In order to love, human beings need to know. They need to see the object of their affections as special to them. You may have noticed this with your pets. When you see other peoples’ pets, you may think them cute, but you do not experience the same heartwarming rush as you do with your own beloved pet. Even if the animal looks exactly like your own pet, the affection and emotional connection are simply not there.
This is one reason why people – even caring people – can be so blasé when reading new stories about the death of thousands, or historical accounts about the death of millions. They do not know these people, so there is no connection.
Connection brings particularity. Particularity brings compassion.
In the aftermath of 911, people were upset, and even traumatized, by the death of a relatively small number of people. Far more civilians have been killed in the ensuing wars, far more people are killed in traffic accidents every day, than were killed on that day. So why the emotional turmoil?
Well, they were our own. They were brought before us by the news. Mostly, however, it was the thought, “that could have been me or someone I love.”
In order to push for war, a great deal was made of the fact of the attack took place on our own soil, in order to make it personal to all of us.
Of course, those who carry out terrorist attacks are able to do so because they are unable to see the people they attack as just like them.
Violence can only be carried out when there is an emotional disconnection from others.
People have to stop seeing others as someone’s child, someone’s parent, someone’s beloved, in order to kill them. Instead, they’re called the enemy, or collateral damage.
Our society is becoming ever more emotionally disconnected. Everyone is “the other,” as men and women, ethnic groups, social groups, income groups, and even adults and children, are set at odds.
Darwinian theories have told us that survival of the fittest is the highest value, so people claw their way to the top, and justify every kind of cruel behavior. This makes us out of touch with ourselves, as well as with the rest of the world.
Then people sit around discussing why violence, especially senseless violence, is on the rise. Of course it is. No one is connected.
What if we could reverse that? What if everyone became the beloved? Think what a revolution that could create.
You can begin the revolution.
As you meet people, see them for who they are. Don’t look at them in categories, or through filters. Just see them as another human soul. Just like you. This revolutionizes your interactions with them. You stop caring if you like them, and instead value them. Liking becomes immaterial. You stop judging—such a limiter. Instead, you accept.
As you look at the natural world, you see trees and plants as individuals –bringers of life-giving oxygen, works of beauty, creatures who are also experiencing life. Animals also become walkers of the earth along with you. It all becomes real to you.
When you adopt this way of moving through the world and experiencing it, your life becomes so much more enjoyable, your interactions more peaceful and loving. Cruelty in thought and deed cease. And if everyone does this, war ceases, poverty ceases, and cruelty of every kind ends.
We can make this happen, one person at a time.