Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Gift of Aggression

You have a powerful gift of knowledge, meaning, happiness, and fulfillment. You were either born with it, someone exposed you to it, or you discovered it on your own. It has such a strong effect on you that you can’t believe that anyone can live without it. It begins to define you.

At some point, you realize that it is wrong, perhaps evil, to deny your gift to others; that their lives are less valuable because they do not have what you have. Yet for some unacceptable reason there are some people who refuse to accept your gift, or maybe they are simply incapable of acquiring it. What’s more, these unenlightened people oppose your sharing the gift with those around them, and may even be promoting some other, lesser alternative, which is not only keeping people from receiving your gift, but using up resources that you need to perpetuate your mission. Those who oppose you must be stopped for the good of everyone else, even if it means destroying them.

This line of reasoning can, and has, been used to justify aggression throughout human history. The aggression can take relatively benign forms such as social pressure or ostracism. Extreme forms include violence and even death. Whoever is in power at the moment and has had the opportunity to write the history books gets to decide whether such behavior was truly right or wrong. Competition leading to ultimate survival becomes the real judge of values in a world of aggressors.

Not everyone feels that they are the recipients of ultimate truth and meaning. Some of us instead realize how fragile and incomplete our awareness and understanding of the Universe is, and doubt that any one of us can have the answers. If such “gifts” are to be found, they can only exist as the result of a collective enterprise where pieces are held by each of us and shared, as much as possible, among all of us (including other forms of life). To destroy ANY of us is to destroy part of that we claim to value.

No comments: