Thank You for Offending Me

Thank You for Offending Me November 29, 2015

I am thankful for honesty and disagreement.
I am thankful for opinions and debates.

I am thankful for a huge variety of perspectives, and the inevitable arguments and even conflicts that come from them.

I am thankful for these things because they mean that there is still freedom.

Disagreement means we have not achieved conformity.
Thank God that we have not achieved our own worst goal yet.
Thank God that no single group of us yet holds the power to impose conformity upon the rest of us. Oh, we do try. Violence results. It is ugly, it is awful, it is terrible, it is tragedy that can rip our hearts and our world into jagged, separated, isolated, hostile little pieces.

Conformity is a poor excuse for peace. Conformity is the slow, unending, torturous death of the human spirit. Conformity is killing with a dull knife.

Peace is vibrant, varied, exciting, strange and new, a whirl of color and sound, a huge expanse of light and movement, a depth and richness that comes only from uniquness, diversity. There is no safety in sameness. Peace is powerful, tenacious, unstoppable with the force of strong identities choosing to acknowledge and value one another.

Peace is the right goal.

The Promulgation of World Peace


Therefore, it is our duty to put forth our greatest efforts and summon all our energies in order that the bonds of unity and accord may be established among mankind. For thousands of years we have had bloodshed and strife. It is enough; it is sufficient. Now is the time to associate together in love and harmony. For thousands of years we have tried the sword and warfare; let mankind for a time at least live in peace.

Because peace is the right goal, and
Because I love you and I value your rights as a human, I will stand up for your right to offend and to be offended.

If disagreement automatically creates offense,
And offense is reckoned to be a crime,
Freedom is already gone.

If we must at all costs avoid offense, then we have lost ourselves. We have sold our freedom to think, to have varying opinions, to change our minds, to learn. We have traded in our right to walk on the hilltop and yell at the sky for the sad gray obscurity of a well-marked rut.

Conformity is a rut that deepens into a pit and sucks us all in.

Hidden Treasures of the Ancient Qabalah

Elias Gewurz

As long as “man’s inhumanity to man makes countless millions mourn,” that peace is beyond attainment for the majority of the race. When the Sun of righteousness arises some day and man realizes the unity of all that lives and breathes, peace will be his. At present it must be won by a prayer of the individual soul, who feels sorely in need of it. There are thousands of such souls everywhere, and to them the message from on High has come down, “Call upon me and I will answer thee, and I will show thee great and mighty things, and I will heal thee and give thee an abundance of truth and peace.”

To disagree is not to hate.
To offend is not to terrorize.
To be at peace does not mean “to be the same.” Peace does not come from conformity. Peace comes from freedom. And freedom can only exist for some when it exists for all.

To validate your cry for freedom, your need for respect, your right to equality, your autonomy and value as a human, you must recognize the same in all other humans.

A Human Approach to World Peace

His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, The Fourtheenth Dalai Lama

The premise behind this idea of universal responsibility is the simple fact that, in general terms, all others’ desires are the same as mine. Every being wants happiness and does not want suffering. If we, as intelligent human beings, do not accept this fact, there will be more and more suffering on this planet. If we adopt a self-centered approach to life and constantly try to use others for our own self-interest, we may gain temporary benefits, but in the long run we will not succeed in achieving even personal happiness, and world peace will be completely out of the question.

If their cry for freedom is not legitimate, neither is yours. If their need for respect is not met, neither will yours be. If their right to equality is not valid, you have given up your own right to the same. If you do not recognize the autonomy and value of others, you have forfeited your own autonomy and value.

We create the world we live in.
Let us make it a world of peace.

Navajo Prayers: Night Chant

Being as it used to be long ago, may I walk.
May it be happy (or beautiful) before me.
May it be beautiful behind me.
May it be beautiful below me.
May it be beautiful above me.
May it be beautiful all around me.
In beauty it is finished.
In beauty it is finished.

Photo Credit: jurvetson via Compfight cc

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