A Simple and Humbling Ideal: I try to be respectful to the person in front of me. It’s not exciting like freeing the slaves, it’s not beautifully whole like non-violent resistance, it’s not intoxicating like deep spiritual realization, nor is it grand like changing the world. And since it is not a great cause with a long grand march to an imagined glorious outcome, the results are in almost immediately. It’s not uncommon for me to be reminded that I’ll never be perfect it. (At those moments, I like to think dreamily about the day all humans will live in freedom. Ah, sweet distraction.)
There’s this guy who really gets under my skin. I love to say ironically funny or insightfully critical things about him behind his back. Yeah, I’m that kind of passive aggressive guy–afraid of confrontation but arrogant nonetheless. Surely you know the type. I wish I weren’t petty like that. But there are a lot of different ways to disrespect people. At least my way is occasionally funny. OTOH, with explosive anger sometimes you get to see frighteningly spectacular displays of household goods being creatively employed contrary to their intended use.
There are all kinds of violence, aren’t there. I lived for a couple of years at the Center for Non-Violent Action. My wife and I were young while the other couple were experienced hands in the peace business. One day my wife (ex) said to me, “They talk about and work for peace a lot, but if you think about it, they are pretty violent to each other.” The plain truth of her claim was inarguable.