22 October 2011

The following is in response to a letter I received from someone in the local Olympia Occupy Wall Street solidarity encampment/ village:

I am sorry you think I am a confusing person. I hope that our in person chat helped a little bit in terms of understanding where we are, each of us, coming from.

I am sorry that my behavior frustrates you. Please believe me that I do not intend to frustrate you in any way.

I care very deeply about humanity, and truly want to see the world changed so it works best for everyone. I want to see an end to all violence.

I have deep sympathy for people who are triggered by the presence of police. I am also triggered by the presence of some police officers. It is interesting to note that I have not been triggered by the State Patrol, but I was triggered today when an Olympia PD officer showed up.

I disagree with you that a cop's job is to bully people.

I also understand that there are a lot of people in the 99% who have committed violent crimes.

I think what will make this movement most successful - and lead toward the kind of cultural transformation that will result in the eradication of all unnecessary suffering - is to create a space of inclusion and healing —where people who have committed violence can feel safe to participate in processes of restorative justice and reconciliation.

Signs and messages that target a specific group (like the police, or even bankers,) no matter the behavior of the group, are not productive toward the goal of inclusion and maintaining an open, welcoming, accepting place. (*note that the 99% movement against Wall Street, at least in how I think it should be best applied, is not directed so much at individuals, as it is targeted at unjust, abusive, predatory economic systems. —i.e. the Wall Street system forces harmful competition.)

People should be free to express themselves. And people should also be encouraged toward conscious awareness about the effect of their expressions on others.

No one is perfect. And that's not the point. We all make mistakes, and that's okay. What's important, is that we seek a supportive environment, that encourages productive risk-taking in the interests of mutual betterment for all. And that we don't get bogged down in petty disagreements, and speculation about others' motivations.

Also important to note, in terms of psychological analysis, is that violent and criminal behavior does not occur in a vacuum. People who act out in ways that are harmful toward others, have almost always experienced some prior violence directed toward themselves. The perpetrator is nearly always suffering from an earlier wound.

So abuse/violence is cyclic. And if the cycle is going to be stopped, then who is going to stop it? Maybe we can. How can we stop it?

By choosing to acknowledge how we are all interconnected, interdependent on each other for creating the kind of world where people do not experience unnecessary suffering (that results from cyclic violence.)

That's why I want to see the Olympia solidarity movement against predatory economics, and against abusive policing, etc. be a place of restoration, and reconciliation, of reclamation - of justice, and of our mutual health and humanity.

Maybe the controversial tent messages can be restated in ways that are productive— instead of ways that are inflammatory, exclusive, and can be interpreted as abusive in and of themselves...

I remember when I was 18 and 20 years old. I was angry. Including at the cops. I resented them. They were bullying. They were reacting. I was reacting. And it was a degenerative process. I have learned, in the 10 or 15 years since then, that there is a better way, a more effective way, a way that is mutually uplifting. This way is not perfect. But this way is less aggravating, less anxiety producing, and more prone to being accepted and respected by a large audience - more prone to mass appeal. The way is behaving honorably—this includes refraining from killing, stealing, lying, and other manners of abusive behavior. The way is to contrast honorable behavior against shameful behavior —the kind of violence and abusive behaviors we see resulting from SYSTEMIC economic and political corruption.

IMG_1026It maybe nearly always better to have these conversations in person, and be open and honest and forthright about our experiences, in the interest of mutual validation and individual empowerment.

Thank you for your correspondence.

With respect for all. Sincerely,

1 comment:

  1. Love ya Berd. PEACE. Violence is not worth a damn.