Fort Hood's Nidal Hasan – or – Why Today's Soldiers Go Crazy

The tragic recent murders by Maj. Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood are part of an epidemic of suicides, violent crimes, and shooting sprees among active-duty and former soldiers which stem in great part from their understandable moral and ethical confusion about the nature of war and the uses of power and violence. Women soldiers newly serving in combat positions often struggle with their uncertainties about adopting formerly-despised “male” traditions of violence and dominance, especially since their use of such power—as male soldiers have always known—can and does often lead to a sense of separation from the human race, to feelings of isolation, aloneness, difference, wrongness, fear, inadequacy, failure, loss and rejection.


Add to these moral conundrums of conscience the fact that soldiers are expected to behave in uncivilized and dominating ways while “at work,” and then nimbly revert back to behaving civilly and helpfully at home, flexibly “getting back in touch with their feminine sides” and working in equitable partnerships, building family affection, connections and wholeness. Clearly, twenty-first century soldiers have their hands full to be all they can be.


Military trainers work very hard to try to turn selfless, idealistic, caring young recruits into good soldiers who can be both safe and effective in war zones, prepared to perform as knee-jerk killers, to instantly shoot down complete strangers—often innocents themselves who are protecting their own homes and families and comrades-in-arms—and to carry out the cold-blooded duties of snipers, bombers, interrogators and other executioners who must kill with no hesitation or trace of due process random members of any population demonized as “the enemy,” “others”—i.e., people it’s OK to treat as non-humans.


Good soldiers are offered a fuzzy kind of contextual logic to (temporarily) ethically “cover them” and their bloodiest actions, for at least as long as they can believe that their killing and dying serves a worthwhile purpose—that is, to protect their friends and families and fellow-citizens, or to serve their country in some way, or to further its noble ideals and purposes. Soldiers can often do their duty if they can cling to some hope that their “jobs” are generally positive ones, that they are necessary, valuable and moral, that their terrible personal losses and cruel sacrifices were not in vain, and that they wasted neither their own lives nor the lives of others.


Unfortunately—or perhaps, fortunately—it’s much harder nowadays in the age of media for us to continue to see complicated human instances of violence in simple black-and-white terms. The rapid pace of change, the continual clashing of conflicting old ideas and emerging new ones, our own American biggest-kid-on-the-block mentality, and our often-thoughtless, retributive, greedy habits of government policy-making with respect to war, empire and militarism—added to our too-violent and vengeful culture—together create a mentally and emotionally combustible, dangerous, crazy-making conundrum for even our best, most well-intentioned and professional soldiers.


“Schizophrenic behavior” is defined as behavior which is motivated by contradictory or conflicting principles, or which results from the co-existence of disparate or antagonistic activities. In other words, when your ideals frequently conflict with each other, and when your actions feel equally conflicted, it can drive you nuts. Fallible human attempts to live up to one’s ethics, values, standards and goals can make even the best soldiers feel schizophrenic.


Growing up on military posts, I believed, just as most citizens of most countries are taught to believe, that our military forces were always a force for good, an organization that helped people, supported peace, promoted freedom and democracy. Since then, I’ve learned that military forces everywhere—like violence of all kinds, from abuse to crime to terrorism—usually harm many more people than they help. I’ve also learned that peace, freedom and democracy cannot co-exist with war, because wherever war goes, anything resembling peace, freedom and democracy quickly disappear.


Even the best-trained soldiers—those convinced that military actions are all about duty, honor and country, taking care of one another, following orders, and serving with excellence, integrity and honor in order to further the protection and interests of loved ones and the best nation on earth—in the midst of war, wonder whether their actions are truly helping or hurting people, whether they are on the “giving” or on the “taking” “side.” Every soldier prays that he will someday look back and believe his life and work have served the best interests of humanity—and heaven forbid that they have served on the side of darkness, pain, grief, and cruelty. In the midst of actions far from their homes, all soldiers wonder at times whether their devotion to military ideals and country may not conceal larger, deeper, sadder contradictions about the nature and missions of militarism and war.


When soldiers from any nation come home from their wars, of course they have trouble rectifying all they've participated in, with their peacetime ethical, spiritual and religious beliefs about what it means to be humane, caring, good—all the many understandings parents and teachers carefully taught them about what makes relationships work, and what make life worth living. Many returning war veterans basically go insane for years. Others are unstable or crazy for the rest of their lives.


Everyone insists that training and fighting animals—cocks, dogs, bulls—is an outrage. We wouldn't, they say, we couldn’t, we shouldn’t do this to a dog! So why do we keep doing it to people?


Every soldier I have known, at one time entered the military with selfless ideals and the best intentions. Sadly, military training and war often work subtly against soldiers’ best interests, leaving them confused about what power and leadership really mean, as well as poorly-prepared for the peaceful, productive civilian relationships they spend years dreaming of forging, at war’s end.


Unfortunately, the many sad, lingering side-effects of military training and war include a heightened tendency to polarize even small conflicts into black-and-white situations requiring a quick, habitual adversarial or violent response to conflict—habits which later work insidiously against both the soldiers and their loved ones. Quickness to violence—while perhaps an asset in effective soldiering—is a terrible emotional burden in civilian life. Recent public-safety statistics indicate that too many soldiers attempting to re-enter civilian life—having spent their impressionable youth on high alert, in kill-or-be-killed situations—have become habituated to violent, lawless behavior, and continue to pay huge, never-ending psychic prices for their previous military involvements after their return to “civilization.”


The number and types of military resources America should maintain may be a matter of reasonable debate, but what is not arguable is our need to develop more thoughtful and deliberate processes for deciding when and why to send our soldiers into war.


The great writers and filmmakers who have told their stories of past wars have consistently described war as “insane.” Insanity is also the only word that most reasonably describes any future war, since humanity has the knowledge and the means now—if only we develop the will—to resolve conflicts peacefully and prevent the holocausts which the law of unintended consequences, along with our ghastly weaponry, inevitably spiral us into.


Ethical soldiers like my father relive the remembered insanity of war for the rest of their lives, alternating between waves of the deepest humane compassion, pride and camaraderie, to long periods of dark, impenetrable, self-protective anger, fear and cynicism.


The cruelly gruesome extremes of war sometimes contaminate and twist even the highest traditional military values into thuggery. Professionalism can be turned, at times, into barbarism. Selflessness can be turned into greed. Idealism can become cynicism. Courage can become savagery. Strength can become dominance. Love of country can turn to jingoism and chauvinism. Obedience, leadership and respect for authority can be warped by exigency into a numbed conscience and momentary group-think. Loyalty can become a destructive “us/them” mentality. Integrity can become a morally confusing paralysis, while duty can be pushed into rote obedience.


However admirably motivated, however morally unambiguous in the midst of a firefight, violent military actions still have the look and feel of chaotic lawlessness. No matter how patriotic or mentally-prepared soldiers may be, the act of killing complete strangers goes queasily against soldiers’ moral teachings about how to treat other people.


The ideal of freedom itself—the dream comprising healthy, productive human lives spent in peaceful pursuit of individual dreams—can feel, during war, quite unrelated to the specifics of what soldiers are often asked to do, because serving the freedom of one group often entails dominating and killing another, something which feels less noble in practice than what most soldiers hope for, particularly when their personal boots-on-the-ground experience has already offered clear evidence that many—perhaps most—of war’s victims are as innocent as the soldiers who kill them. Soldiers don’t sign up to defend moral ambiguities. And yet the first victim of war is truth, followed closely by moral clarity, and, too often, by despair.


However high-minded the justifications given during a soldier’s training, the actual waging of war—the killing, the maiming, the brutalizing—feels more “against” than “for” humans. Unless “the enemy” has successfully been completely dehumanized in the minds of soldiers by war propaganda, military fighting too often seems rather more against than for human value and worth, human liberty; love, individuality, uniqueness; against the highest religious and moral traditions, against human ideals, values, beliefs, against the teachings of history’s great moral teachers, against humanity itself.


Soldiers schooled in war fortify their emotions against moral confusion by coldly dehumanizing and demonizing their enemies, but such temporary moral adjustments don’t serve nearly as well at war’s end, when all the former “non-humans”—the Vietnamese, Germans, Irish, British, Russians, the terrorists, whomever—experience a miraculous rebirth, having been rediscovered somehow to be human beings after all. Soldiers who wisely shut down their feelings against tragically ambiguous memories unfortunately also become emotionally unavailable to their children, parents, and spouses. This happened in my family.


Soldiers who have followed orders to loose destruction and death upon “combatants” and “noncombatants” alike in someone else’s country, often become cynical later even about their own country, about the human capacity for goodness, and the worth of people in general.


“Human” values which specifically exclude certain portions of humanity—Muslims, for instance, or Christians, or certain races or ethnicities —ultimately prove uncomfortingly weak and useless. Nations claiming a constitutional and traditional embrace of “human ideals” and “human rights”—who then insist upon them only for their own citizens and at the expense of citizens of other countries—rapidly lose not only their allies, but also the loyalty and pride of their own citizens; while patriotism which rests shakily upon chauvinism and exceptionalism breaks down quickly into partisan bickering, and too-easily collapsing into division, bigotry, political hatred and violence, and even civil war.


Wars’ costs go far beyond blood and treasure.


All the war books and movies I’ve “enjoyed” shared similar conclusions about their experiences of war. Over and over, each artist expressed the point of view that their war had been insane, cruel, hard, sad, misguided and stupid, and created more problems than were resolved. The grisly killings aspects of war were consistently experienced as pointless, chaotic, numbing, unreasonable, inhumane, confusing, wrong—and sometimes thrilling, in that the pointy end of the sword went into the other guy, and not them. Soldiers throughout history have been urged by their leaders to keep such stories to themselves, or share them only with other soldiers who were there, so as to avoid bringing harm or shame to a unit, or turning the next generation against war itself. 


In nearly every war book and movie, bleak, terrified, mutilated children emphasize the meaninglessness and human tragedy of war, while fear for oneself and one’s friends drives soldiers to acts of cruelty and immorality unimaginable during peacetime.


War never turns out to be at all what anyone expects when they join up, and not much like what they train for either. When at war, every soldier longed for home, and when finally back home, they missed having friends they could talk to, buddies who understood them and their experiences.


All these artists told how their necessary training in hate and fear had carved a black chasms into their psyche, changing them (and their families) forever in ways inexpressible to anyone who hadn’t shared such experience—so mixed are war’s memories with guilt, pride, and loyalty.

Should the U.S. Fear, Antagonize, Denigrate, Irritate or Embrace China?

This anonymous post about anti-China perceptions in the West is viral on the internet. I found it fascinating and thought-provoking. I think you will too…. 

What Do You Really Want From Us?

When we were the sick man of Asia,

We were called the yellow peril.

When we are billed as the next superpower, we are called “the threat.”

When we closed our doors, you launched the Opium War to open our markets.

When we embraced free trade, you blamed us for stealing your jobs.

When we were falling apart, you marched in your troops and demanded your fair share.

When we tried to put the broken pieces back together again, Free Tibet, you screamed. It was an invasion!

When we tried communism, you hated us for being communist.

When we embraced capitalism, you hated us for being capitalist.

When we had a billion people, you said we were destroying the planet.

When we tried limiting our numbers, you said we abused human rights.

When we were poor, you thought we were dogs.

When we lend you cash, you blame us for your national debts.

When we build our industries, you call us polluters.

When we sell you goods, you blame us for global warming.

When we buy oil, you call it exploitation and genocide.

When you go to war for oil, you call it liberation.

When we were lost in chaos, you demanded the rule of law.

When we uphold law and order against violence, you call it a violation of human rights.

When we were silent, you said you wanted us to have free speech.

When we are silent no more, you say we are brainwashed xenophobes.

Why do you hate us so much? we asked.

No, you answered, we don't hate you.

We don't hate you either,

But do you understand us?

Of course we do, you said,

We have AFP, CNN and BBC….

What do you really want from us?

Think hard first, then answer…

Because you only get so many chances.

Enough is enough, enough hypocrisy for this one world.

We want one world, one dream, and peace on earth.

This big blue earth is big enough for all of us.


Please send your comments to Thank you! 🙂


July 2010's Spiritual Sharings

8/2/10 – We’re culturally programmed to react destructively, angrily, guiltily, defensively and vengefully, but we can instead go within and find the gentle, peaceful, loving, forgiving opposites to such conditioning which miraculously transform each moment.


8/1/10 – Our shared cultural judgments damn us all to a collective sense of wrongness, inadequacy, sinfulness and unworthiness, while recognition of our shared spiritual perfection, creativity, will, w/hol(i)eness and love offers all a saving release from fear.


7/31/10 – Cultural myths, like all words and symbols, are always relative. They can be rich, suggestive, poetic, powerful, helpful, revealing and inspiring, as well as confusingly and distractingly circuitous, contradictory, incoherent, destructive—and persistent.


7/30/10 – Words can usefully point to and hint at truth, but they can also obfuscate and complicate truth. Words are always relative, whereas truth is ineffable—inexpressible and incommunicable in words—as well as absolute, experiential, simple and self-evident.


7/29/10 – Words are mere human symbols, variously-defined in relation to one another, subject to arbitrary interpretation, misinterpretation, re-interpretation and twisting. Everything written and spoken is relative, whereas truth is always ineffable and absolute.


7/28/10 – Without a shared theology or belief system, we can still all joyfully join in accepting our beautiful, amazing selves, each other, and the world as-is, sensing our oneness with a timeless, powerful, loving source, and attending to our inner guide.


7/27/10 – We can buy the cultural illusion that we are deprived, cheated sufferers, cruelly and unfairly punished for unavoidable failures; or we can recognize that we are God’s one whole perfect creation, forever sharing the love and abundance of the universe.


7/26/10 – We can beneficially dedicate each day to asking our guiding spirit for loving, strengthening, helpful spiritual perspectives regarding the people, situations, questions and challenges we will encounter, pondering the answers we receive, and applying them.


7/25/10 – We can see humankind as our one self, recognize love’s shared abundance everywhere, and fulfill our only need—to extend acceptance, forgiveness and appreciation as required to gently heal all errors arising from fear of love’s insufficiency.


7/24/10 – When we ask for spiritual help in seeing any situation, issue or person differently, our limited, defensive, angry, skewed viewpoints are powerfully replaced with a helpful, peaceful, smart, thoughtful, intriguing insight which changes everything.


7/23/10 – Within us is a guiding light, a spark of divinity, that-of-God, a calm, soundless voice, a shining conscience, a comforter, sage and seer that strengthens, inspires and loves us, answers our questions, and understands all situations far better than we can.


7/22/10 – We can draw all we encounter into our circle of acceptance, appreciation, love and forgiveness for everything, past and present. As we gently welcome all who stand outside the circle, we will find ourselves drawn safely and peacefully inside it, with them.


7/21/10 – We can close our culturally-blinded, critical, defensive eyes, choose patient acceptance of our own and others’ gaps in understanding, and trust only in God’s quiet, loving judgment of our holiness (wholeness), and in the unity of our shared forgiveness.


7/20/10 – The single essential, motivating lesson we are challenged to teach, exemplify (and thus learn) is how wonderful we all are as-is—wholly lovable in our fallible human uniqueness, forever blameless, sufficient, worthy, indispensible, precious and holy.


7/19/10 – How we see others, treat others, think of others, is how we will see, treat and think of ourselves. We can remember that we are all lovable, wonderful, fallible, forgivable and very human, and that we all have forever to live, learn and love.


7/18/10 – Communication can be honest, effective and true when we ask for spiritual help—in dropping our barriers, staying in the moment, letting go of fear, getting our ego out of the way, and allowing God to express, affirm and celebrate our holy connection.


7/17/10 – God can free us of our cruel cultural illusions—of conditional love, of our own guilt, helplessness and isolation, and of a too-brief interval between birth and death spent fighting over a few unsatisfying earthly rewards and pitilessly-limited slots into heaven.


7/16/10 – What if we live forever in an abundant universe and a timeless present—perfect, undivided, loving, loved, interdependent, innocent, one with God, each other and all creation—and eternally blessed with access to God’s guidance, strength and power?


7/15/10 – We are exactly as we were forever intended to be, uniquely indispensible to God and his creation, timelessly innocent, and capable of expressing one shared perfect love and will. Yet we dream a cultural nightmare of fear, difference, guilt and chaos.


7/14/10 – We can focus our faith, commitment, time, energies and talents on recognizing, creating and fulfilling at each present moment the truth that “what-is” is good; or we can limit and postpone awareness of our own power to creatively fulfill that beautiful reality.


7/13/10 – The justice of God comprises eternal innocence in a timeless present; the gift of an amazing and abundant universe; total access to God’s love, strength, guidance, and spirit; and an eternity in which to enjoy and equally contribute to loving interdependence.


7/12/10 – When we let go of the recent and ancient past—all mistakes and regrets, both ours’ and others’, remembering only good intentions, efforts and gifts—we once again feel light, open, positive, and free to love and give again in each shining new moment.


7/11/10 – We can ask for help in letting go of our cultural focus on harmful illusions, analyses and projections of a competitive, guilty, fearful reality, and instead see everyone and everything through loving, eternal eyes—beautifully, perfectly, spiritually “as-is.”


7/10/10 – We can’t feel and express both negative and positive emotions simultaneously, but we can ask for help in releasing those fearful feelings, so as to allow room for the miraculous healing power of accepting feelings to flow through us in the present moment.


7/9/10 – Anger is a sign of guilt pangs so bad that we attempt to foist them on others by focusing on their mistakes and shortcomings, all in a foolish attempt to redirect our imagined deserved punishments and retributions for an implacable past that is … gone.


7/8/10 – When we confidently and humbly offer our unique and invaluable lives and gifts to the completion of God and his creation, assured that our contributions are as important and indispensible as everyone else’s, God responds by offering us everything, forever.


7/7/10 – We gain what we give. We can offer God’s beloved children strength, light, hope, support, healing and peace as we walk hand-in-hand along our path with them and with God, and receive, multiplied and overflowing, all the gifts that we have extended.


7/6/10 – If we want a peaceful day, we can let go of fear, and share instead God’s eternal acceptance, appreciation and unconditional love with every each of his beloved children, treating all as infinitely worthy of our deepest respect and our most loving thoughts.


7/5/10 – To see only love in ourselves, everyone else, and everything, we can let go of our defenses against it—our fearful cultural lessons, strict personal experiential rules, and every barricade, wall and fortification separating us from offering and receiving it.


7/4/10 – Moment-to-moment, we choose between love and fear. Choosing love always makes sense, because love always works in the eternal now.Choosing fear (guilt, anger, injustice, separation, vengeance, sadness, despair…) never makes sense in any context. 


7/3/10 – We cannot “fix” ourselves or anyone else, but we can choose to see everyone through loving, appreciative, forgiving eyes. When we choose to express peace, we will understand the power, vision, value, joy and clarity (for everyone) in loving choices.


