Carla Naragon started a discussion on a professional blog for Marriage, Family Therapists. This essay was her first post on a new blog. I found it to be thought-provoking.
It’s a longer “read” than you might be used to but take the time. The issue is much larger than just one man, Bin Ladin.
Here’s her post and several of the replies.
“Osama Bin Ladin is dead. It’s on TV, it’s on the radio. It’s in the air and in the water. There is no escaping it. The question is, how should I feel about it?
Or should I meditate on the profound wisdom of Martin Luther King, Jr: ”I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
Perhaps the correct answer is both. There is a part of the human experience that craves revenge and feels hungry for violence. To deny that we are all capable of feeling violent would be a mistake. It would be like denying that water is wet. Ignoring the truth doesn’t make it less true.”
It’s also true that love begets love and violence begets violence. Just like 1+1=2. An eye for an eye, would have us all blind. Punishment is not the answer.
If the human race is to survive and thrive, we need to acknowledge our pain. Feelings and behavior are 2 separate things. We can learn to acknowledge our primal reaction to threat AND behave from a more evolved place. Acts of love and compassion are most needed exactly when it is most difficult. This is as true for the individual as it is for couples, families and communities. What is our planet if not one gigantic human habitat?
We currently live in a culture of “us” and “them”. The news reflects our own internal struggle between the compassionate, warm, loving and generous people we strive to be and the greedy, fearful and aggressive parts of us we struggle to keep in the shadows.
The bottom line: It’s okay to feel anger, hate and rage. It’s not okay to act it out. The human race, along with our planet will thrive if we chose to act from a place of love and compassion. Remember, love begets love and violence begets violence. 1+1=2. If we want a different outcome, we must choose a different action.” by Carla Naragon
A response to Carla:
“His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama emphasized the need to find a distinction between the action and the actor. He said in the case of Bin Laden, his action was of course destructive and the September 11 events killed thousands of people. So his action must be brought to justice, His Holiness said. But with the actor we must have compassion and a sense of concern, he added. His Holiness said therefore the counter measure, no matter what form it takes, has to be compassionate action. His Holiness referred to the basis of the practice of forgiveness saying that it, however, did not mean that one should forget what has been done”
Another response to Carla:
“I think its great that we got a bad guy, the one responsible for the murder of 3,000 innocent Americans on 9/11 and I am feeling a little scared that we may stir up anti-American sentiment among the citizens in the middle east. I would feel a little more celebratory if we reformed the American health care system which send more than 18,000 uninsured people to their deaths annually (that’s 5 times the amount of people killed in 9/11, but in only 1 year).”