Questioning a sense of UNITY derived through war

It's interesting to note how the sense of unity we derive from being in a war is often mistaken for true and genuine collaboration and human unity. Yet, when we feel such a sense of togetherness while also taking sides, we must always question whether we are indeed united on principles that foster true togetherness and honorable and noble values.

I was a teenager when I first heard the lyrics to John Lennon's Imagine. These lines below spoke to me very strongly
"Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace"
I have often wondered could we really exist and be together without also feeding this need to be on one side of a war, a country, or even a religion. Let's look at sports for example. This past week, I got to see the pre-game chats on TV that happen right before the Superbowl. As a woman and a novice in matters of sports I was utterly shocked at the intensity of emotion and almost over-the-top touchy-fealy expressiveness of the men. It was very obvious that to some people, these events have taken on a crusade-like feel. It fed a very basic human need to be on one side, and root for it as hard as one could.

The other day I was driving and saw a bumper sticker that read, "God Bless The United States of America." Whenever I see these stickers I wonder why not ask God to bless the whole world, while you're at it. What makes the people in the USA more deserving of blessing? I think again, in trying to feed our need to be on the 'right team', we fail to see the enormous potential of genuine human togetherness. Patriotism and people who are way over the top in being patriotic often evoke the same questions to come up in my mind.

There are more subtle ways we all try to get our way to the right 'team' every day. I use to work at another school where a coworker was very religious. I did not mind hearing about her belief, I was very curious about how she defined her universe and all the mysteries that come with it. Interestingly, at the end of my time there I came to realize she had no idea what my beliefs were or that I was a Buddhist. To me this proves that in absence of information, our minds tend to categorize people into 'teams' anyway.

I have come to learn that to find true peace one must systematically de-categorize all people in our lives (including ourselves) and value and use purely what is tangible and true, before us. I have also come to realize this de-categorizing takes enormous effort, for it's not innate in us humans to not categorize each other. Our egos are constantly categorizing at all available opportunities. In categorizing we feel a quick and cheap sense of being on the 'right' and justify stagnancy in our growth. I have found that true peace is found when we rise above the ego-driven sense of unity derived from war and seek a higher level of human togetherness.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post....I joined the army after Desert Storm thinking I would feel some sense of contribution in defending our great nation. What I really learned is that we have a long long way to go to be in the ballpark of becoming a great nation.


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