See Causing Injury — Medium

I have never knowingly killed or been killed. So I have no idea whether it is right to call it harm. Why then do I? Why place killing at the very bottom, the lowest rung, of evil.

It’s because I have — as have most people — known death in many guises. Three of my cousins were felled by the same inherited disease as their adolescence bloomed. Key childhood playmates were lost. My wrenching novella Some Stones Don’t Roll recounts the last day of a friend who turned out to be a paranoid schizophrenic.

Our world is littered with suicides of soldiers who themselves took lives. Even if experience did not tell me killing is harm, my philosophy would. Death is the canceling of life. It is harm. It is forsakenness. It is the canceling of freedom. It may, as Dylan says, not be the end. But we must treat it as such to be honest to reality.

We can argue as well that death is also death of the spirit, of ethical will, of the courage to be. That death happens when we retreat from doing right. Dr. King believed that.

Yet, such death of the spirit can be reversed in the twinkling of an eye. I am one with with Jesus on this point. Jesus refused gaudy miracles. But he was into instantaneous healing. He did so wherever he found enough belief to create mutuality necessary to healing.

Jesus and anyone else is a bust if there is no faith. But faith is also a matter of will. I believe profoundly in the power of the will to achieve inner miracles.

One reason I have not practiced as a minister, save for a few intervals, is that I would inevitably draw attention to this possibility. I have no idea what trouble it might get me into. I content myself largely with the power of words.

If you read this and apply your will to the alteration of anything in your life, it can (and perhaps WILL) happen. Not because I am a super sort, but because you are.

We are all capable of acts of will. Does it work 100 percent? No. I don’t know why. But often it does work. Sometimes long after you remember that you willed it!

It is odd to be at the end of this difficult book speaking of faith. We should be speaking of peace conferences, disarmament, gun control, safety measures — everything to reduce harm.

But there are things that must be said if life is to be worth a candle. Happiness is often found not in the serene environments of nations that have fair income patterns, great health care and calm neighborhoods. Happiness often is strongest where the worst of evils flourish. To transit to a world that is better, more reasonable, safer, we need to adjust within ourselves to being in charge of our existence. And we need to know that the reduction of harm does not reduce the possibility of suffering.

To achieve this change is to acknowledge the sacredness of the freedom we possess. It is to become genuinely self-sufficient. Our primary loyalty must be to ourselves and what we take to be the spirituality within us as the linchpin of the values that show forth freedom and love.

This is not reductionist humanism. Nor is it religion in disguise. This is our faithful grasp of the inner resources needed to live, knowing that we are prone to every good and every bad on the chart that prefaces this text.

We need, in short, to practice something similar to the discipline I have called Triadic Philosophy. To decide to run your life, to be aware that there are higher values you share with potentially all others, to stride forth with expressions and actions that betoken a commitment to create a better planet — these are the rewards of choosing life over death, survival over suicide.

It finally comes down to each of us and to the difference each life can make in the interactive scheme of everything.


This is from a new Kindle book called Universal Good and Evil.

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