Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fighting Fire With Fire

“We must not allow ourselves to become like the system we oppose.”~ Bishop Desmond Tutu

If you’ve ever run into someone that makes you angry or scared enough to retaliate, you are certainly not alone. On any given day, most of us are faced with situations and people that test our resolve to be peaceful, and taunt us to show our worst.

I’ve always found it really funny that even in cartoons humans are often depicted as having an angel and a devil near them, each sitting on respective shoulders, forever fighting for predominance - if the little devil wins, the person gives in to lower instincts and fights back; if the little angel has the last word, a peaceful solution is attained.

Good and evil coexist within all of us, regardless of the fact that many try to convince themselves they are only ruled by one side or the other – each of us is capable of killing, stealing, lying, and betraying, and all of us are able to love, tolerate and forgive. Whether one person will decide to follow one path or another usually depends on the combined influence of nature and nurture. One path is chosen, while the other remains dormant until the next decision around the bend.

Because of the fact that at any junction everyone is able to uniquely choose, it is possible for a good person to commit bad deeds, and for a bad person to make “good” choices. Because of the dual nature of all things, everything in the Universe can be changed if repeatedly exposed with reason to the opposing current.

But who’s truly “bad” or “good”? What we have been taught to consider bad may not appear as such to someone who’s been taught a different reality, or has come to believe differently in accordance to personal experiences.

No person ever consciously believes they are “bad” or wrong – if they did, they would change their ways. If someone considers another person to be acting wrong, and reacts to them in the very same fashion they condemn, they have done nothing else but fortify their opponent.

Each of us can be steered both ways – if we truly wish to change something or someone, we need to try heading our boat in the opposite direction and hope they will follow. If they don’t, we must accept that some situations, and the fate of some people, are out of our control. We can’t force others to see through our perception. All we can do is follow our own path and be concerned with our own destiny, taking charge of the decisions that affect us directly while still keeping in mind that we are not necessarily right just because we believe we are. Perception doesn’t always reflect reality, but only shows one of the many facets of it.

We can dispel shadows by turning on the light. Hanging in the dark with the people we are trying to change will only cause both of us to blindly run into each other and ultimately get hurt. We shouldn’t become what we are fighting against.

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