Last night I just happened to come upon “Ted Talks: War and Peace” on PBS. (“Ted” represents technology, entertainment and design). It was a fascinating presentation about what it takes to bring about peace in our war-torn and broken world.
Throughout the program one thing stood out for me. That single point was how evident it is that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in a network of mutuality. Whatever affects one group of people directly, affects us all indirectly. There is no escape from this mutuality. John Donne understood this interrelated structure of reality several centuries ago when he wrote: “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” The American Dream can never become a reality as long as there is war, hunger, poverty in any other part of this world because we, as Americans, are caught up in this network of mutuality! There is no way out of it!
|Franciscan Gardens, France|
The notion that some races, nationalities, religions and cultures are somehow inferior and others superior is a mistaken one. And yet the notion lives—and as long it lives—the American Dream can never become reality for that Dream is founded on the profound premise, “all men (humanity) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It does not say some “men,” but all men. It does not say white-anglo-saxon men, it says all men, which includes yellow, black and brown men. It does not say all Gentiles, but it says all men, which includes Buddhists, Jews, and Muslims. It does not say all Protestants, but it says all men, which includes Catholics, Orthodox, Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses. And these days it does not mean just “men,” but every human being, which includes women, children, immigrants, refugees, etc.
If we can’t get that notion of inferior/superior out of our systems, the Dream will remain a dream and peace a long way off.