7/2/10 – The body was never meant to last. Only universal mind remains forever in eternal communication with the love that is its self. Love is who we were created to be, who we are and will always be, one perfect love with God and his whole creation.


7/1/10 – When we’re afraid for others, we’re relating to them as to mere limited mortals, tragic figures bound within a brief life and a cruel death. Yet we can choose instead to joyfully communicate as peaceful eternal spirits boundlessly expressing the love of God.


6/30/10 – An instant of willingness to share God’s truth, inspiration, guidance, love, peace, light, forgiveness and joy clears away all nonsense about the past and all its guilty, angry, fearful, judgmental, divided, painful, stupid, useless “knowledge” and “lessons.”

More Spiritual Sharings

3/22/10 – Perfect peacefulness (comprising love, forgiveness, joy, and acceptance of all-that-is, all others, and oneself) is both cause and effect of spiritual wisdom, and vice-versa. Neither peace nor spiritual understanding is ever found apart from the other.


3/21/10 – When we ask our guiding spirit for another way to see all that is troubling us, and attentively await his answer, we can be sure we will always receive a brand-new, unexpected, surprising perception which will miraculously change everything.


3/20/10 – Power lies in all of us working peacefully together, and in none of us alone, because opposition weakens power, and weak power is a contradiction in terms. All that’s ever missing in any situation is our own willingness to share our love with all.


3/19/10 – Whatever thought, activity or task we do mindfully, joyfully, and in a spirit of love is a right choice, blessed by God, because we were created as one, to together create and extend love, learn and teach love, give and receive love, in all its forms.


3/18/10 – When we ask to know God’s will for us, we realize that what he wants for us is what we want—to lean upon his strength, grace and guidance, to be free from sacrifice, guilt, fear and weakness, and to be his own unique, powerful, loving expressions.


3/17/10 – When we’re feeling discouraged, we can give each one of our challenges over to God, remember that he celebrates, appreciates, loves, accepts and forgives us all unconditionally now, and begin again to faithfully accept, express and extend his love.


3/16/10 – We can give, receive, be and do more, when we seek and trust God’s guidance and miraculous outcomes, let go of guilt and fear, see only love or requests for it, and then surrender to God’s strength and healing as it works powerfully through us now.


3/15/10 – The term, “good,” comprises every expression of having, giving or receiving love, while the term, “evil,” comprises every expression of the fear of not having, giving or receiving love.


3/14/10- We can choose to joyfully contribute to God’s eternal process of creating, extending and expanding a loving spiritual reality, or stray temporarily into fearful, preoccupations; but we can change neither his outcomes nor his infinite patience.


3/13/10 – False humility is the illusion that we are weak and alone. True humility is the realization that we are powerful to the extent that we remember to ask for and rely upon God’s love, guidance and strength.


3/12/10 – Our purpose here is to share unconditional love in all its forms with all others. What should others’ purpose toward us be? We won’t ask that question anymore, when we learn to fulfill our own purpose perfectly, since we’ll already know the answer.


3/11/10 – We can’t solve our problems alone, because we’re feeling guilty, separate, inadequate, unlovable and unloving. But when we bring them openly to God, he solves them by freeing us to love ourselves and others unconditionally, as he loves all.


3/10/10 – Heaven is mindfulness, awareness and appreciation of the bountiful creation and eternal justice and love we all are and share; while hell is the misery of obliviousness to our one eternal, rich, abundant, innocent life and love, so generously given to all.


3/9/10 – We want to feel safe and loved, so we hurry to learn; but then we want to be right about what we’ve learned. Better to accept humbly how little we know, keep learning and loving, cherish our truths and welcome others’, and love the questions.


3/8/10 – Our bodies are useless for any purpose other than communicating love in all its forms. When we realize this, and when we have learned to use them only for loving, we’ll discover that we can communicate love just as freely and completely without them.


3/7/10 – To know what we “believe,” we can consider how we spend our lives. Beliefs which divide us from God and man mostly serve to depress, limit and harm us, while beliefs that draw us closer to love of God and all creation inspire joy, power and freedom.


3/6/10 – Our beliefs limit us to endure angry, fearful, separate lives weighted with guilt, resentment, hurry, competition, division, frustration, dread, suffering and despair, or they free us to celebrate joy, wholeness and peace, as one perfect, eternally-lovable creation.


3/5/10 – The eternal holy present is all there is, our only time to know God’s calming guidance, perspective and strength, our only time to live faithfully and fearlessly as innocent, loving, invaluable, beloved equals sharing peace, joy, purpose and oneness.


3/4/10 – Happiness is a choice about who we are. We can remind ourselves and others of our reality as joyful, peaceful, powerful, loving, beloved, eternal, innocent children of God, or suffer and die as hurried, vicious, vulnerable, sinful, guilty, punished mortals.


