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Writer's Block: Cinco de Mayo

Do you consider yourself patriotic? If so, how do you express it?

No, i believe nationalism is anti-human
and i would like to be a human being.
Patriotism has been called the last refuge of scoundrels
and i have taken that to be a definition.
I have been trying very hard not to be a scoundrel,
but sometimes my country will ask me to be one anyway,
Patriotism, even Israeli patriotism,
has been shown to be a form of idolatry.
(All other patriotisms are idolatry by definition.)
(But as a human being, i can't buy into that either.
A spiritual person cannot condone violence,
and the state has reserved to itself the legitimate use of violence.
and if i act on behalf of a state,
i may be asked to do violence.)
If we follow the same religious symbol but different flags
we may be asked to kill one another.
If we follow the same flag but different gods
we may be asked to forget our religious differences,
Thus the nations ask us to put our flags above our gods.
This means our flags become our gods.
I am not certain that a tattered rag can be my god?
My God, i'm not even sure my god is my God.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
silvershe_wolf
May. 5th, 2011 10:53 am (UTC)
Wow, what an answer! I have always been averse to patriotism. However, I'm not sure about:

'A spiritual person cannot condone violence'

I've thought a lot about that one throughout my life. Can a spiritual person condone violence? What if it is the lesser of two evils?

I agree with the Buddha's nonviolent teachings, and yet in the world I wonder whether we sometimes have to accept that violence may be the lesser of two evils, in cases where an attacker will kill and torture many unless physically stopped by violent means.

For example, is it wrong for a parent to protect their children from a violent attacker? Should a 'spiritual' parent allow their children to be attacked/abused/murdered rather than raise a hand to the atttacker?
bobby1933
May. 5th, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
violence?
I hear your point loud and clear.
I guess i might have to put it this way:
It is my duty to protect the weaker from the stronger.
the more innocent from the less innocent
the target from the attacker (whenever i can determine which is which).
(At one point Eckhart says that justice
is above all other virtues.)
I hope my attitude, when i do this, is saddness,
not triumph and never joy.
silvershe_wolf
May. 5th, 2011 05:38 pm (UTC)
Re: violence?
Yes, that is well put. Esp this:

'I hope my attitude, when i do this, is saddness,
not triumph and never joy.'

I thought this over Osama's death. I was sad to see the death of a human being celebrated. I understood why people felt this way, but I felt sad too, as honestly, we should never celebrate the death of a human being.

Edited at 2011-05-05 05:44 pm (UTC)
bobby1933
May. 5th, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC)
Re: violence?
Yeah!
amaebi
May. 5th, 2011 12:02 pm (UTC)
I have never been patriotic. Well, I was when I was five.

I have tremendous reservations about loyalty as well.*

I went and washed some dishes after reading what you said, and I realized that as I don't do authority of entities, so I don't really do or much trust loyalty to entities nor to systems or methods or cultures. Loyalty to a purpose, recognizing that its earthly achievement may change, and that means of reaching toward it will change, doesn't seem so problematic to me.


* It's good not to abandon or betray people just whenever it becomes handy, but to have some tenacity in one's caring. But loyalty that's called on much shouldn't be there. I think, actually, that the loyalty that seems worthwhile to me might better be named lack of temporal myopia.
bobby1933
May. 5th, 2011 07:30 pm (UTC)
I was still a patriot at eleven. But we were in WWII, and i knew of no other way to be.

The Taoist view of loyalty is that it is a tertiary virtue, It appears when love and kindness have been forgotten. Love and kindness appear when the Tao has been forgotten. When we follow the Tao we are as "loyal" as we are supposed to be.

Btw, according to Nasr, all these secondary and tertiary virtues can turn on us in terrible ways unless we know that we and and our whole species are created in the image of God,
amaebi
May. 5th, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC)
And there Nasr and Augustine are brothers. :)
wholesalamander
May. 5th, 2011 12:10 pm (UTC)
I really like this a lot. OK to share it? On Easter I always get riled up and I almost posted, but got distracted by moving etc. I have peacemaker friends who are so angry as they wave their "flag" that it's hard to keep listening sometimes. I mean, just different gods is all, just different flags. We need the way up and out of that.
bobby1933
May. 5th, 2011 07:45 pm (UTC)
"Up" and out indeed!
I'm honored that you want to use my stuff, sure, go ahead.
wholesalamander
May. 9th, 2011 12:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
reginaterrae
May. 5th, 2011 02:12 pm (UTC)
Permission to re-post this part to my journal?

"If we follow the same religious symbol but different flags
we may be asked to kill one another.
If we follow the same flag but different gods
we may be asked to forget our religious differences,
Thus the nations ask us to put our flags above our gods.
This means our flags become our gods.
I am not certain that a tattered rag can be my god?
My God, i'm not even sure my god is my God."
bobby1933
May. 5th, 2011 07:47 pm (UTC)
Of course, Regina. That goes without saying.
Love, peace and happy cooking, to you,
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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