Posted by shar on July 3, 2000, at 21:25:40
In reply to Somewhat on the lighter side - ObviousMan..., posted by dj on July 3, 2000, at 20:01:44
Well, bless us all and our diverging views.
Some of the comments I've read have been thought-provoking, some have been scary, some confusing, and some clear and touching.
I want to close out my part in this discussion by reiterating what has probably been the point I would want others to be exposed to:
It is very similar to the quote "A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." (or that may be a misquote.)
or "To thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day..." etc.
or "The better part of valor is honor"
I believe wholeheartedly that what will "save" us, and the earth, and future generations, is each one of us taking personal responsibility for how we live, who we are, what we want the world to be, how we use our energy, what we do about changing things we believe to be harmful to ourselves and others, how we use our resources.
I believe we can't answer the questions "are our hands clean" (as in, are our hands--as a state, country, continent, world--clean?). The only question each one of us can answer is "Are my hands clean?"
My interpretation of "clean hands" doesn't mean one has to be perfect to say yes, or abandon feeling anger, rage, torment. It means, to me, am I doing everything I reasonably can to address the issues that concern me (could be environmental, political, feminist, civil rights, hunger, animal rights, homelessness, mental health) in a way that doesn't harm myself or others.
I doubt that I could say "Yes, MY hands are clean" every day or even every week; I have been known to shop when I'm depressed, and I have a typically misspent youth...But, overall, I don't think I could live with myself if I didn't do what I could when I could.
When JFK said "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" I think that is how things change on a national level and a world level. What the individual can do, what one will do. It's never my goal to force my beliefs on others (although I will certainly talk about them!) because people will believe what they want. That is why individual action becomes so important. And if there is a like-minded group with which I can pool resources, all the better. I will leave the killing to un-like-minded people (and, I CAN understand the idea of harming others in the name of a cause--talk about Karmic costs....!).
While I'm not familiar with social psych theory on cognitive dissonence at the level of the collective unconscious, I know on the individual level, research shows that it is usually solved by the person taking some fairly immediate action or alignment with others.
On a different note, I believe that people should be respectful of each other to the extent humanly possible. If one agrees with the Wiccan Law of Three, it only makes sense to do so. (And there is also "Harm none, and do as thou wilt")
BTW, on a personal note, I am an Air Force brat, raised in the military, and very familiar with the different types of people one typically finds there, and spent many nights listening to long discussions of wars that have been and those expected to come, and the men and women who served and died, some of whom were as family to me. So, I sort of grew up in the middle of war-thought.