I send sad greetings to my philosophical friends.
I have been struggling to come up with something meaningful to write after the mass shooting in Buffalo and now there was another one in Texas. There have been 210 mass shootings in the United States in 2022 as of May 24, that is more than one a day.
“When nearly 3,000 people died on 9/11, it was enough to create massive change in our society. Over ten times as many people die from guns each year. Where is the social change?” DaShanne Stokes
What is wrong with our culture? What is wrong with me? What makes a person feel free to shoot African Americans or nine-and ten-year-old children? What can we do in the face of such madness?
Well, we should become politically active. We should get involved. “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu
However, we can’t take on all the problems of the world. If we do so, we will be overwhelmed and do nothing. But it is possible to do one thing. Pick something to give some of your time and energy and money to that supports positive action.
Doing this will empower you because you will know that you are being part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
For me, the consolation of philosophy is to embrace the idea of all the wisdom teachings that call us to overcome ourselves — to answer the call for the transformation of consciousness. Unlike the growth of our bodies, our consciousness will not grow to the level of compassion and wisdom — love — without undergoing a process of intense inner work.
There is no one way to do this inner work. There are many ways such as meditation, journaling, and practicing mindfulness awareness. The ancient Zoroastrian religion teaches “good thoughts, good words, good deeds.” Good deeds spring first from good thoughts. We must struggle with hopelessness and despair. We must not let them control us because then we only add to the problems we all face.
It takes courage and commitment to undergo this process of transformation. It is not easy for an acorn to become an Oak tree. But acorns cannot solve our problems. As a metaphor, this means only Oak trees have the wisdom to solve the many problems we face, including the one of violence.
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
My overall commitment is to adhere to wisdom’s call to transformation. My personal effort is in working for change in our broken and racist prison system. One way I do this is by supporting Bryan Stephenson’s work at the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI).
Mark Twain wrote: “If you want to change the future, you must change what you’re doing in the present.”
Please join me in the overall commitment to inner transformation. And then join me by finding one problem that just breaks your heart — and then do something positive and constructive about it. Do your part to make the world a better place.