, to terrorize the world; kidnaps  
suspects and tortures prisoners; imprisons more of its own people than any  
other country in the world; is the only nation in the West that kills it’s 
own  
people through the use of the death penalty; is an international pariah, a  
true maverick, refusing to work with the rest of the world in order to resolve  
problems confronting humanity; has a long and varied history of aligning  
itself with a rather vicious assortment of dictators, tyrants, and despots  
willing 
to do our bidding at the expense of their own people; and, as such, is  
increasingly beginning to resemble the fascist movements of Adolph Hitler in  
his 
nascent 1930’s attempt to take over the world.  
    5.  Capitalism, an  economic system in which it is assumed that 
self-interest (exclusive concern  for one’s own family and personal welfare) 
is an 
undeniable good, that greed  can (and perhaps should) be tolerated, that one 
ought 
to be allowed (and  perhaps even encouraged) to make as much money as 
possible, that the right to  own property is inalienable, and that equality 
(the 
relatively equal  distribution of goods among folks) is, for the most part, of 
little or no  value, and that capitalism, as an economic arrangement, is in no 
way  preferable to that of socialism, an  economic system that cherishes a 
relatively high degree of equality amongst  its citizens (the right for 
everyone to 
share in and to have access to “the  basics of life”), while simultaneously 
encouraging individuals to overcome the  temptation to be indolent (lazy 
and/or unproductive) by mandating that each  has a moral responsibility to 
share 
with others, as indicated by Karl Marx’s  aphorism, “From each according to 
his 
abilities, to each  according to his needs,” the early Christian communist 
(communalist)  expectation that each share his/her belongings with others, 
along 
with the  prophet Jesus’ (Mark 10:17-27)  advice  to “the Rich Young 
Ruler” 
concerning what must be done in order to be saved,  what one must do in order 
to inherit eternal life…… “Go and sell all of your  possessions, and give 
the 
proceeds to the poor, and then, and only then, will  it be possible for you 
to be saved,” but, as we are told, since the Rich Young  Ruler had great 
possessions, he (like many of us no doubt would) in fact did  leave with a 
saddened 
and grievous heart…….  much like that of  “the  camels of antiquity;” 
it is 
a very difficult thing for those with money to  humble themselves to the point 
of crawling on bare knees through the  “proverbial eye of a needle!”    
    6.  From the very  beginning, the United States has been a class-based 
society in which the  government, for all practical purposes, has served the 
interests of the rich,  and more or less been forced to tolerate the poor, 
while 
allowing those of the  middle class, those who happen to work for a living 
(sometimes referred to as  “wage slaves”), to remain eternally nervous out 
of a 
deeply-ingrained fear of  losing their jobs thus enabling those in power to 
maintain control over  workers, folks with seemingly little, or no, concern for 
those at the  bottommost levels of society, those (the indigent poor, those of 
color, others  “down on their luck,” Viet Nam and Iraq War veterans, and 
those who are  mentally ill) with little or no opportunity to make it to the 
top….
… no matter  how hard they try.  
    7.  The United States of  America, as well as Israel, by virtue of their 
eagerness to go to war, their  apparent willingness to plunder and pillage 
other lands have, without  question, become the most hated of nations in the 
world, and that the  President of our country, George Walker Bush, due to 
having 
formulated a  preemptive military policy (one that mandates a right to destroy 
any nation  threatening our right to control the world) paired with that of a 
foreign  policy that shows very little respect for that of other nations, has 
become  the most hated man on Earth.  
    8.  The citizens of our  country ought to be ashamed of having allowed 
the phrase, “In God We Trust,”  to have been placed upon our coins, the 
very 
emblem expressing an assiduous  craving to consume, even to devour, more and 
more things, a hypocritical  tendency to say one thing, but to do another, the 
fact that our nation has,  for all practical purposes, never placed its faith 
in 
God, but rather in  something much more tangible; an unrestrained need to 
generate more and more  wealth (that of an increasingly large gross national 
product), individual and  corporate assets protected by a military arsenal 
ready 
and willing to destroy  any nation audacious enough  to interfere.  
    9.  Organized religion  has become an astonishingly complex problem for 
nearly every nation, that,  along with the good, it is rather evident that 
religion has become one of the  primary, if not the primary, cause of war, 
violence, and death, that it would  be much better if individuals were less 
inclined 
to be religious, less  inclined to regard themselves as “masters of the 
universe,” folks so  ethnocentrically predisposed that they seem to have 
little 
doubt that they  have received the divine right to determine who it is that 
will 
go to Heaven  versus who it is that needs to be punished in Hell, a people so 
terribly  arrogant that their lot in life would be much improved if they were 
willing to  relinquish such piety, replacing it with something much more 
genuine such as  an authentic interest in serving the legitimate needs of the 
human 
family.   
    10. The rights of  citizens, as indicated in The Bill of Rights, were not 
given to the people,  rather such rights have always been earned, essentially 
taken from the firm  grip of a government never inclined to give freedom to 
its people, either  through the power of the law or through an unrelenting 
willingness of folks to  engage in acts of civil disobedience, suggesting that 
teachers have a  responsibility to make sure that students not only understand 
the principles  of civil disobedience, but that they might have an extended 
opportunity to  learn how to implement (to carry out in an effective and 
efficient 
manner)  well-intentioned acts of civil disobedience.  
    11. It is important that  one be honest, that one be honest with God, 
himself, as well as with others,  that one summon the courage to tell the 
truth, 
a realization that veracity  must not be compromised, a rather simple 
recognition that the most dangerous  thing one can do is to tell the truth, to 
say 
that which nobody wants to hear,  a resolute willingness to be a maverick (even 
that of a whistle blower), to be  one who can be counted on to tell the truth 
regardless of the consequences.   
