Magazine article Tikkun

Kosovo, Columbine, and Evil

Magazine article Tikkun

Kosovo, Columbine, and Evil

Article excerpt

SOUL AND SOCIETY

It is a sad but sorry fact that the Kosovo ethnic/religious cleansing and the Columbine High School massacre bring us, at the end of this most violent of all centuries, back to the issue of humanity's complicity in destructive deeds.

It is time for us all to examine anew our potential for evil.

The earth is currently living through its most destructive cycle since the dinosaurs disappeared sixty million years ago, and it is our species and in particular our Western, technological culture, that is most responsible for that destruction. Humans are destroying twenty-six billion tons of topsoil per year, twenty-seven thousand species per year, and more than one acre of rainforest per second. Fourteen of our seventeen ocean fisheries have been essentially fished out, and our population keeps multiplying.

Psychiatrist Erich Fromm emphasizes the choice our species can make between biophilia and necrophilia (love of life and love of death). He warns us that "necrophilia grows as the development of biophilia is stunted." Is our culture teaching biophilia?

Love of life is not taught by instructing our young in how to be a perfect shopper or a perfect stock market player. It is not taught by video games that instruct kids in how to shoot down others and kill them.

Biophilia is taught through a creation story that is awesome and joyful enough to open the hearts of the young to the wonder of our shared existence.

We have such a story today from the new cosmology.

Biophilia is taught by learning that it took fifteen billion years to birth each one of us (it may take a village to raise a child but it takes a universe to make one). Sixty percent of the atoms in our bodies, which are hydrogen atoms, go back fourteen billion years and most of the others go back to a supernova explosion five and a half billion years ago. We are all related-the stars and the galaxies, the sun and all our food, our bodies and the plants, animals, birds, fishes, waterways and oceans-all made of the same stuff.

With this new cosmology we can be inspired and inspiring, alive and loving, to all beings. We can learn from this cosmology a reverence for life and gratitude for living. But in order to bring Soul and Spirit back to learning, we need teachers who can show us how to resist the necrophilious forces which surround us, such as greed, envy, reductionism, cynicism, and resentment. …

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