Saintly Thoughts

Fear & Politics

It would appear that many of our political actions are predicated upon fear of the other. There are many others to choose from, but let us focus on the so-called "culture wars" and the opposing camps of religion and secularism.  This is an admitted over-simplification, but suffice it to say, these two groups harbor an unspoken fear of the other.  The secularists are afraid that if the devout ever gained a strong majority control, then they would outlaw the atheist and tax the agnostic and force all to worship at the altar of God Most High.  Of course the devout swear that they would never do this, and likely even believe this of themselves.  But of course they would.  Just as the secularists, if given the power of the state, would tear down the high places and uproot the sacred groves and force all men to worship at the altar of the interior self.  And they too would swear that they would never do this, that such would be against their principles, and they also would believe this.  But underlying all principle, whether arising from the Mouth of God or the Mind of Man, is fear, and fear is stronger than principle.  Fear has been with us longer than our awareness of ourselves or of our gods, and will likely be with us longer.  Must we acquiesce to this harsh mistress?  No, never!  But neither can we escape her, any more than we can escape death; for as long as persons die, they will be ruled by fear.  Is there a way out?  Perhaps.  But it is not of man, and not for woman to teach.  But we can teach about the fear, and in teaching one another that it is there (in ourselves as much as in others) perhaps nullify (or at least dilute) its poison.  The antidote, of course, is learning to fear ourselves first and foremost.  When I contemplate the deep darkness seeping out of the abyss lying beyond the foundations of my very being, how can I be anything but terrified, not of the other, but of myself?