Archive for January, 2008
Given that terrorism is a persistent threat in our world, we could benefit from looking for effective ways to deal with it.
One response, which we can presently see being tried out with little success, is to lash out in the general direction that the terrorism comes from. But it would be irrational to believe that this could ever work against terrorism.
Terrorism does not come from one person or from one group, and this makes it impossible to target terrorism directly. Terrorism comes from ideas that condone hate, and hateful ideas are only reinforced by violence. This means that terrorism, once it exists, cannot effectively be decreased using violence. Like trying to cut the head off a hydra, you cannot kill a terrorist without creating several in their place.
So instead of wasting time and resources fighting terrorism, we should focus on eliminating some of the contributing factors to terrorism, like poverty and war. The fewer humans living in extreme poverty and/or living in a war zone, the fewer terrorists we will have in the future.
Still, we need to recognize that there may always be terrorism. Without a microchip in every one’s brain that checks for terrorist thoughts, there would be no way to stop all forms of terrorism.
Considering that most of us would like to keep being alive, it can be hard to learn to accept living with terrorism. This is where some Buddhist thoughts can help.
Embracing the notion of non-attachment and defenselessness can be effective ways to live with terrorism. When we no longer fear losing whatever we have to lose, we can be free to enjoy what we already have as well as what we will attain.
While this notion may seem absurd to one who’s never encountered such thoughts, practicing techniques to relinquish attachment and be defenseless – while still remaining hopeful and optimistic – can be extremely effective tools to fight the effects of terrorism.
If we don’t waste our time living in fear and squandering our resources protecting ourselves from mostly imaginary threats, we can devote our energy and resources towards positive and productive things. This way we can enjoy our lives fully until the day we die, which in all statistical probability, will near our average life expectancy.
Let us not worry about death from terrorism or anything else. Instead, let us focus on what we need to do to live our lives to the fullest.