Thursday, April 5, 2012

Peace Quote of the Day - Parker Palmer on Violence

'I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse: therefore choose life' (Deuteronomy 30:19)

“Yet when we 'choose life', we quickly confront the reality of a culture riddled with violence. By violence I mean more than the physical savagery that gets much of the press. Far more common are those assaults on the human spirit so endemic to our lives that we may or may not even recognize them as acts of violence.”

“Violence is done when parents insult children, when teachers demean students, when supervisors treat employees as disposable means to economic ends, when physicians treat patients as objects, when people condemn gays and lesbians 'in the name of God', when racists live by the belief that people with a different skin color are less than human. And just as physical violence may lead to bodily death, spiritual violence causes death in other guises – the death of a sense of self, of trust in others, of risk taking on behalf of creativity, of commitment to the common good. If obituaries were written for deaths of this kind, every daily newpaper would be a tome.”

“By violence I mean any way we have of violating the identity and integrity of another person. I find this definition helpful because it reveals the critical connections between violent acts large and small from dropping bombs on civilians halfway around the world to demeaning a child in a classroom.”

“Even if we do no more than acquiesce to small daily doses of violence, we become desensitized to it, embracing the popular insanity that violence is 'only normal' and passively assenting to its dominance.”
Parker Palmer
A Hidden Wholeness

I like Palmer's perspective on violence, because if we are going to work for peace in the world, we have to start with an integrated, holistic perspective on what peace (and violence, lack of peace) is; and we need to become people who recognize and work against violence in all forms, at all levels of life (beginning with my own interactions with everyone I meet).

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