violence and the sacred

Violence toward animals spawns violence toward people.

Children are often trained to be warriors (killers of other humans) through hunting rituals designed to desensitize them to acting violently and killing other living souls. It it then an easy step from killing an animal to killing a human you think of as “an animal.” Then it becomes another easy step to killing a human you think of as “foreign” or “different.”  Why?

We are not predators by nature. We are trained to be killers from the time we are children.  We are trained to see “foreigners” as “animals.”  Look at Allied World War II propaganda posters depicting Japanese and Germans “animals.”  Look at how Nazis referred to the Jews as “vermin,” and depicting them as rats in human clothes.  Look at how we humans apply the term “animal.”  

An animal is a living, conscious, sentient being.  Its soul is your soul.  The “witness” that watches your mind and calls it “I”, also watches through the eyes of other humans and through through the eyes of animals.  It is sacred. To begin to see the sacred as “things” that are acceptable to kill, to own, or exploit is at the root of our collective soul’s sickness.  It leads to crime, bullying, domestic abuse, slavery and warfare.

A stunning example is the account of a  participant in the My Lei Massacre during the Vietnam War named Michael Terry, then a member of the C Platoon of Medina’s company.  

 “I think that probably the officers didn’t really know if they were ordered to kill the villagers or not. …A lot of guys feel that they (the South Vietnamese civilians) aren’t human beings; we just treated them like animals.”

Let those words sink in. 

We cannot have a crime-free, war-free, bully-free, domestic-abuse-free, just, kind, or compassionate society as long as we embrace the root of violence which is the desacralization of the conscious essence of other sentient beings.   Desacralization of and violence toward animals is the great spiritual disease of our species.  It’s where we went wrong.

Veganism is the necessary foundation for the resacralization of sentient beings and of any significant and meaningful reduction of violence in our world. We must vomit up the toxin of desacralization that leads to seeing other sentient beings as “things.”

“The acquittal of the armed ranchers shows us exactly how whiteness works. White people are presumed innocent, then you're proven innocent. For people of color, the presumption is often guilt, whether it's while protesting police violence or protecting a sacred natural resource.”

— Jamilah King, two tweets show how ridiculous this double standard really is

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Gallic Druids (according to Caesar)

According to Julius Caesar, who is the principal source of information about the Druids, there were two groups of men in Gaul that were held in honour, the Druids and the noblemen (equites). Caesar related that the Druids took charge of public and private sacrifices, and many young men went to them for instruction.

One Druid was made the chief; upon his death, another was appointed. If, however, several were equal in merit, the Druids voted, although they sometimes resorted to armed violence. Once a year the Druids assembled at a sacred place in the territory of the Carnutes, which was believed to be the centre of all Gaul, and all legal disputes were there submitted to the judgment of the Druids.

Caesar also recorded that the Druids abstained from warfare and paid no tribute. Attracted by those privileges, many joined the order voluntarily or were sent by their families. They studied ancient verse, natural philosophy, astronomy, and the lore of the gods, some spending as much as 20 years in training. The Druids’ principal doctrine was that the soul was immortal and passed at death from one person into another.

The Druids offered human sacrifices for those who were gravely sick or in danger of death in battle. Huge wickerwork images were filled with living men and then burned; although the Druids preferred to sacrifice criminals, they would choose innocent victims if necessary.

March 14. Reading Sprints. Thanks, @locs-and-books, for hosting tonight–I super needed to get on reading this sucker, and it’s not idea for pre-bed reading because it’s sooo dense. Really neat and fascinating, but rather dense. I read a chapter of it for a paper I wrote about Katniss a couple years ago (yikes to that plural years), and my professor said the rest would be interesting reading, too.

I took notes as I went, since I’m trying to retain it, so I read a measly 11.5 pages in 40 minutes, got to a section break, saw the words “menstrual blood” in the next section, and figured I could use a breather, so I took a crummy dim lighting picture and uploaded it instead. It’s super fascinating and interesting. Two highlight quotes for y’all:

1. “Centuries can pass before men realize there is no real difference between their principle of justice and the concept of revenge.” - p. 24

2. “As a general practice, it is wise to avoid contact with the sick if one wishes to stay healthy. Similarly, it is wise to steer clear of homicides if one is eager not to be killed.” - p. 31 (You’re killin’ me, Girard. Killin’ me.)

Whew :)

Ostensibly the sole object in dispute is the culture-in-crisis, of which each antagonist flatters himself he is the true champion. Everybody is intent on diagnosing the illness to find the cure. But in fact the illness is the other, the other with his false diagnoses and poisonous prescriptions. When real responsibilities vanish, the game remains unchanged; in fact it is all the better for being played without stakes, with each contestant striving to outshine his neighbor rather than trying to shed real light on the supposed object of their concern.
—  Rene Girard, Violence and the Sacred, p217

March 16. Reading Sprints. I made another 14 pages of note-taking progress–tonight there were more examples and recaps of stories than last sprint, so things went a little quicker. I was also starving, so I took a rather literal approach to “egg noodles” (can someone say “grocery shopping”??) and ate dinner while I read. I worked on chapter 2, which is what I read for that Katniss paper I wrote, so this is all familiar to me. Still super interesting though. It’s called “The Sacrificial Crisis,” and it’s neat.

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||March BPC: Just One More Page|| 31. Freebie. So y’know how I normally do a “Books I’ve Read This Month” picture? And highlight the ones by POC? Well … this is it. I read 178 pages of this book, and it wasn’t even all this month (I’m pretty sure I started in, like, January or something). Ugh. It’s dense, and I wasn’t reading fiction because I wasn’t done with Tornado Riders at this point, so this was all I’d read. Oops.

To know more about Gaza we spoke to an anonymous source we’ll call Plucky, because it’s an adorable name, and this article is going to need all the levity it can get.

5 Bizarre Realities of Life at the Edge of Gaza

#5. Settlers Consider Living There a Sacred Duty
The violence in Gaza this summer was just one more chapter in the Big Book of Holy Murder. Since the creation of Israel in 1948, they’ve fought six wars and dealt with countless uprisings in occupied Palestine. By the time the average Palestinian kid in Gaza turns 18, he’s probably seen as much violence in real life as the average American 18-year-old has perpetrated on virtual zombies.

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A Muslim, during Ramadhan (the sacred month of Nur, the month of Light, the fasting month) is not even supposed to let the slightest anger to touch our hearts, let alone commit a most heinous act of violence. 50 human souls. He, if he were even among the sound of mind, is not what Islam is. My sincerest condolences to the kin and countrymen of the victims of the Orlando Shooting and the father.