If we are to design a world without violence and prejudice, we must develop ways to help people become more confident, aware, and secure. The less secure we are within ourselves, the greater our need to put others down–to try and make ourselves feel superior.
Putting others down is a sick response, a blind, short-range, unhealthy response, increasing the likelihood that prejudice will be used on us in return. But there is a way to help build confidence and thus counter the spiral of violence in everyday life, which culminates in warfare.
Find out what it is:
One way to build confidence is to help others gain a closer, more sensitive relationship with their environment. The resulting knowledge and sense of belonging are a strong antidote for insecurity.
It helps my thinking to imagine society as an extension of myself–as my social body. Anything I do to harm that body does harm to me. My neighbors’ poverty is mine; their need is my need as well. And all prejudice, all violence, all hatred that I send out into the world returns to me. John Donne crystallized this for us all by saying, “…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.”
Adapted from A Handmade Life, by William S. Coperthwaite (Chelsea Green, 2002). Copyright (c) 2002 by William S. Coperthwaite. Reprinted by permission of Chelsea Green.
Adapted from A Handmade Life, by William S. Coperthwaite (Chelsea Green, 2002).