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Friends, I ask you to oppose ALL non-consensual non-defensive violence, even when it's legal or done by your government.
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- Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
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Friends, I ask you to oppose ALL non-consensual non-defensive violence, even when it's legal or done by your government.
I'm not saying you should do it. As explained in the book, there are no 'shoulds' or 'oughts' in my philosophy. Thinking or believing that things you cannot control 'should' be different than they are is incompatible with having inner peace. And I have inner peace (a.k.a. consistent true happiness). I have inner peace, in large part, because I don't think anything I cannot control 'should' be different than it unchangeably is.
I won't hate you or resent you if you don't do it. As explained in the book, I don't hate or resent anything. Choosing to engage in hate or resentment is incompatible with having inner peace. And I have inner peace. I have inner peace, in large part, because I don't engage in hate or resentment of anyone or anything at all.
I don't expect you to do it. As explained in the book, I don't have any expectations. Having expectations, particularly unmet expectations, is incompatible with having inner peace. In large part, I have wonderful consistent inner peace because I don't ever have any unmet expectations.
With that said, if you read the book, and you are reading this post, then I consider you a friend.
As a friend, I can ask you to join me on my team for a game of sports, perhaps a game of soccer with my kids. As a friend, I can invite you over to my house. Indeed, for anyone who has read my book and is reading this now, if you ever find yourself near me (meaning in Manchester, Connecticut) please do reach out. Take this as an open invitation to come visit me and my family in my home, or to join my friends and I for a dance party out on the town or dinner at a nice restaurant or both. That's not rhetoric; that's a genuine invitation.
As a friend, I can politely suggest, "let's do this", or "let's do that". It's a mere polite invitation.
I don't get much involved in politics anymore, and as I explain in my book, in many ways I don't even see you or myself as truly human, not in terms of the real you or the real me. In many important ways, we are so much realer and deeper and bigger than some one little planet called Earth in a vast cosmos scattered with stars and galaxies. Even the biggest human kingdoms are less than a tiny shirt-lived anthill in the cosmos.
But, as human beings, we live life on two levels, which is explained in the book via the concept of the "Two Yous". We are both human and being. We are both essence and form. We are both the real dreamer and the dreamy avatar. We are both, at once, eternally our shared eternal true self and temporarily our separate unreal temporal self.
As a spirit, a being, and an eternal essence that transcends the fiction of time and the illusion of death, I fully and unconditionally accept and love this beautiful timeless world just as it unchangeably is.
But, as my book says, part of finding the consistent true happiness that is loving free-spirited inner peace is having that consistent inner peace on the ups and the downs. It's having it during times of comfort and discomfort. It's being able to embrace pain and discomfort with loving free-spirited inner peace.
I have this true happiness of loving free-spirited inner peace even when--as a human--I bleed and cry.
As a human, my heart breaks for the millions of peaceful non-violent human beings who rot in jails and prisons throughout the USA, and the whole world, for victimless crimes such as but not at all limited to marijuana possession. That's millions of people. Even in the USA, most people in jail are peaceful people only charged with non-violent crimes. Many times the reason on the paper is not the real reason anyway, in that many non-violent offenders are not rotting in cells for a non-violent offense per se but just because of the color of their skin or some other equally dumb reason--even the charge of non-violent crime is often just an excuse, a sort of true lie. The statistics are clear on it: people of all backgrounds and classes use illegal drugs like marijuana at the same rates, but the ones being violently shoved in expensive prisons for it are disproportionately of specific skin tones and backgrounds, with class and money having a huge effect. I've said before that inside every living human skull there is an entire universe. Many of those skulls are inside bodies that are inside miserable cells, not metaphorical cages but literal cages. And they are put there legally by their own government. These are peaceful people--parents, children, sisters, and brothers--being shoved in prisons, and if the taxpayers refuse to pay for it they get shoved in prison too.
Would you ever support putting a pacifist in prison? There are pacifists in prison right now as you read this. Martin Luther King was arrested 29 times. That's not ancient history; I know people who are alive today who were born before Martin Luther King was born. They were older than he was while he sat in jail.
As I mention in the book, marital rape wasn't fully banned in the USA until 1993. That's only 30 years ago. I'm only 36. I'm a millennial, I'm not that old, but even when I was born, there was still women being legally raped by their husbands in the USA. And in other places it still happens.