3/3/10 – We have no needs, changes or corrections to make, except to ask that God’s changeless, eternal peace and love might continuously see, greet, bless and give through us to that same changeless, eternal peace and love in others, in a limitless, endless cycle.


3/2/10 – Did a judgmental God create unequal, inadequate, guilty, helpless, miserable, doomed sinners, forever cast away from him? Or did a loving God create equal, innocent, lovable, beloved, loving, powerful, eternally joyous spirits, forever one with him?


3/1/10 – Meaning and peace always come from sharing our own unique, loving gifts with others—unless we use our gifts to gratify our egos, to inflate our little separate sense of self, or to build false concepts of superiority, specialness, difference or vindication.


2/28/10 – When we’re feeling afraid, defensive, confused, judgmental and alone, we can ask God to shine away the nothingness of our fears, and give us instead the loving, unifying perspectives which alone bring understanding and meaning to our relationships.


2/27/10 – Instead of seeing fearful, guilty, sorrowful bodies struggling toward death, we can ask to see now only the goodness, purity, innocence and eternal perfection in all, and thus remember with joy that we too are exactly as we were created and meant to be.


2/26/10 – We are boundlessly empowered when we use our unique talents, interests and abilities to support peace, healing and unity, to give and receive love and joy, and to encourage everyone else’s equal power to do the same.


2/25/10 – Relationships thrive when we recognize and appreciate one another as equally loved, innocent, eternal brothers and sisters, with no needs but to walk together in the holy present, joyfully learning, giving and receiving God’s boundless love.


2/24/10 – We are God’s expression, invulnerable in our eternal innocence and perfection, as we were meant to be. We witness our oneness when we entrust our problems, the instant they arise, to him who solves them, not with everyday illusions, but with truth.


2/23/10 – When I ask my guiding spirit to “decide for me,” I can then relax, confident that my priorities and energies will be directed thoughtfully and lovingly, and that I will have a busy, productive, peaceful day, keeping the highest interests of all in mind.


2/22/10 – Spiritual health, like physical health, thrives on discipline and vigilance. We can share God’s peace when we practice his presence, accept his love and grace, seek understanding and inspiration, and fully appreciate ourselves and all his beloved children.


2/21/10 – Peace, joy and love come to us when we share it. We can act out our cultural delusions of separation, lack, competition, pain, guilt, loss, death and retribution, or we can lovingly appreciate and enjoy our eternal oneness with God and his beloved creation.


2/20/10 – When we put all needs and all gifts under God’s guidance, and let go of everything but love—all guilt, fear, sacrifice, resentment, doubt, confusion—we can see and appreciate God in all his perfect, beloved children, and know all things are possible.


2/19/10 – At any moment, we can ask for and receive our guiding spirit’s help to see and accept ourselves and others with love, understanding and appreciation.


2/18/10 – God is one truth, one love, one meaning, one joy, one answer to all things. When we give, see, accept and love all things as he does, we will also understand and appreciate ourselves.


2/17/10 – When we ask our guiding spirit to help us stay lovingly in each present moment, we can let go of all our fears, and all negative thoughts about yesterdays and tomorrows.


2/16/10 – Our lives, as they unfold in all their beauty, complexity, pain, glory and tragedy, are God’s will, even when things seem to go wrong. Our job is to love and let-love. Our guilt and fear add nothing to life, but our love, acceptance and joy add a lot.


2/15/10 – God is the love in which I see everyone with full appreciation. I can let go of my fearful imaginings, and choose to see only through his loving, accepting, forgiving eyes all the beauty, purity and holiness that is his own beloved, eternal, perfect creation.


2/14/10 – I am God’s completion. His will and mine are the same—to share his joy and peace, not suffer pain. When I surrender to his guidance, and let him teach me to forgive, help, trust and appreciate every person in my life, I am choosing his peace and joy.


2/13/10 – God created us to learn about his love, communicate his love and extend his love, Nothing else matters or lasts. When we lose our way, God merely waits patiently for our return, saving all his love for us all, eternally.


2/12/10 – When we feel separated from others—attacked, unappreciated, resentful—we can remember to seek within the calm, certain reassurance of our shared spiritual reality as one eternal creation, one gift, one mind, one truth, one purpose, one love.


2/11/10 – There is never a shortage of love in any person or situation, but sometimes we let fear, guilt and judgment crowd love out. We can look at, and then surrender, all such concerns to God, who remembers that nothing except love matters, or means anything.


A Very Good Save-the-World Software Development Idea. Please Help Yourself! :-)

Will some brilliant programmer please step up and design a google-type software program that can linguistically analyze and determine a speaker/writer’s cooperative tone and intent?


