Demons in the City of Love

A planned “terrorist” assault hit Paris with force. Over a hundred people were killed during the rampage. The perpetrators, according to news sources (mainstream and alternative), came in with AK-47’s and bombs strapped to their bodies. The worst part of the attack happened at a concert hall. That is where the majority of the causalities took place. The attackers fired their machine guns into the crowd for ten minutes. It was a blood and body filled execution chamber. I will not fill in more of the gruesome details.

Following the incident, a myriad of culture priests emerged to uncover and excise the demons who were responsible for the act. That is silly, though. I think finding out who planned the atrocity can be important, but seeking revenge and wreaking arbitrary havoc is not the appropriate nor humanitarian response to this travesty. Matter of fact, it only exacerbates warmongering and the chances of receiving a counterattack. I think justice might be necessary but there are more pressing matters.

As an empathetic type who wants to understand and feel with people, I think it is necessary to mourn with the victims and their families. Of course, this does not mean blindly “praying” for the victims. It means taking on the burden of pain: to live with their horror and heartache, if only momentarily. It means trying to make sense of the agony, without automatically resorting to aimless revenge scenarios and blind political scare tactics. Examining emotions and their content should be a priority for healthy healing and mutual understanding.

Of course, everyone will also feel hatred and anger towards the assailants. This is a also normal emotional response to a victim-based tragedy, and it should be expressed and explored in an acceptable way. However, the foremost emotion these incidents cause is loss. The people who lost family and friends will experience debilitating sadness for their loved ones, and it is a sensation that no level of revenge will satiate. Thus, everyone must do anything they can to memorialize the victims and spread heartfelt and genuine emotions. They must be totally present for the victims. When the grieving process ends, then everybody can address how to prevent further atrocities. But how?

People have to empathize and appreciate each other regardless of geographical and regional differences. They have to learn to love even though they harbor distinct religious and moral visions, and have likely killed each other in the past. This is likewise why I believe that creating emotional connection in lieu of rage and hatred will yield the best results. If people resort to uncontrolled and frenzied anger all that will manifest is endless violence, like the endless violence that currently blots the world in blood. Unfortunately, people’s governments and bureaucratic leaders promote a tribal mentality that summons the demons inside people and escalates problems. It puts people into a trance that is infused by a crazy-eyed desire to kill anyone from any country. This is the problem of tribal acculturation and it effects every point of the human psyche.

It is the reason humans do violence to other humans. If people have been raised in brutal and barbaric environments they will grow up ready to hurt and kill, especially if they remained in these hostile atmospheres throughout adulthood. Many cultures even praise violence and ugliness, generally in the antiseptic and patriotic language of State or religion worship. This is all part of early indoctrination.

Folks must do everything in their power to escape the madness. The best way to do this is through empathy and focused love, and to authentically care about other humans, regardless if they demonstrate the urge for evil. However, first everyone must introspect and tackle their own emotions, which requires work and dedication. It is nonetheless vital.

I am not suggesting that people should accept idle pacifism. They should not purposely seek revenge and allow resentment to swell. Personally, I try not to hate. I focus on love. Yet I reject culture, statism, and all other formulas for violence on principle. I do not defend or validate institutions that represent hatred and violence. Those types of institutions must be removed and replaced with institutions that manufacture and disseminate love and concern. And governments do not allow that. Many other religious institutions do not provide that, either, and so I reject them as well. But if a person can find peace and love through religion and maintain consistent of thought, religion can be a powerful religious tool for peace.

The violence caused by cultural transmission is thus a two-way street. It is something that not only “people over there” have to do. It is something everyone must submit to. Everyone must peer deep into themselves and discover the treasure of peace protected delicately by their soul. It is the only way humankind can escape the vicious cycle of violence they have habituated themselves; and it is a necessity, lest humans remain trapped inside the monkey body of impulsive and reactionary hatred.

“On either side of a potentially violent conflict, an opportunity exists to exercise compassion and diminish fear based on recognition of each other’s humanity. Without such recognition, fear fueled by uninformed assumptions, cultural prejudice, desperation to meet basic human needs, or the panicked uncertainty of the moment explodes into violence.”

—Aberjhani, Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays

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