The world has experienced, throughout recorded history, perpetual holocausts. What is it that twists us to become so much less than we really are, forces us to violate each other, and deny responsibility? Can we face and transcend that which moves us to “live backwards”?
April 15, 2007 . . . Today I went with my 15 year-old daughter to Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Jewish Community Center in Rochester, New York. It had been years since I had attended this event, and in addition to my daughter’s required attendance, with a request for parents to accompany their children, I felt very drawn to attend without quite knowing why. I had lost many relatives in the Holocaust during World War II in Europe, most of whom I’ve never known.
When I was my daughter’s age I read voraciously about Hitler’s genocide of the Jewish people. Born in 1950, I was well aware that my existence only occurred because my parents were born and grew up on the opposite side of the Atlantic. I knew other children in my neighborhood and my classes whose parents were survivors of the Holocaust. I heard stories that gave me nightmares for years – horrible, heartrending stories recited in full detail by my Hebrew school teachers.
As I got older I read just as voraciously about so many other Holocausts – Turkey’s murder of the Armenians, America’s murder of the Native Americans, Germany’s murder of the gypsies and homosexuals, Japan’s murder of the Chinese.
The Gene of Viciousness
We have our own extensive, ghoulish list today. As I write, Darfur mass murder continues, and so many others, endlessly.
What is it in our psyche that makes us carry this gene of viciousness? Of abuse? Of raging fear so huge it initiates killing endlessly with no stopping? Of desperately lying, to, in becoming totally inhuman, convince the world of others’ inhumanness? Are we that puny? That cowardly? That ignorant? That inadequate?
A Global Holocaust
We decimate the earth the way we continue to decimate each other. We now face a global holocaust as our legacy for so extensively violating this entire planet, that our children’s children may not survive it. And still the lying, the killing, the dehumanizing, the abuse, the desecration continues.
I believe we need look no further than the depths of our own soul’s record to face the tragedy of our core fault. Here is my accompanying admission, then, of karma, of evil, which only spells “live” – BACKWARD:
Ask These Questions
Have I ever lied about another to mindlessly attempt to boost myself? Have I rendered another as a nonhuman by objectifying and prejudicing him to justify some aspect of an abusive response? Have I rationalized my own cowardice and ignorance by running down another?
What does it take for us to face ourselves? To simply acknowledge the existence of what Carl Jung calls our shadow? It is just that part of us that so desperately needs our heart to shine its compassionate, truthful light on it. It is just that part of us that cries out for healing, for comforting, for forgiveness, for higher direction.
How We Can Save Ourselves
I find myself once more moved to call on my most favorite tale, “The Wizard of Oz”, and remember that this amazing fable offers this magical recipe as the miracle of how we can save ourselves:
We must ruthlessly and wholeheartedly mix the innocence and trust of the freed inner child with the courage to admit our core cowardice, allowing ourselves to be lovingly coerced into higher, more empowered choices. Then we add our unabashed foolishness and innate common sense with the hole and whole of our breaking heart, and voila! The miracle unfolds, and we heal ourselves and each other. We STOP the violation, the lying, the projection, the genocide within and without, to ourselves, to each other, to this shaken world we can only just live in.
Together in Peace
Together . . . forever . . . we go . . . in peace, the most courageous, mind-full, challenging, ongoing choice of all.