Pluralism – Tolerance – Life or: Why It is Difficult at Times to Accept the Other

For quite some time now, research about peace and how to keep it has been going on, at least since WW II, one of the most dreadful catastrophes mankind has seen.

Among the most important aspects are these two, which actually are two sides of a coin:
pluralism and tolerance.
They seem easy in theory, but everyday practice shows they are not. Why?

Because it is human to be afraid or at least intimidated by what is different from ourselves. To judge – and more importantly – feel judged by the ‘other’. The concept, idea, shape or, simply, behaviour that is different from what we are used to.

In ancient times so research seems to confirm, this point of view was a lifesaver: trust only what is the same, difference can be dangerous. Apparently animals still act that way: any smell, colour and shape different from their own seems a danger.

Yet, there are details that can make all the difference: animals that are smaller, insignificant, or have a smell that is considered neutral, may be ignored altogether.

This points to something that makes the whole idea even more poignant:
The other is only made an issue of, if it is not just different – but when it appears to be dangerous!

Unfortunately, this is true for human behaviour too:
Most of the times human beings start fighting, on smaller or larger scales, they do so because they feel endangered.

Xenophobia is the ancient Greek term for the behaviour that is at the root of these situations: the fear of the stranger, the other, the dangerous one.

Peaceful coexistence, if aimed at, needs these few ideas:

  • Remember that with self-esteem and the realization of being human and thus imperfect comes more security by feeling adequate.
  • Start getting to know yourself better to help self-esteem along.
  • Stop thinking that feeling insecure or inadequate is something bad – or very singular. It’s human to feel afraid sometimes, to feel inadequate or insecure. Deal with it.
  • Do not try to feel more secure by making others smaller, in deed, or in words.
  • Most importantly: try to cross the boundaries, get to know the ‘other’ on safe grounds – and start relishing what plurality has to give.

This is the high road to peace – and more respect, for yourself and for others.

Remember Cuba? Remember the Nazis? Iran, the US, War, Pride – Make Peace!

The cold war is behind us, so it seems, which was a stage laid out for two ‘super-powers’ in finance as well as weapons.
What is now going on is the same song and dance as it was and has been before, not only for the decades since WW II – but for time almost immemorial: finance and thus money and more money, deals, power over resources and thus wealth – and also: pride.

I have posted here already that in my opinion wounded pride has caused more rifts, arguments and wars than anything else in this world.

When the Nazi dictator was still a young man in his twenties, he tried to be admitted to the academy of arts in Munich, Germany, to become an artist – and study painting. They refused him.
So, he joined the ‘party’ and one might say that most of the rest of his life was dedicated to make up for the ultimate private humiliation by becoming famous some other way – and prove to the world…

In history, we may find things repeat themselves, true to Job’s age old adage in the bible, that ‘there was nothing new under the sun’.

Well, yes, technology has progressed. We, basically, can prove now there’s no ‘man in the moon’.
But otherwise, as Erich Kästner has it in one of his poems, too: ‘Einst haben die Kerls in den Bäumen gehockt…’ which translates into:
‘in ancient times they sat in trees….’ – ‘they still are the same’, only the surroundings are different.
At Kästner’s time, mail was sent via tubes in large cities between offices – these days it’s email.

But if someone’s pride is hurt he or she may react in all kinds of (predictable) ways. President Trump may be one of the candidates.
Although he is in fact part of the small group of extremely rich, who may even want more, then they could ever need, just to prove to their family, parents, the world, themselves that they are worth at least as much money in their accounts…

Ultimately, payback may well be at the root of the most striking actions he as president of the US has set in motion.
If you follow his biography more closely, it seems that his mind was made up to run for president when he had been publicly (felt) humiliated by the then holder of the office.

But whatever the cause, whatever the effect – is it really worth it, to endanger millions of innocent lives – for a payback?
Just revoking all the good that has been done – just so it’s being revoked?
Is not that what is done in sandbox games?
‘If you kick my castle, I will kick yours.’

Dignity can be important – but our own individual reactions always determine what manner and amount of dignity we retain.

At the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis in the fall of 1962, negotiations were upheld to the culminating point, to the last possible moment, in order to prevent war.

And that should now be moot? Not true? Another ‘disgruntled’ person feeling small and blowing himself up in the face of the world, when anyone smart enough sees through that at a glance?

Why not do the really magnanimous thing? Retain dignity?
Refrain from payback!

Because the bible has that too, in so many words, quoted from memory:
‘and God speaks: what you have done to the least of my (millions of) brothers, you have done to me.’

Trump, War, Weapons … Money

Although one might not think it right away: Trump all through his presidency has acted true to character. Driven by the need to make more and more money and prove himself to be the tough guy who will not – apparently – consider anyone else’s ideas or pleasure:

He really is the greedy creature he’s always been. A few corrections in his behaviour when cameras are around; some travels around the globe so he can create the image of the diplomatic and reliable person he should have been from day one, as an added ‘polish to the image’ – they cannot fool anyone who’s followed his ‘career’ just a little more closely:

With him and his ‘train’, who are rather the puppet masters in the background, it is not about anything, but gaining money, by hook or by crook, if necessary, by both.
A shame actually to think that such a pitiful excuse for a man who often is downright ridiculous, should get so much attention. But of course, with people such as him, that is the second weakness: the craving for attention. Any kind.

