No new evils, old and difficult ways to treat them

by Bob Schwartz

Racism. Antisemitism. All the other intolerant beliefs that can lead to dangerous deeds. With us forever, like an endemic virus that will spread and surge, inflict death and suffering, and despite mitigations, never go away.

Good news about that. The recommended treatments have been around as long as the evils. They are described in the principles of most of the traditions—religious, spiritual or philosophical. You don’t even have to seek out brilliant teachers or complex texts. Just ask the children you’ve been raising. Maybe you’ve been teaching them these principles from the start. Of course, maybe not, or maybe if you’ve been teaching the principles—love, compassion, kindness, respect, truthfulness, humanity, etc.—you haven’t been modeling them.

And that’s the bad news. The evils aren’t new. The treatments aren’t new but they are very, very hard to do, in thought and in practice. Again, those traditions we claim to embrace make that difficulty quite clear.

If you believe that the solution to these evils comes from carefully reshaping society, you are partly but far from completely right. As we all know, we developed some effective tools to oppose our most recent evil health pandemic. Massive numbers of Americans refused, so hundreds of thousands needlessly died, and the virus will now go on forever.

Without people transforming, something as simple as the golden rule, a formula for compassion that even a five-year-old can understand, will have no effect. The evils will go on and on.

Where’s a five-year-old when you really need one?

© 2022 Bob Schwartz