Book Hippo

Friday, December 2, 2011

Peace Or Tolerance

Now that it's December, I can feel 'right' about thinking of Christmas. I love Christmas and all the decorations and lights. The way people are so kind at Christmas warms me and makes me happy to be part of the human race. But there is conflict at this time of the year for me. It stems from the idea of peace on earth and spirituality.

I'll regress a little. In the eighties I was an artist. A sculptor and painter. Ottawa's art scene at that time was filled with people who thought the sixties were still alive. They were what is called peace freaks and still spoke of the Vietnam war and talked of their opposition to nuclear war and violence.

Now, all that sounds fine. But in practice I found that if there was a person near them who was wearing an army uniform, they would invariably talk of how stupid he looked. And how his type should be done away with for earth to advance. I would make the point that earth would not advance if we were all engaged in killing each other. They would stare at me. "You don't believe in peace?" and then, I, too would be on the bad list with them. Once on the hit list they felt free to be rude and to shun a person. They would not talk to you, some even threatened. All their talk consisted of how stupid everyone was who did not believe in their philosophy of love and peace, how these people ruined the world. Again, I would find myself saying that the way to better the human race was to accept that we are all different and not to strive to have everyone think the same, but they would anger and again I'd be on the outs with them.

No argument worked with them. All things should be done away with so their beliefs could flourish. No religion. I'd say, "One of the basic ideas of a free society is to have freedom of religion." Anger from them. No war. "Sometimes to stay free one has to fight. You have the right to your opinion because people laid down their lives." They wouldn't hear of it. All I could see were people who wanted to destroy everyone they thought stupid.

Now, a few years later, after I had left art, I found myself at an exercise club. The YMCA/YWCA. At this club there was a group of people. Some whom I thought were stupid. Probably because of some psychological disorder interfering with their minds. But they were part of a religious club. I saw them being treated with tolerance and love. With goodness.

I thought back to those peace freaks and thought how much better to treat people with tolerance. Their lives do mean something. I discovered that as intolerant as the left wing is, the religious people had the idea that to give people care and concern and help, forgiveness and patience was to do the work of God.

There was no contest to me of what was the better way. There are billions of people on the earth. We need to tolerate each other. Besides, people can change and flourish with understanding.

So there's my fight each year at Christmas. When they talk of peace on earth, I think of the intolerance of the peace freaks and get upset again. But when I think of how spiritual and good people are to each other at this time, I happy again.

See you all next time. Over and out for now.

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