Neither Victims Nor Executioners

Who am I? Am I a murderer? Am I an accomplice of murderers?

camus-per-brescia

Albert Camus was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1957, the second youngest writer to receive this honor. He died three years later in an automobile accident. “Neither Victims nor Executioners,” one of his writings, appeared serially in the autumn of 1946 in Combat, the daily newspaper of the Resistance, which Camus helped edit during the Nazi occupation and for a short time after the war. It was published in English in the July-August 1947 issue of Politics. What follows is an excerpt of that piece, in which Camus calls for nonviolence and preservation of life.

“All I ask is that, in the midst of a murderous world, we agree to reflect on murder and to make a choice. After that, we can distinguish those who accept the consequences of being murderers themselves or the accomplices of murderers, and those who refuse to do so with all their force and being. Since this terrible dividing line does actually exist, it will be a gain if it be clearly marked. Over the expanse of five continents throughout the coming years an endless struggle is going to be pursued between violence and friendly persuasion, a struggle in which, granted, the former has a thousand times the chances of success than that of the latter. But I have always held that, if he who bases his hopes on human nature is a fool, he who gives up in the face of circumstances is a coward. And henceforth, the only honorable course will be to stake everything on a formidable gamble: that words are more powerful than munitions.” ~ by Albert Camus, translated by Dwight MacDonald.

So, inspired by Camus, I pause and ask myself, “Who am I? Am I a murderer? Am I an accomplice of murderers? Do I send others to kill on my behalf? What part do I play in the killing? In what ways do I benefit from the killing of others?”

The truth is that even I, this flimsy and hesitant promoter of peace, am guilty. For the mere fact that I am a citizen of this country, and a taxpayer, I somewhat contribute to the killing of others. Without regard for my personal opposition to the use of violence, my government sends emissaries to kill, and that is what they do on my behalf. They may not have my explicit consent to do so, but they somehow benefit from my silent connivance, and from a system that ignores my opposition to all forms of violence and killing.

So, I hear Camus asking me, “In the midst of this murderous world, what do you choose?” And my answer is, “I choose life. I choose kindness. I choose communication. I choose active nonviolent resistance to all forms of violence, all forms of oppression and exploitation, all the inhumane forms human beings treat other human beings.”

May we, all of us, make a similar choice. May we all choose life. May we grow in mindfulness, experience oneness, and engage in the work of alleviating other people’s suffering, and that of preserving the planet and all life in it. May we reject violence and killing. May we believe in the intrinsic goodness of man and the power of nonviolent, friendly persuasion to dispel tensions and solve conflicts. May we live with the conviction that words are more powerful than munitions. May we choose selflessness, modesty, and cooperation, not self-boasting and competition. May we choose peace, always.

~ Piero

P.S. To all my sisters and brothers in arms, independent of what country or group you pledge loyalty to… To all of you engaged in fight and killing… To all of you getting physically and mentally wounded… To all of you trapped in the crossfires… To all of you, the conscientious objectors and deserters… To all of you, all over this world of ours, know that I feel your pain and that I love you all. We are all in this together. I can imagine how hard it may be to do some of the things you are ordered to do. Maybe not thinking about the insanity of all this violence and killing is the only way to cope with it, and maintain some sort of soundness of mind. I can understand that. I can feel the pain. If you are engaged in killing, and if you can find a way out, I hope you exercise this option. Finally, I want you to know that you are loved.

~ Piero


 

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Stay in touch.

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Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

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– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

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– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

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– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

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Piero Falci is the founder of the Silent Peace Walk movement. He is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer and inspirer who encourages people to live lives that matter. He is a promoter of peace who believes that Heaven is here, if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation and mindful living.

An Appeal for Sanity – Part 10 – Stop, Please

Please, stop!

If you are, in any way, involved in hurting and killing other beings, stop, please.

