Real enemies are fear and intolerance

I was very disturbed by the celebration of the death of our "enemy." This is a dark moment in our society and in our world that will only lead to further darkness. There is no light of peace within violence or hatred. America is not well, it is not well at many levels!

I am not a relativist; however, being a student of anthropology I do respect relativism as a tool. Being a student of psychology, I also value objectivity as a tool, but realize that objectivity is more of a human construct than an actually attainable state, especially when it comes to the volatile cocktail of mixing religion and politics.

Considering that each and every one of us creates our reality through a subjective filter of our interpretive lens, I think that it is primarily idealistic to claim any objectivity within humanity. Not to say that it is not a valuable pursuit, but we must use reflexivity to keep our selves honest and thus be able to account for our biases.

Ashland Rabbi David Zaslow recently spoke at a presentation at Southern Oregon University on religions of the world, and stated how dangerous and misguided religions can be when "God gets an army." Rabbi David is a wise man.

How one deals with death is very revealing of how one thinks, believes, and lives. How one deals with the death of an enemy speaks to even deeper depths of where one is at along the development of being human.

Children are taught to be "good sports," to not gloat over their victory and be respectful to the losing team. If this humility in victory is important on the playing field, then why are we not leading by example within our society with the recent "victory" of the slaying of Osama Bin Laden?

The celebration of the killing of a fellow human, no matter what the individual's behavioral track record is, should not be seen as a joyous event. It should be viewed as the failure that it truly is, a failure of the abilities that supposedly separate us from the "animal world" the ability to reason, negotiate and compromise. Is it easier to celebrate the death of "the enemy" than to look into the mirror and see the real enemies, which are fear and intolerance?

This war and all wars are marketed to the nation as a fight between good and evil; however, the worst type of evil is the kind that hides behind what is passed off to be "good." The politicians of the American War Machine are using this slogan of the battle between good and evil like a cheap whore.

The worst type of violence and hatred is the justified kind, the kind that blinds the one who wields it to its true consequences — more violence and hatred that is transgenerational. Violence and hatred are a black bottomless hole, and when one commits to entering into it one will be searching in vain for the light of peace one believes one is looking for.

There is no light in violence, only darkness. The celebration of the death of an "enemy" that I witnessed in this warring nation that is America was a very dark moment for our society.

Our society has been living in an unhealthy state of fear ever since 9/11 and its negative accumulative effects are expressing themselves through this form of negative maladapted behavior. America is not well, it is not well at many levels and this celebration of the death of Osama Bin Laden is another strong symptom of a degrading society.

True warriors mourn the death of their enemy, because they know that ultimately it is a failure, a failure of humanity.

Stepping back from the American experience, and using as much objectivity as we can, one could ask: Does the American way of life of over-consuming and polluting through our convenient reality that is brought to us by globalization, which directly affects hundreds of millions of people in negative ways, not constitute being evil?

Just as "good" and "evil" must be taken within their cultural, political and historical contexts to fully understand, "morals" should also be evaluated within their context.

"So, let us be alert — alert in a twofold sense:

Since Auschwitz we know what man is capable of.

And since Hiroshima we know what is at stake."

— Viktor E. Frankl

Eric Peterson lives in Central Point.

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