Thursday, December 22, 2011

Peace includes appreciation for the Other

Tikkun Magazine, "dedicated to healing and transforming the world", opens its archives of select articles including "A Nation in Need of Renewal" by Thomas Moore. This essay, published in the September/October 2002 issue, is helpful background for Moore's recent piece with The Dasein Project, "Freud's Medusa". In the Tikkun article, Moore writes about events of 11 September ten years ago and America's responsive opportunities. His observations are meaningful today. He suggests,
"Peace is not the absence of conflict or even war. It is a positive appreciation for the Other that inspires compassion and empathy. Peace can't be won by principle alone or by programs. It requires a positive effort toward mutual understanding among people, and it comes out of thoughtful conflict resolution. There is no reason why Americans couldn't, in the aftermath of September 11, make the effort toward this radical degree of understanding and peacemaking.

People of the world generally are ready to be friends with America, but America makes it difficult to make and sustain that friendship. It seems unsure of itself even as it displays its achievements and its power. People of the world are rebuffed by the resulting arrogance and threatening postures, and peace remains elusive.

America acts like the richest and most powerful kid on the block who bullies everyone else. But if you were to put America on the couch, I think you would discover an unruly adolescent, a youthful psyche full of wonderful ideals but unseasoned and unsure, not even aware that its behavior contradicts its ideals."
Moore describes three deep lessons the nation can learn from this experience.

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