MINDFULNESS AND WORLD PEACE

Peace in my heart brought peace to my family.
Peace in my family brought peace to my community.
Peace in my community brought peace to my nation.
Peace in my nation brought peace to the world.
There is peace on Earth, and it began with me.

We have work to do to restore sanity and peace in our world. We have work to do to tame our savageness and enhance our kindness. This work begins with each one of us. It develops our inner peace, our compassion, our understanding that we are all in this together, our generosity, and our reaching out to those who are lonely and hurting.

We become healers. We become bringers of peace.

WE HAVE WORK TO DO TO RESTORE SANITY AND PEACE IN THIS WORLD OF OURS.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948.

PREAMBLE

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6. Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8. Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10. Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11. (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense. (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14. (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15. (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16. (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17. (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21. (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country. (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22. Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23. (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25. (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26. (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27. (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28. Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29. (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible. (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society. (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.


 

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Let’s stay in touch.

Meetup – http://www.meetup.com/PeacefulWays/events/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/peacefulways

><><><><

Take a look at my books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

www.SilentPeaceWalk.org

www.peacefulways.org

www.DAPAdiversity.com


 

 

Seeing and Not Seeing

when-we-change-wayne-dyer

“When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.”

These words, attributed to Max Planck, the father of the quantum theory in physics, and often used by the late Wayne Dyer, summarize what, for me, should be our priority in life, and the highest goal we should strive for on our journey to create better lives and a better world: we must strive to change the way we look at things in order to see beyond what we currently see.

Let’s explore this “seeing” for a moment. To begin this exploration, let’s entertain the idea — or fact — that we don’t see with our eyes, but with our brains. Some researchers went further and said that our hearts and bodies perceive and apprehend realities before our brains do. In other words, our bodies know the experience before our brain translates it in ways that we can ‘understand’ them. Well, we will save this for another time. For now, let’s stay with the research that shows that we are very selective with our seeing, and that we favor noticing what makes sense to us; we see what is in accordance with what we already know. Very little of what does not confirm our beliefs and our understanding of what is possible and plausible is able to go through our “brain filters.” In other words, the majority of what we let through and let in is what matches our concepts. Apparently, it is very difficult for anyone to see something new if they are not open and deeply committed to do so. Therefore, the first thing to consider is that we are unable to see everything that there is to be seen, and, also, that we may be unable to see what others see. In other words, we cannot be absolutely sure that what others see is what we see, and vice versa.

Let us also contemplate that instead of seeing things freshly — with the eyes of a child, or with the eyes of a curious tourist visiting a place for the first time — we evoke memories of past experiences, and mentally construct images that our brains can understand. For instance, imagine yourself looking at a tree… What do you see? Do you see this particular tree, freshly, in all its uniqueness, or do you muster your past experiences with trees, mentally evoke your ideas of what trees are, construct a mental diagram of a tree, and that’s what you see? Think about it. But what would happen if we didn’t give it a name? What if we didn’t call it a tree? What if we didn’t recall our accumulated notions and ideas about trees? What if we investigated this thing freshly, as something completely new and unknown, something we had never seen before?

So, here are some important questions: “When we look at something, what do we actually see? Do we see reality, or do we see our idea of reality? Do we see an object, or do we build an idea of that object in our brains? Do we see all that there is to be seen, or do filter out what does not match our understanding?”

Maybe there is a lot more out there that is invisible to the eyes. Perhaps we don’t even see a small portion of what there is to be seen because we are lost in our thoughts, notions, and beliefs. Many thinkers came up with the concept of multiverse, and they challenge us to imagine that we are living in a kind of virtual reality, and that there are many such parallel realities. Physicists have been trying to explain to us a new paradigm of energy that challenges our deep-seated concepts of matter, space, and time. Other thinkers talk about the existence of several dimensions, such as the third and fifth dimensions. Theologians express ideas about the material and the spiritual world: in this world, but not of it. Buddhists teach about the relative (also referred to as provisional or conventional) truth, and the ultimate truth, and tell us that our challenge is to reconcile living in this more visible (material) world with the knowing — and without forgetting — that we are also living in a less evident world.

