I sit in quiet meditation looking out from my space at the trees and greenery around me, the river, the peacefulness of being. I have no need to know what day or time it is as neither has any relevance to existence here. If only the world was so.
I imagine those who sought to rule the world at various times thought the same. Those responsible for this space created a world without anger and hate. Love and respect are the central themes here.
I am waiting for my dear friend Martin to join me this morning. We have been bumping into one another around the grounds and finally made a plan to meet.
“Good morning Socrates. I am honored to be a guest in your space.”
“It is my pleasure to have you here Martin. Please come in and have a seat.”
Martin and I are comfortable with one another. We have shared many wonderful and insightful conversations.
“It has been too long Socrates. Much too long.”
“I have been thinking about my college days Martin and the beginnings of your peaceful, non violence approach to real life everyday terror. Nothing has changed Martin. Racism still exists.”
“Some see it that way but there can be no gainsaying of the fact that a great revolution is taking place in the world today… it is an unhappy truth that racism is a way of life for the vast majority of white Americans, spoken and unspoken, acknowledged and denied, subtle and sometimes not so subtle. The disease of racism permeates and poisons a whole body politic. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality… Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
“That is true Martin and in light of this racism you continue to believe in a philosophy of love and nonviolence.”
“I think we can be sure that the vast majority of us who engage in the demonstrations and who understand the nonviolent philosophy will be able to face dogs and all of the other brutal methods that are used without retaliating with violence, because we understand that one of the first principles of nonviolence is a willingness to be the recipient of violence, while never inflicting violence on another.”
“In my younger days Martin, I considered myself a soldier for the cause but I did not know how many times I could turn the other cheek and love my enemy.”
“Well, I don’t think of love as, in this context, as emotional bosh, but I think of love as something strong and that organizes itself into powerful direct action. This is what I have tried to teach in the struggle in the South, that we are not engaged in a struggle that means we sit down and do nothing. There is a great deal of difference between nonresistance to evil and nonviolent resistance.”
“You speak of love in the same way Jesus speaks of love.”
“Yes, Socrates. I equate love with agape. Agape means understanding, redeeming good will for all men. It is an overflowing love which is purely spontaneous, unmotivated, groundless, and creative. It is not set in motion by any quality or function of its object… Agape is disinterested love. It is a love in which the individual seeks not his own good, but the good of his neighbor. Agape does not begin by discriminating between worthy and unworthy people, or any qualities people possess. It begins by loving others for their sakes. It is an entirely “neighbor-regarding concern for others,” which discovers the neighbor in every man it meets. Therefore, agape makes no distinction between friends and enemy; it is directed toward both.”
“Love thy neighbor as thy friend?”
“Yes. If one loves an individual merely on account of his friendliness, he loves him for the sake of the benefits to be gained from the friendship, rather than for the friend’s own sake. Consequently, the best way to assure oneself that love is disinterested is to have love for the enemy-neighbor from whom you can expect no good in return, but only hostility and persecution.”
“So the good and decent become the sacrificial lambs of the fierce and waring.”
“No Socrates. That is not what I met. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. But before we continue, why don’t we move to your hot tub? My aging body could use a good soak.”
“That sounds perfect Martin. It would be my pleasure.”
The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Book II Chapter Five — Seneca will be published on Sunday, July 07, 2019.