One thing I’ve been thinking about quite a bit in the last year is the sacred nature of life itself, and how humans continue to change our perspective. Earlier this week, I was surprised to listen to CBC radio and hear a doctor I knew from my old job in Ontario, speaking in favour of doctor-assisted suicide. He spoke as a physician and as a patient who felt he should have the right to choose the circumstances of his own death. You can watch him here:
Dr. Don Low passed away last week. I find it incredibly admirable that he choose to use his illness and death as a speaking platform so that others traveling after him may have an easier path.
I know that doctor-assisted suicide is strongly debated. I understand the concerns. The flip side of believing in life after death is the potential danger of devaluing the life we actually have right now, or the lives of other people: kill them all and let God sort them out.
So what is it exactly, that makes life itself sacred? Erik, what do you think?
(Erik shows me the “scales of justice”. On the scales are two people.)
On this side you’ve got your loveable old lady grandmother. She raised her kids, she was a school teacher, she went to church (she’s the quintessential “good person”.)
Here on the other side, here’s Hitler. ‘Nuff said.
Good and evil, right?
So here’s the mind (bending) thing: that spark I was talking about? That’s in both of them.
Why is it important to be able to see the sacred spark of life in a serial killer?
Because it changes the way people think about Good and Evil.
Right now, our brains default to contrasting things against each other. Light/Shadow, Love/Hate, War/Peace, Security/Threat. For thousands of years we’ve been boiling it down to Good vs. Evil. From there, all this other mythology (shows me a tree and then a jungle forming from the primordial ooze of the concept of good vs. evil.)
As soon as you call someone evil, what do we do with evil? We try an’ rub it out. An eye for an eye, it’s very primal shit. “You killed my brother, I’m gonna kill the crap outta you!”
It’s all about the cycle of violence. A whole culture, wrapped up in vengeance. All (of those of us who are alive right now) have inherited the feuds of Christmas Past. Are we gonna be Scrooge and keep on making the same choices?
If you grow up in (an abusive home) you can at least say that about yourself, and compare your childhood to the childhoods of others and see the difference. You can hear shit about the “cycle of violence” and know enough about it to want to break that cycle for your family. So maybe you go to parenting classes and read books and never spank your kids.
But our parents aren’t the only ones who raise us up to see the world in a certain way. THAT’s the cycle of violence I’m talking about. What if you grew up in an abusive home and you never LEAVE home? You’d never know any different. That’s what we’ve got going on. It’s a vicious cycle of Romeo and Juliette shit. It’s no one’s fault what they were born into, but it’s everyone’s (responsibility – he shows me people carrying heavy weights. It’s very difficult to carry this weight and they want to set the weight down and move on without it, but if they do that, it’ll be there for the people who walk behind them.)
And it’s tough – REALLY tough – to actually WAKE UP enough to realize that you’re living in an abusive CULTURE. You hit me? I’m gonna hit you back HARDER!
I take a good long pause here to try and iron out the different trains of thought. When Erik presents an idea, sometimes the flood of my own thoughts can bubble up and drown him out. At this point I’m thinking, “Say Hitler had been caught alive. In a culture that sees that sacred spark of life you’re talking about, how would we respond to his crimes against humanity?” We use Hitler as an umbrella example, because there are Hitler-esque people alive and operating genocide/concentration camps today. Whatever humanity did or didn’t do to Hitler then, the cycle Hitler embodied continues today, and we have several opportunities to approach this differently.
E: Yeah, except those guys aren’t dumb enough to try and take over the world and make it everyone else’s problem. So it’s just a problem for the poor (people) born into those countries, (those feuds.) For now. And there’s the driving force of war, y’all. This belief / fear that some bigger bully’s gonna punch us out, so we’d better beat him down first.
I stopped writing here for the rest of the day. Later that afternoon, I came across a podcast show by a guy called Doug Noll. Here’s a set of podcasts I listened to, which dove-tail perfectly with what Erik’s talking about. Of course he coordinated my day so I’d stumble upon these at the right time.
If you scroll down and click on the segments, you can listen to peacemakers discuss the process of creating peace in war-torn Kenya.
Doug is also one of the founders of the Prisons of Peace program:
You can click on the media links and watch the videos of the imprisoned murderers talk about becoming peacemakers in the nation’s most violent women’s prison.
THIS is the grunt work of creating world peace, y’all.
Here is an interview with Doug Noll on Karen Hagar’s blogtalk radio show, where he talks about the prison of peace program and his personal story.
So there’s a little homework for you folks, if you’re interested in reading up on a real live peacemaker, someone who really does seem to see the spark in the little Hitlers of the world. It’s yoga for the mind.
Kate Sitka is a spirit medium and animal communicator located in Tofino, BC. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her professional website: tofinopsychic.com and her personal blog: psychicintraining.com