Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Out of the Loop

I don't know how to write this without sounding simple and stupid, so I guess that is how I will sound. Tonight I was reading more o Eli Perrizer's book, "The Filter Bubble". That's the smart part of what I have to say. In the book Mr. Perrizer was writin about how those who watched police dramas on TV during a particular period of time tended to think of the world as a "meaner world" than their neighbors who did not watch these shows.

Then he explained how the internet, as it is now set up, can often lead people to believe they live in a "friendlier world" than is actually true. After all, Google picks our search results from a search history giving us a pretty good chance of liking what They choose. We tend to read the blogs which agree with us most, and the internet news sources also. Facebook shows us what we or our friends "like" most, of course Our world is "friendly". I think this is partially responsible for the polarization in our country. When did I last listen to someone I Really disagree with, but who was Also quite intelligent? I'm not talking about someone who is just out to make a headline for himself or herself. I mean someone who genuinely and sincerely disagrees with us for at least Some reasons We must admit make sense.

The other day I ran into this kind of disconnect between my own mind and reality in the world of action figures. I looked up Power Team, because I've heard so much which was positive about these figures.

If I look at G.I. Joes I know I'm looking at United States Military figures. No problem. I have a lot of respect for our soldiers and believe that they deserve better care when they come home than they receive.

When I looked up Power Team action figures I kept reading the phrase "Peace Keepers," and "World Peace Keepers" and my mind went through a disconnect.

One of the beliefs many Buddhists hold strongly is that you can't defeat harm with hate or rage. This probably sounds bizarre to a non-Buddhist. The idea is that if I am campaigning for something you do not want, and we scream at, throw rocks at, or shoot at one another, neither of us is acting out of a peaceful mind or peaceful motives. We are both using violence to try and get our way.

I usually think of Peace Keepers as people who try to facilitate understanding between differing groups, who commit random acts of kindness, who work for the common good in some way. In my mind they are some of the people I have the honor of knowing personally, though they will never be famoous. But there are plenty of famous ones: the Dalai Lama of Tibet who does not try to convert anyone to Buddhism and has said "My religion is loving kindness." Nelson Mandela of S. Africa who Chose to speak about reconciliation when he had Every reason to speak of hatred after his Many years of imprisonment. I think of pro-democracy leaders like the Burmese monks who have lead uprisings at the cost of their lives, of "The Lady" Aung San Suu Kyi, and one of this year's Nobel Peace Prize Winners, Tawakkol Karman, of Yemen. There is Muhammad Yunus, "Banker to the Poor" and Zen Master Thich Naht Hanh of Vietnam, who has worked to bring veterans from both sides of the Vietnam War together for the purpose of healing. I heard a stunning interview with Leymah Gbowee of Lyberia, another of this year's Peace Prize Winners, on the BBC. And there are so many more!

But when I saw that Power Team men and some women were "World Peace Keeper's" with tanks and guns and other weapons of death my mind stopped and said, "Hu?" or the dorky equivalent.

Then I did some thinking. Let's see, the U.N. has Peace Keeping Troops in How many countries? There is NATO, the African Union, and ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) and they All have guns, grinades, and Many other kinds of weapons! Without them, Could Lyberia have become a stable country again? Without the ANC would the black and mixed race peoples of S. Africa have achieved those freedoms they now have? How much longer would the war in the former Yugoslavia have gone on Without NATO? Does any human freedom come without Someone/s paying the price of imprisonment, torture, and/or death? In the real world I just screamed at my cat for playing with spools of thread I had previously sorted to go with color coordinated sewing projects. My thought was not peaceful. It was "Oh shit, not again!" I had to have sighted help to sort that thread and didn't want to have to crawl around my work space to find spoools of thread, Again!

I know that Both kinds of Peace Keepers are Needed in this world. Until we humans progress beyond revenge, a normal human motive, Peace Keepers with guns Can help. It's not a perfect world or a perfect system, but sometimes it brings people a chance they might not have had, to reassemble their lives Sooner rather than Later. That is a worthwhile goal.

But we Need the Peace Keepers among us Without guns, too. They lead the way in showing us who we can become, all of the Good of human potential.

I listen to the BBC. And NPR. for news, but somehow, hanging out with those who have the Luxury of living in peace had made my world a "too friendly" without the addition of Facebook or internet news sources. For me, it all connects, I hope it will for you.
I thank our planet's Peace Keepers who must use weapons to prevent opponents from slaughtering one another. Someday soon, may your work be Unnecessary and may You find enough peaceful work to care for yourselves and your families. This is my prayer for you.

Damn this Autothink, the Computer put Dynamite Girls in my "labels" category just before Power Team. Analyzing my word content about war and peace humm, Dynamite Is a weapon. Brilliant!

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