Your new program could identify and distinguish among those writers/speakers whose communications promote a sense of division, partisanship, negativity, polarization, blame, attack, incivility, rudeness, destructiveness, unfriendly competition, bickering and hate—and those promoting a sense of positivity, creativity, life-affirmation, support, harmony, acceptance, forgiveness, productivity, civility, courtesy, equality of opportunity, caring, cooperation and unity.


Your software could have endless useful and profitable applications. For immediate profitability, please consider using your product for security purposes, to helpfully ward off unfriendly attacks and attackers (of whatever kind) upon individuals and enterprises (of whatever kind.)


Imagine leaders young and old in every field vying for their communications to be screened and certified via your software. Why not simultaneously award a “Truth-bearer” (or some other such logo) “gold seal of approval” identifying individuals and organizations as positive communicators, healers, light-bearers?


Your prestigious and desirable software “accreditation” could motivate many people to investigate and understand the important distinctions between peaceful and contentious communication purposes, and to recognize and encourage humanity-unifying goals as non-threatening and potentially beneficial to all earthlings, while discouraging communications with adversarial, hostile ends. Your software would also surely stoke national dialogue, while heightening awareness about the many distinct (although often confusingly-disguised) differences between helpful and harmful human communications. Your software would take care not to exclude any gentle, friendly, cooperative practitioner of any ideology, religion, political party, nation, organization, affiliation, etc.


One important goal of your software would be to educate. Hopefully, everyone would eventually become enlightened enough to merit universal inclusivity (by acting as good, positive communicators) according to your accrediting software, which might also be developed Wikipedically, or perhaps Amazon-style—i.e., open-sourced, by inviting motivated reviewers and voters opportunities not only to build your site, but also to offer feedback opportunities and provide needed talent to shape and debug upgrades and develop next-generation software.


Recipients of your approving nods (such as Nobel prize winners and mild-mannered third-graders) could proudly display and announce their cherished new affiliation and certification on their websites, on Facebook, business cards, in TV commercials and advertising, on coffee cups, tee-shirts, shopping bags….


Additionally, your software could assist web surfers to more-judiciously select helpfully-screened websites, products and opinions as the very ones they will most benefit from investigating. Perhaps your software could also eventually include a function which would recognize and refute inappropriate co-opters of your symbol of acceptance and stamp of approval—an iterative process that would call out abusers while encouraging more awareness and discussion.


Your software will stimulate lively dialogue; increase the impact and number of creative, thought-provoking, and controversial-but-civil exchanges; reduce (by virtue of indifference and neglect) the quantity and influence of divisive communications arising anywhere in the world; universally improve facility in verbal and mental processing of complexities, innuendo and nuances; and inspire us all to pull together cooperatively to resolve our common personal, local and global problems.


While you're programming, please give extra points for humor?


And if you're not a programmer, but merely a earthlinged, godlinged promosapient like me, please pass this idea on to any similarly-inclined programming/software folk or foundations, or to whomever might be interested!


Thank you…. 🙂


Nancy Pace




















































































With Friends Like These…Let's Love Our Enemies (Ourselves)

President Obama is such a loyal friend. But with friends like his, who needs enemies?


I would like to particularly encourage all powerful old black (and white, etc.) men (and women) Friends Of Barack’s to please park your egos and pride, and try to stay humble and yes, forgiving. And meanwhile, I trust that the Cambridge Gatesgate fracas will remind the rest of us to do the same.


First Jesse Jackson stabbed poor Barack in the back (and then rightfully cried at his inauguration); then Jeremiah Wright stabbed him (and no doubt regrets it); and now here comes Henry Louis Gates, behaving in ways Barack couldn’t have imagined. Yes, power does indeed corrupt, and all who achieve greatly, greatly fall at times; we’re all human, even Barack.


Barack’s failures were partly a matter of his own very legitimate, very personal indignation at the terrifying and tragic history of his own race’s interactions with corrupt, brutal and powerful law enforcement individuals and organizations.


Barack’s other failure was a lapse in judgment. He spoke out too quickly, assuming that his experienced, wise and thoughtful friend Skip Gates was incapable of acting like such a fool. Well, now you know, Barack. Everybody plays the fool sometimes…. There’s no exceptions to the rule…. J


I do hope the current media frenzy results in a national dialogue which teaches America how scary, emotional and risky it is to be a minority member in America, unpredictably facing powerful, fallible, human, and sometimes consciously or unconsciously prejudiced law enforcement individuals and organizations which always circle the wagons to protect themselves; and also, how scary, emotional and risky it is to be a conscientious police officer trying daily to do a thankless job, by selflessly and repeatedly putting him or herself into deadly, confusing, volatile—and often, degrading, no-win—situations.


I hope the promised new documentary stars President Obama, Officer Crowley, the good professor and his other new friends at the Cambridge police department, all ignominy, anger and hubris reconciled. Their joint efforts to clarify and address this complex American problem would add much to their heroic legacies of service.


