Political Higher Consciousness
By Robert Rabbin
“During the 5,600 years of written history, 14,600 wars have been recorded.”
— James Hillman, A Terrible Love of War
It is self-evident that peace among nations will never grow from the blood-soaked and stained earth of war. When will we realize that killing others never ends the cycle of killing, that vengeance and retribution never bring peace? When will we lose our appetite for killing, for war, for slaughter, for murder? When will we find another way towards peace and justice?
It must be now, if we are to leave anything worth leaving to our children. We cannot listen to or be persuaded by those whose absolutism is unguarded by wisdom.
How are we to do what has never been done before? How are we to find another way to peace? First, we must be willing. We must first decide that we have had enough of killing. Regardless of how popular it might be, we have to decide to stop killing as a way to establish peace. It has never happened, and it will never happen. It was obvious to Albert Einstein, and it must surely be obvious to us, that “we can not solve a problem at the same level of consciousness that created the problem.” This is a scary notion, I admit. It isn’t popular. It won’t win elections. But it is essential to understand that killing does not bring peace. I believe that something within each of us knows this, feels this, and understands this to be true. We have to find the courage and faith to lift our consciousness to another level of understanding, one in which a killing mentality is no longer acceptable.
“Terrorism cannot be overcome by the use of force,” says the Dalai Lama. He shows us the texture of higher consciousness: “It is no longer realistic to expect that our enemy will be completely destroyed, or that victory will be total for us. Or, for that matter, can an enemy be considered absolute. We have seen many times that today’s enemies are often tomorrow’s allies, a clear indication that things are relative and very inter-related and inter-dependent. Our survival, our success, our progress, are very much related to others’ well being. Therefore, we as well as our enemies are still very much interdependent. Whether we regard them as economic, ideological, or political enemies makes no difference to this. Their destruction has a destructive effect upon us. Thus, the very concept of war, which is not only a painful experience, but also contains the seeds of self-destruction, is no longer relevant.”
The very concept of war is no longer relevant. Beautiful, wise words, but who can show us what they look like in action, when anger and fear are burning holes in people’s minds, when the call to kill is a national anthem, when shrill shouts of patriotism hide soulless pursuits. One example happened just over 26 years ago, when Egyptian President Anwar Sadat flew to Israel in 1977 to meet Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. It was an inconceivable thing that he did. But he did it, nonetheless.
In his address to the Israeli Knesset on November 20, 1977, Sadat said, “I have chosen to set aside all precedents and traditions known by warring countries. No one could have ever conceived that the president of the biggest Arab state, which bears the heaviest burden and the main responsibility pertaining to the cause of war and peace in the Middle East, should declare his readiness to go to the land of the adversary while we were still in a state of war. We all still bear the consequences of four fierce wars waged within 30 years. All this at the time when the families of the 1973 October war are still mourning under the cruel pain of bereavement of father, son, husband and brother.”
There was as much smoldering sadness in Egypt as there is in the U. S. today. There was as much fear, as much rationale for more violence, more war, more killing. But Sadat found something within him that wanted to live on higher ground: “We must rise above all forms of obsolete theories of superiority…”
What came from Sadat’s unprecedented action and riveting speech? The historic peace accords at Camp David. The Nobel Peace Prize, shared with Menachem Begin. The legacy of higher consciousness trumping ancient hostilities, militarism, and war.
“Ladies and gentlemen, there are moments in the lives of nations and peoples when it is incumbent upon those known for their wisdom and clarity of vision to survey the problem, with all its complexities and vain memories, in a bold drive towards new horizons. The example taken and experienced from ancient and modern history teaches that missiles, warships and nuclear weapons cannot establish security. Instead they destroy what peace and security build.”
I am sad that Anwar Sadat is not alive today. I would want to hear him speak, and I would want to see what he would do. I wonder what distance he would be willing to travel—geographically, psychologically, and spiritually—to establish peace? I would want to see how he might “shock and awe” an amazed world with the kind of vision and courage and daring whose legacy is not mounds of dead people and ruined cities and torn-apart souls, but a peace and friendship between all peoples that endures because it bears witness to the miracle of creation itself.
Anwar Sadat is not here. But you and I are here. What shall we say? What shall we do?
Robert Rabbin is a San Francisco-based writer and speaker. He is the author of numerous books and articles, and the founder of RealTime Speaking, an online hub of global spiritual activism. For more more information, please visit http://www.robertrabbin.com.
Copyright © 2005 Robert Rabbin, All Rights Reserved