by Robert Wilkinson
I just read something that revolted me, as well as seen footage of something that saddened me. These each typified one of the biggest problems we have on Earth, the virus called Authoritarianism.
From the MSNBC article Egyptians decry 'virginity tests' on protesters we read that the Egyptian military apparently has asserted absolute control over all aspects of Egyptian life, including the right to do "virginity tests" on female protesters to see if they're virgins and if not, well....
It's a pretty horrific situation. Due to the circumstances, it brought out all kinds of comments from all kinds of people at the MSNBC article, and the discussion of that article was all over the map. Some comments were thoughtful, some stupid, some funny, and some obnoxious, as political commentary by the proletariat usually is. Many use such occasions to bash the local culture, as well as the belief systems we call Islam and Christianity, which is also unfortunate. Still, after reading the entire comment stream, I realized not one was getting to the deeper issue. That moved me to write the following comment:
Violence against women is a global problem. It happens here, there, and everywhere. Until authoritarians understand they have no right to do what they want with women (or anyone else, for that matter), the world will be a bloody mess. Authoritarians on every continent seek the power to dominate - and use local laws, traditions, religions, and other attitudes to justify exercising that power. When we find a cure for that, we can get beyond our current superstitions, laws, belief systems, and "traditions" that keep one group up and another down. But I fear that's a long way down the road.....
While contemplating this horrible state of affairs in Egypt, I remembered something else that saddened me related to the same problem. I saw this video footage of some people dancing and kissing in the Jefferson Memorial, and then intimidated, roughed up, and manhandled by the US park police that's fairly shocking in its oppression.
The police are now "being investigated," but good luck in modern police-state America. Even if the designated "bad apple" is exorcised from the force, there's still a pervasive mindset that oppresses us in ways we never knew before the neocons took control of the national security apparatus using 9-11 as the means to that end.
Anyway, in both these stories an oppressor was able to violate an individual's relatively harmless freedom of expression. While the dancing protesters in DC weren't subjected to the sexual humiliation practiced by the Egyptian military, there's still a larger issue of any authoritarian entity using inappropriate force against those who are not harming anyone.
Whether military, police, religious, or individual, no one has the right to violate another human being's body if they are not harming another by their actions. There may be rare exceptions to this general rule, but it should not be the default social construct. In this sense a parent should never violate a child's body, but they may proactively need to pull them out of the street even without an immanent threat.
I believe the crux of the matter of our planetary problem is that we do not regard the Golden Rule as an absolute; that as we do, or do not do to another, it will be mirrored in our future experience. Or if you prefer, what goes around comes around. If we really knew and lived that, we'd treat each other with far more respect and good will than much of humanity now demonstrates.
Once we begin to live the respect and goodwill toward others that we would experience in our own lives, all of us would be part of a thought form to end all forms of violence toward each other. This is the true Satyagraha of Mahatma Gandhi. This would demonstrate as non-dominating interactions with others in material and physical ways, as well as emotional, mental, economic, and religious interactions,
This is not to say there will not be differences of opinion. That's inevitable in a dualistic and ever-changing reality. But it's any authoritarian tendency to want to use power to dominate another, where one is up and one is down, that creates all problems. When men and women no longer move toward domination games and mindsets, regardless of the gender of the target, the world will again begin to be at peace.
© Copyright 2011 Robert Wilkinson
(While I know I've opened a huge subject, both these news stories moved me into this mindset. And yes, there's still one more Eclipse article to come tomorrow.)