Reconciliation and profound change
Every day of the year is 11 September in some part of the world. Every day, thousands of human beings are born surrounded by violence; and every day, thousands die without having found peace and reconciliation with themselves and with others. Since ancient times in history the human being was deemed guilty; and in turn, each human being, throughout their entire personal or social life has lived blaming themselves or blaming others.
For the first time in history, let us stop looking for people to blame.
What is needed is Reconciliation; and for this, asking forgiveness is insufficient. The human being, everywhere in the world, needs to be reconciled. Take a look at Syria, Egypt, or Palestine, just to name a few…
Let us refer to part of the talk given by Silo in Punta de Vacas in 2007.
These are days of Reconciliation, sincere reconciliation with ourselves and those who have harmed us. In these painful relationships that we have endured we are not trying to forgive nor be forgiven. To forgive means that one of the parties is placed in a superior moral position and the other party humbles themselves before the one who forgives. And while it is clear that to forgive is a more advanced step than that of vengeance, it is not so advanced as reconciliation.
Neither are we trying to forget the wrongs that have occurred. It is not the case of trying to falsify the memory. This is the case of trying to comprehend what happened in order to enter into the superior step of reconciliation. Nothing good is achieved, neither personally nor socially, by forgetting or forgiving. Don't forget or forgive! The mind should remain fresh and attentive, without concealments or falsehoods. We are now considering the most important point of Reconciliation which does not admit adulterations. If we are searching for sincere reconciliation with ourselves and with those who have hurt us intensely it is because we want a profound transformation of our lives. A transformation that takes us out of resentment where clearly no one reconciles with anyone and not even with themselves. When we are able to understand that an enemy does not live in our interior but rather a being full of hopes and failures, a being in whom we can see in a short succession of images, beautiful fulfilling moments and also moments of frustration and resentment. When we are able to understand that our enemy is a being who also has lived with hopes and failures, a being who has had beautiful fulfilling moments and also moments of frustration and resentment then we are placing a humanizing look over the skin of monstrosity.
This path towards reconciliation does not appear spontaneously, as in the same way the path towards non-violence does not appear spontaneously. Because both require great comprehension and the formation of a physical repugnance to violence.
It will not be us who judge errors, neither our own nor those of others. For that there is human retribution and justice and by the stature of the times in which their dominion is exercised. I don't want to judge myself nor judge others....I want to deeply understand in order to clean my mind of all resentment.
To reconcile is neither to forget nor forgive, it is to acknowledge all that has happened and to propose oneself to emerge from the circle of resentment. It is to look at the situation, acknowledging one’s errors and those of others. To reconcile within oneself is to propose to not walk down the same road twice, but rather to dispose oneself to repair twice-over the wrongs we have done. But it is clear that we cannot ask those that have offended us to doubly repair the wrongs they have caused us. However, it is a good task to make them see the chain of harm that they are dragging through their lives. In doing this, we reconcile with whom we have previously felt as an enemy even though we don't achieve that the other reconciles with us. But this is now part of the destiny of their actions about which we cannot decide.
We are saying that reconciliation is not reciprocal between people and also the reconciliation with oneself does not bring about, as a consequence, that others leave their vicious circle even though it is possible to recognize the social benefits of such an individual posture.
We are proposing an ample and open discussion about themes that since their origins have marked our culture and our social organization. Paraphrasing what Silo said in Grotte (2008):
The West is based on revenge. To consider overcoming revenge is to consider overcoming the system, to overcome the West. True reconciliation and historical change must address the root of these problems and not propose cosmetic or peripheral changes.
Personal reconciliation and social reconciliation should be the great aspirations and themes of human endeavor today.
Reconciliation must overcome the revenge in us. One must delve into one’s own culture to find elements with which to integrate and reconcile the acts of violence. If unavailable, one should transcend one’s own culture looking for elements in the universal human nation.
We are not looking for forgiveness. Forgiveness implies one of the parties is awarded a moral quality that is superior to the others’. It is not about asking for forgiveness, rather ample reparation of the harm we have created, and which we still create through the Legal, Economic, Social, and Moral forms that were imposed by force.
No to oblivion. For social or personal reconciliation it is important that the whole truth be known. Not only permitting the facts to be known, but effectively collaborating for the truth to be known and for one’s own errors to be recognized and never repeated. It is also important that whoever willingly or unwillingly ignored what was evident, ignored the view of “the other party”, should be truly informed and make their own judgment.
The above should not be an obstacle to justice. All reconciliation, social integration, and peace should also be within current legal frameworks. Should these frameworks be insufficient, they should be amended and improved. Violence is not only the physical act of some human beings against others, but every act that negates the humanity and the freedom of another. In this sense, not only is it necessary to work further on the legal aspects, but also resolve economic, sexual, racial, social, and religious violence.
Physical repulsion of violence shall be the indication of a new sensitivity and a new spirituality, elements that will permit the human being to move forwards out of human prehistory and into true human history.
Treat others as you would like to be treated, an ancient principle that could become a new true aphorism and model of behaviour. When the other person is experienced as a human being who like oneself suffers and acts by simple reflex, when everything that happens to me is felt as foreign, when I experience the human in me and in those around me, when I feel that in each human being −regardless of their race, age, sex, education or creed− there is something sacred that tries to open its way, then surely I will be on a road of liberation and search for what is sacred.
For the Tokarev Institute
World Center of Humanist Studies
11 September 2012
|Adolfo Carpio||Parks of Study and Reflection Los Manantiales|
|Carmen Gloria Ayala||Parks of Study and Reflection Los Manantiales|
|Fernando Solar||Parks of Study and Reflection Los Manantiales|
|Juvenal Peñailillo||Parks of Study and Reflection Los Manantiales|
|Kate Kalirova||Parks of Study and Reflection Los Manantiales|
|Marcos Aviñó||Parks of Study and Reflection Los Manantiales|
|Oscar Cerda||Parks of Study and Reflection Los Manantiales|
|Pablo Mateluna||Parks of Study and Reflection Los Manantiales|