The loss of life for any reason is always to be commiserated with and in instances of collective horror such as the terrorist attacks that have recently beset the West, the heart of oceanic humanity breaks a bit more.
With that said, our social media feeds become filled with national colors and heartful memes in solidarity with members of the human family hit by unthinkable tragedy. It is right to do so. But it is also right to understand that tragedies are occurring all around us, in our own nations as well as others, every single day. Middle-aged whites in the US are killing themselves with drugs and alcohol and poor eating habits at a rate never seen before. They are hopeless and despairing as the American dream fades. Blacks remain mired in the same hopelessness caused by the same reasons, economic and social, with the added addition of racism and eugenic tactics centuries in the formation. Native Americans on Reservations continue to experience the effects of genocide, a program running in the collective American consciousness since this nation’s inception. The deaths add up and fade into consciousness as the background cries of the disillusioned and dehumanized.
Inhumanity reigns and the statistics state that people have been growing less and less compassionate toward each other for decades in this nation. These computers and smart phones draw us together but also tear us apart, the virtual world is as real as the real one. People spend hours per day jacked into the matrix, seamlessly moving between one and the other. Death by texting is on the rise, porn increases objectification and consumer culture further consolidates the banality of social interaction and heart-based intimacy.
These realities indicate a crisis of the soul. Of the heart. When we are upset and outraged about one group of people but care nothing for others, something is very wrong. When there is compassion for those whom we might share something in common with and lack of compassion for those with whom we do not, there is a division of the heart, a dehumanization that speaks to the pervasivity of mainstream media programming of the mind.
Perhaps those who say humanity cannot change are right. Perhaps this is the best we can do. But perhaps it is also true that by consciously examining the memes and events and seeking to understand the issues at levels beyond those trumpeted in the mainstream we will come to realize that we have more in common with the Oppressed everywhere than the privileged so many of us wish to join in their glass mansions and private retreats. It is in the experience of self as seen through the eyes of others and experienced in the visceral engagement of souls on an eternal journey that true empathy and compassion are known.
When life ends, all that matters is the love. The love we give and the love we receive. The divisions dissipate. Living as if each one of us was from Beirut, or Paris, or Chicago, or Kenyan, every, single, day, and sharing our portion of love is how the dogs of war are banished. How the flames of hate are extinguished. The source is never what we are told and the cause goes back so far in the past that the effect is shrouded in mystery.
Share this outpouring of love with the world. Feel the pain of all those sacrificed on the alters of political and economic gain. Those next door, down the street, in the next city and state, and even across the nation. We must stand in solidarity with those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice, but the war is not just between nations and ideologies. The war is within each of us. Every, single day.