I still wonder how it was possible that North Korea so comparatively easily changed tune in such a short time… what funds were transferred from where to whom…

I hope and even pray that Iran for all it’s worth will keep it’s diplomatic cool and not be drawn into any of the antics Trump so far has used with other countries and which amount to what is again common in global politics:
bribery and extortion.

Hoping that Iran in politics will one day turn out to be a country where something like the Declaration and International Bill of Human Rights will be political principal inside as well as out, in accordance as well with age old traditions; I still do not believe for a moment in the rights the US have claimed at least since WWII around the world: do anything they can, literally any thing, to keep or expand their power over natural resources in any shape or form.

Do not let them fool you! Media, the best especially, are crucial for knowing about what is being said in front of cameras. But to know people and politics, look for the underlying principle and beware. Behind the cameras, a lot goes on that sometimes is only found out decades or even centuries later.

Know them by their deeds. Resist war and manipulation with all peaceful, nonviolent might.
Make peace, not war!

Greed, Poverty and War – or: How to Be Truly Noble Again

Trump: lies, selfishness and rudeness as well as greed rolled into one, combined with a high sense of self-representation in a world where more money superficially makes the person more ‘priceless’.

The golden calf… although originally the first settlers of the US fled from Europe to avoid that – they created it again: the first manifestation of human society: every man fights on his own, wealth and power being the only yardstick for distinction.

This is in a way a wonderful example of political and historical repetition: as Job had it in his famous biblical monologue: nothing is new under the sun – or words to that effect. Because here we see, what the ‘Adel’, the aristocracy of former centuries in Europe, too often was made of.
The same principle applies, again: cruelty, the greed for wealth above all others, being looked up to – and reign, in order to feel even more distinguished and – appreciated.

The German word for aristocracy, ‘Adel’ makes it clear nicely: in those times, someone who distinguished himself – usually in warfare – was made ‘special’: ‘edel’, which is the modern form of the word ‘Adel’ which translates into ‘noble’.

Yet, all this is good for nothing if we don’t learn from it: in our history books we look with disgust on those that distinguished themselves as rulers by cruelty and selfishness, by greed and the general poverty and starvation of the people they ruled.
But today’s similar leaders are cheered at?

Let’s learn that to live greed will create more greed.
That to live cruelty creates more cruelty.
That war will cause more war.
That inequality will cause more inequality.

Live love and you will create love.
Live equality and you will create equality.
Live peace and you will create peace.

As an African saying has it: if lots of small people in lots of small places do lots of small things – they will change the face of the earth.

Live all these – and be shrewd too, as the bible, another wealthy source of wisdom if you know how to use it, also has it: be like the snakes and the doves.
Which is to say, live all these noble ideas, but don’t let others fool you.
Learn, educate and – know them – by their deeds.

Trump, Contracts, World Peace and the Principle of Cover-Up

History can teach us: what’s happening at the moment in US foreign affairs is really an ignominious yet often used method to cover up what goes wrong ‘at home’.

From ancient kings in the past to Hitler during the Third Reich this procedure has been apparently easy to use and quickly leads to the desired effects. On the surface hatred and abuse are called out, even screamed sometimes, from the speaker’s desk, and Hitler and Trump show uncanny similarities in their rhetoric.

But the underlying schemes and patterns are even more important to realize in order to get a grip on the recent US foreign policies, with apparently no consideration for anything but the immediate, even if pretended, hatred…?

It is quite clear that the Trump government hasn’t so far even come close to the promises made to its voters. The book recently published by an author as prominent and well-known, not to say famous, as Bob Woodward makes the situation even more poignant.

The incompetence and almost insane quality of the present government stand out like a boil. The promised thousands of jobs cannot be found, which for most people are the main reason for voting for one candidate or another, in many parts of the country.

What remains to be done, is what Trump is preparing now: he cancels armament contracts, partly long-standing ones that were made to protect the world from complete destruction, by mad and greedy dictators or any heads of government, kings or otherwise.

That way he paves the way for what is this procedure, this easy to use and fast working ‘medicine’ for all that need to make their people devotees and believers in their cause again: cover up your problems in home affairs by focusing on foreign ones.
Tell them that dreadful enemies are everywhere and therefore arms are necessities of the first order.
Start arming the country with lots and lots of tanks, guns and other even more destructive weapons, not to say ‘weapons of mass-destruction’ (term may ring a bell….), and the following goals will be reached:

  • Get a lot of government money into a dormant industry sector, producing those weapons on a large scale.
  • Create thousands of new jobs and a content population, who may one day soon then even swallow the more bitter medicine that war has to follow, again.

This way, no one will care to look twice at what was there before: high numbers of unemployed and disgruntled people. People with apparently no future who even now use the weapons already in the streets – while others are clamouring for stricter gun laws, potentially reducing profits of that industry sector even more.

Let’s not be fooled!
Let’s be aware – and say ‘No’ – to war – and to rearmament!