    12. It is important that  one be a man or woman of integrity, one who is 
governed by one’s conscience,  the rudder of one’s soul, that which 
empowers 
the human spirit, impels an  individual to live in such a way that one’s 
values affirm the sacredness of  life, that which directs an individual to 
treat 
others in a manner that one  would like to be treated, that which sets in 
motion 
an empathic resolve to  make sure that “the least of us” are treated with 
respect, a precondition for  that of self-respect.  
    13. It is important that  one have humility, an inner power manifested by 
those who understand that they  are no better than anyone else, a rather calm 
and unpretentious realization  that one’s accomplishments are of no special 
significance, no doubt the only  known cure for those shackled by the chains of 
conceit so terribly central to  that of arrogance.   
    14. It is important that  one have the faith to doubt, a simple 
recognition that no one, no human being,  has “a direct pipeline to God,” 
that no one 
can authoritatively tell another  what he or she must believe, that, like it 
or not, no human being has the  capacity to comprehend “the truth of God,” 
that, as a human being, one has no  choice but to face the fact of 
“ontological 
uncertainty,” the fact that truth  (the perfect knowledge of God) is 
necessarily “off limits” to man, that  although one has an existential 
responsibility 
to search for truth, one must  do so realizing that what is searched for will 
never (can never) be found,  leaving one with little choice but to accept the 
fact that whatever one is  able to find will emerge only if one has the 
fearlessness to question anything  and everything (God, one’s church, one’s 
parents, 
one’s nation, the law,  society, others, but, most importantly, that of one’
s self), that nothing  should be taken for granted, that skepticism (the 
willingness to question)  should rule the day, that answers, in and of 
themselves, 
are of little value,  whereas the great questions of life represent the engine 
of knowledge, that if  one is to muster the courage to search for truth, it 
is essential that one  appreciate the perilous nature of such a journey, 
realize that such a trek  requires the absolute courage of one’s convictions, 
the 
sureness of self, the  existential capacity to confront “the incredible 
incomprehensibility of  eternity.”   
    15. It is important that  one become self-reliant, that one develop the 
skills necessary for  self-governance, that one develop the capacity to think 
things out for one’s  self accompanied by a firm resolution that one must 
never 
allow one’s self to  become a servile slave of the status quo, that one must 
resist the temptation  to go along with the crowd, to become “a good ole 
boy,”
 an organizational man,  or that of a team player.  
    16. It is important that  one develop the defiant power of the human 
spirit, a tenacious, absolutely  indefeasible, willingness to overcome any and 
all 
odds, an  inexorable   unwillingness to allow anything or anyone to “keep one 
 down,” an ontological resolve to surmount the “tough times of life,” a  
courageous commitment to respond to tragedy by saying “yes to life.”  
 
17.   It is important that one find meaning in  life, an ontological reason 
for which to live, an existential willingness to  move beyond the superficial 
pleasures of life such as that of money, power,  reputation, status, success, 
and the acquisition of things, an effort to acquire  a transpersonal interest, 
a willingness to give one’s life for something greater  than one’s self, a 
resolve to live one’s life for God, for one’s children, a  beneficent cause 
(such as that of Martin Luther King’s commitment to civil  rights), or 
perhaps 
even a career that might enable one to serve the best  interests of mankind.  
    1.  It is important that  one develop an empathic concern for others, the 
willingness to place one’s  self into “the shoes” of another person, the 
capacity to view the world from  the perspective of folks unlike one’s self, 
even 
those of a foreign nation, a  resolve to overcome the narrow-minded confines 
of one’s own cultural  conditioning demanding that we glorify the deeds of 
our 
own nation, while  simultaneously damning those of our enemy, a blind 
presumption that we, as a  nation, are always right whereas our enemy is, 
without 
question, always wrong,  a programming that has taught us to live our lives 
according to the Lex  Talionis (red in tooth and claw) Law of Retribution, that 
there is nothing  wrong with that of hating one’s enemy, that during a time 
of 
war we should be  proud of a willingness to kill the enemy, that any effort to 
place ourselves  in the shoes of an enemy (to want to understand, and therefore 
forgive, him as  a human being who is in no way different from that of 
ourselves) has become  equated with that of having become an apostate, a 
turncoat, a 
traitor, a  disloyal American willing to collaborate with the enemy, an 
arrogance so  profoundly ignorant that we, as citizens, seem to be left with 
little 
choice  but to follow the Machiavellian edict to simply “do away with” 
those 
we have  been taught to hate.  
    2.  It is important that  we develop an appreciation for the fact of 
death, the fact that each and  everyone of us will one day die, an existential 
reminder that if we are to be  good stewards of our lives, we must live each 
day 
as if it was our last day on  Earth, that, because we have only a limited 
amount of time to get done “what  must be done,” we must take seriously the 
imperative that we live a good and  decent life, for without such an 
inclination, 
we will certainly miss the mark,  miss the existential responsibility to make 
the most of our lives.  
    3.  Finally, it is  necessary that we comprehend our responsibility in 
regards to the future, in  regards to those who will populate the planet once 
we 
die, the mandate that we  respect, that we have a true reverence for, life, 
that we honor and respect  the needs of those who will follow in our footsteps, 
that we be willing to  defend the Earth from the awful onslaught of progress, 
that we, as a people,  be willing to live with less, that we put an end to 
the practice of plundering  and pillaging our planet, that we understand that 
anything less than this may  well lead to the decimation, perhaps even the 
annihilation of, the human  race.

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