Reflections on recent events

Originally posted here on Oct. 19, 2015.

I am starting to see very clearly that there are those people who have the moral and emotional intelligence to understand two sides of a conflict, two enemies at once, and there are those who need to demonize someone in every situation. There are those who can empathize with their own community and with another, and there are those who at every turn look to demonize one group and whitewash their own. These are two camps of humanity, one with an evolved mind, and one with a primitive mind. Educational levels and graduate degrees having nothing to do with these two camps.

I am horrified by the mob mentality, I am saddened by many people I have helped and defended, not from my own community, who the first chance they get, join virtual lynch mobs.

The fact is that it is easy to demonize, it is the lazy primitive brain’s way out of stress. It takes work to see good and bad existing side by side, in Israelis, in Iranians, in Palestinians, in Americans, in Pakistanis, in African Americans, in Southerners, in Jews, in Muslims, in Christians.

I will never again assume that if someone is from a victim group that they have an evolved moral mind, and I will never again assume that education has anything to do with empathy, balance, and the capacity for making peace between enemies.

I see Palestinians and Israelis working hard, individually and in groups, to stop the killing, to work with each other, to save each other. and then I see primitive minds on the side, like spectators in the Coliseum, looking for blood, looking for guilt and innocence, waiting to pounce in judgment, in hate.

Now it is crunch time, when you want to help in situations of war, from Syria, to Israel and Palestine, there is only one way, dispassionate investigation, listening, suspension of quick judgment, discernment, empathy, and an abhorrence of lynch mobs, real and virtual.

© Marc Gopin