Well, the truth — if there is a truth, which is highly questionable — is that the way we live on this planet is a reflection of the ways we see things, of our understandings of what life is, and of what we accept to be possible. This evokes a saying that goes somewhat like this, “As a man thinks, so is he.”

We don’t see the world as it is, but through our own personal lenses. “Things are seen through the lenses of our desires, prejudices and resentments and are transformed accordingly.” ~ Rune Johannson

Unfortunately, the current paradigm that the majority of us came to agree upon is that life is a violent competition for scarce resources between separated beings congregated in tribes, and that only the strongest survive. In our fear-dominated minds we feel that we must be very careful because we are surrounded by enemies that are coming to get us. We accept life as a never-ending struggle of  ‘us against them.’

But if we change the ways we look at things, we can bring about much better arrangements of living together on this planet. Once we reach a new, evolved consciousness, we will embrace the evident truth that this universe is immensely abundant, and that we don’t need to be so afraid, and compete as much as we do. We will realize that there’s more than enough for everybody here and that we don’t need to be afraid of times of scarcity, and, therefore, that we don’t need to accumulate as much as we do. We will come to our senses and see what is so evident: that our capacity to to invent amazing things that enhance the quality of life has no end. We will reach the conclusion that no one needs to suffer, and that all individuals can be supported to have dignified, thriving, and contributing lives.

Once we incorporate new understandings such as these, we will be able to be a lot kinder, cooperate much more with each other, and bring about a much better world for all.

One of the greatest changes that needs to take place in order for this to occur is our understanding of who we are. We see ourselves as separated beings, detached from one another, with our own individual lives and stories. But what if we challenged all these concepts and expanded the ideas of who we are? Some thinkers say that what we accept as reality is in fact an illusion, and that we are not these separated bodies, separated minds, or separated individuals, but that in all aspects we are one single united and interdependent organism. Again, the acceptance of new paradigms like this depends on the way we look at things, on our curiosity, on our openness to the strange and unknown, and on a firm commitment to work on our own selves and explore.

When we go through profound personal transformations we begin to see what we were not able to see before; we begin to have insights and epiphanies, and new paradigms, full of new possibilities, become visible to us.

The truth is that when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at miraculously change!

One myth that needs to be debunked is that these deep transformational experiences are only available to a few evolved individuals. Nothing could be farther from the truth! These awakenings are accessible to all of those who commit themselves to courageous investigation, exploration, and dedicated inner work. A diligent daily discipline of mental training, such as insight meditation and mindful living, can bring about the desired change because our brains have the ability to reorganize themselves by forming new neural connections throughout life. We can move away from those automatic reactions of our primitive brains, and, with training, bring about more sophisticated and thoughtful ways of responding to stimuli. We can train ourselves to expand the space and time between stimuli and responses. We can train ourselves to use the S.T.O.P. method which reminds us to “Stop, Take a breath, Observe, and only then Proceed.” With practice we can significantly reduce the mindless “fight, flight, or freeze” reactions, and increase the instances when we pause, take time, and choose more mindful responses.

I currently accept that I am not able to see everything that there is to be seen. I accept that I unconsciously discard most of the reality that does not agree with my understanding of what life is and of what is possible. For now, based on where I am on my journey, and the experiences and insights I’ve had, I am calmly embracing both the reality I think I am seeing, and the one I believe exists, but I am not seeing. Therefore, I feel comfortable saying that…

“We are, at the same time, mortal and immortal, human and divine, body and spirit, solid matter and vibrational energy, separated and united, independent and interdependent. We are many, and we are one.”

~ Piero


 

 

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Let’s stay in touch.

Meetup – http://www.meetup.com/PeacefulWays/events/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/peacefulways

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Take a look at my books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

www.SilentPeaceWalk.org

www.peacefulways.org

www.DAPAdiversity.com