As a human, my heart breaks for the peaceful gay people who are legally murdered by their own governments even in democratic countries like Uganda. To this day, peaceful people are publicly executed just for being gay, and it's legal murder, and it's funded by taxpayers. It's a crime to be gay in some countries but not a crime to murder gay people. Quite the opposite: It's law enforcement and government agents that are doing the murder. It's legal murder, and it happens in democratic countries. This is nothing new. This has been going on since before Rome even put up its first crucifix and nailed a peaceful human being to it. With non-violent crimes as the excuse, peaceful people have been getting murdered and imprisoned by their own governments every day for thousands of years. It never stopped, and it's still happening to this day a lot.
Democracy won't save them. Voting isn't enough. Even Hitler was elected. Even before it became an empire, Rome's democracy legally crucified many peaceful people, including plenty of voting citizens.
It breaks my heart. It breaks my human heart.
Please excuse the gruesome example, but gang rape doesn't become consensual just because the rapists outnumber the victim.
Voting isn't enough. By that, I mean, it's not enough to save the victims. It won't save them. It might be enough to make the voter feel like they've done enough, so they can go back to video games and drinking beer or whatever, just like throwing some pennies into a corrupt charity's bucket might make someone feel like they did enough to help starving children not starve to death. If it was enough, the murdering would have already stopped. If it was enough, the kids would have already stopped starving. Objectively, it's simply not enough. Not even close.
My book discusses the mental acrobatics humans do to deal with or avoid their feelings of guilt and inaction about things like 10,000 children starving to death every single day. The same goes for how we respond to our own governments committing legal non-defensive violence against our fellow citizens. It's peaceful people violently victimized by a government we help fund.
If I cannot persuade you to do more to help feed the 10,000 kids who starve to death every day, or to go to a hospital right now and donate a kidney to someone who will die if you don't, how could I convince you to actively stand up and do something more than mere voting to help the victims being violently attacked by their own government, or legally by their own neighbors and countrymen.
Most violence is state-sponsored and funded by taxpayers like you. And like me.
If you do become an activist as such, you will likely end up in jail yourself. Like I already said, Martin Luther King was arrested 29 times.
If you look up what happened to people like John Brown and the Black Panthers, it gets even worse. By even worse, I refer to the severity of the consequences you will endure as a result of your sacrifice for your fellow human being.
In the book, I write that love is not sacrificing your happiness for another, but being happy to sacrifice for another.
It's being happy to sacrifice your comfort. It's being happy to endure pain, discomfort, fear, hunger, and even violent attack for your fellow human being, including but not limited to your future self. Would you stand in front of a bus to save a kid from getting hit? Would you stand in a front of an executioner to save a gay person from being executed by their own government? Would you hide Anne Frank in your attic? It's a crime to do it; would you do that crime?
As a protest of slavery, Henry David Thoreau went to jail for refusing to pay taxes. Would you do that crime? How much of your tax dollars are used to fund aggressive non-defensive violence? That's not rhetorical. Think about it. Can you come up with a real number? Why do you pay it? What will happen if you don't? Who will do that to you? They use violence and violent threat to get money to pay for yet more violence.
Thích Quảng Đức was Buddhist monk who burned himself alive to protest the violent tyranny of the government.
He burned himself alive, and didn't even flinch while he burned. When I think of bravery and transcendence, I most often think of him. Bravery is a form of transcendence. it is the transcendence of fear. It's not fearlessness. In other words, transcendence is not elimination. In fact, the opposite is the case: You have to be afraid to be brave. And, just as fear can be transcended, all feelings like pain, hunger, and discomfort can be transcended. We call it bravery when it's fear that's being transcended, but otherwise we typically call it self-discipline or spiritual freedom. It is epitomized by the lover who is happy to endure pain, fear, and discomfort for the beloved.
I'm not asking you to burn yourself alive. I'm not asking you to get yourself arrested. But, I am asking you, what will you do?
Peaceful people are being imprisoned and legally murdered daily by their own governments.
Are you going to do anything about it? If so, what are you going to do?
These are not rhetorical questions. I'm really asking.
As a friend and a heartbroken human, I am really asking you, what are you willing to do?
About the Author: Eckhart Aurelius Hughes is the author of the book, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All.
"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."
I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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