Yup I’m causing them all. So are you. So is everyone. No one is immune, and we are all responsible. You may beg to differ, but I’m going to beg to differ on that beg! And here’s why.
Even the most enlightened and peaceful person on the planet was still born with the same human brain. And that brain is built of polar opposites. Polarities create conflict. In fact, they can’t not. It’s the nature of our universe and of our human condition. We are both light and dark, feminine and masculine, magnetic and electric, feeling and thinking, unconscious and conscious. And those opposing parts of us seldom agree. So while that peaceful person may work consciously and diligently at dismantling the harmful aspects of those polarities, the fact is that they still exist. I also work diligently at dismantling them because I understand how detrimental it can be when we don’t. Obviously, not all of us do that kind of self-reflection and active inner work. Some of us do, some of us don’t. The problem is that even that last statement I just made, no matter how well-intentioned, instantly creates another polarity for us: an us-versus-them schemata in our brains. We will identify with either the group of folks that dismantle, or the folks that don’t. The group of folks that we don’t identify with – they instantly become the “them”. And around the polarity / conflict wheel we go.
We can feel really good about ourselves if we’re vegan, environmentally friendly, spiritual, mindful or athletic. It means that we’re making the effort to do the “right thing”. And herein lies the problem. If we think we’re doing the right thing, then all the meat-eating, suv-driving, atheist, unmindful couch-lovers must be doing the “wrong” thing. In our minds, we just created a conflict. We just pitted “us” against “them”. Fairly innocently at first, for sure. But a person doing a “wrong thing”, in our minds, very easily becomes “a wrong person”. Take that a few steps further, and we have prejudice, bias, stereotype. Another step beyond, and we have moral, religious and social violence. One more step – war.
If we had worked to dismantle that conflict at any step, we would never have arrived at war. Ideally – if we could dismantle it at the very first thought – that there even is such a thing as right or wrong – we wouldn’t have to dismantle it later when it has already become ingrained into our thoughts and beliefs and behaviours. If we could view our lives and our world as just a series of choices made along an endless spectrum of choice that is neither good nor bad, we could end the conflict within us. We could “partner” the dualing aspects of ourselves, and then that conflict would go no further than us. It wouldn’t grow and spill out into our relationships, communities, societies and globe. It would end with us personally.
All war begins – and it can end – with me. And you.