Why don’t police officers all wear video recording devices at all times? This requirement would protect both the police and all citizens by encouraging all participants to always be on their best behavior. This approach would serve justice, and would save a lot of money in court costs and legal fees.


I recently humbly “donated” money to my community after having been caught red-handed on a camera which showed me running a red light I would have sworn before a judge I never ran. That camera saved both me and the court system a lot of money. Memories are faulty, but cameras and recorders are less so….


President Obama, thank you for always doing your best, and for taking on so much so generously, and for putting yourself out there daily, so vulnerably and riskily. Please go easy on yourself. And you too, all you courageous and well-intentioned police folk, we’re so grateful for your courageous service. And you too, Jesse and Jeremiah and Skip—please don’t forget about all your many brave and invaluable contributions. And as for the rest of us little folk, may we too seek humility and forgiveness as we go about our very human daily business of fallibly flinging ourselves about our own small universes trying to do some good, and making our own big mistakes in much smaller, less-public, less-dangerous venues.


Please send comments and email to . Thank you! 🙂  Nancy Pace


My Local Newspaper Slammed Terrorism, But Did Not Condemn War

In reference to your February 18th editorial, “Terrifying Reminder,” war harms millions more innocents than terrorism does, so can we save some of our righteous indignation for war, too? Grieving victims of all forms of violence, including war, always ask the same sad questions without answers: “What was my son’s fault? What did he do? What kind of belief system do these people have?”


To all war’s victims on all sides—dead soldiers and their broken-hearted families, the maimed and their caretakers, all whose love, energy, money and talents are wasted on destruction—war is as senseless and cruel as terrorism. Mayhem that destroys and terrifies cannot be justified by any political or religious ends, and is something that all people everywhere should be deeply suspicious of and resistant to. We cannot prevent all injustices, but we can avoid adding to their sum.


Please, instead of terrorizing us into putting our faith in violence, tell us about the many around the globe working selflessly to uphold our highest values through difficult and courageous interfaith, humanitarian and diplomatic efforts.


Global cooperation isn’t simple, obvious or guaranteed, but it is the most thoughtful and safest political course, and the only one with any chance of succeeding.


(To the many later letters that arrived online reminding me of how naive and stupid I was to write the above letter, I responded online with the following:)


I am not yet a pacifist, but I have observed that, too often, politicians who see conflicts primarily in terms of military solutions are elected with the money and support of those who profit from war. I hope to persuade voters to elect/support leaders who understand and consider the tragic costs of war for all involved, leaders who are less likely to abuse great power, and who have a record of seeking peaceful win-win compromises, accepting different points of view, and maintaining positive relations. My letter was intended to emphasize that we must consider war just as bad, in its effects on human beings, as terrorism (which is true), and because of the numbers involved, even worse…and so, equally to be avoided.


We have forgotten what it is like to have war in our own land. Sadly, during this century, many U.S. leaders have used war/our military forces to further perceived national interests, offering flag-waving rationales, and have not used war as a last resort, for defense only.


I love my country, so I work hard to promote peaceful viewpoints, not wanting us to lose our global reputation, acquire more deadly enemies, spend ourselves into disastrous economic situations, or blight the lives of millions here and elsewhere on unneccessary wars that achieve little.


Read Obama's courageous pre-Iraq-war speech against the war (or mine, published in the weeks after 9/11 in the Frederick News Post, listing similar arguments, if less eloquently) and you will see that many protesters and leaders DID know, even if you didn't, exactly why it was not a good idea to go to war….


There were better solutions, but not ones as profitable and attractive to those making the decisions (like Cheney). Some well-intentioned leaders, like George W. Bush, were convinced by bad intelligence combined with simplism (simplisticism? I'm trying to make up a new word that is the opposite of complexity. Simplixity?) that they had no choice, but many of us never believed that particular “intelligence” to begin with, for innumerable good reasons, and we wanted more questions asked. Unfortunately, our fellow-citizens elected and listened to hair-trigger, militaristic and misguided politicians.


All I'm saying is–let's not do that anymore! Let's elect thoughtful, informed leaders…. And let's not do anything to any other country that we, were we a less-powerful country, would not want done to us; even if we think such approaches are in “our interest,” they are immoral. Nobody likes having their country invaded and occupied; nobody likes outsiders telling them how to live. That's why we have our military forces, and only for that reason–to defend our country.


In all conflicts, we need to be careful of using double standards–one standard for what's OK for the U.S. and a different one for “the rest” of the world.

Dumb Play

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Regarding the op-ed Obama’s China Card of 4/8/09:  John Wohlstetter’s sinful offer to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />China of a poisoned diplomatic apple would serve only to heighten geostrategic tensions. Why aggravate our banker China, our most influential ally in negotiating with North Korea, when China could well be the very country most-motivated to partner with Obama’s smart-power, win-win efforts to find peaceful and mutually-advantageous solutions to the global problems shared-in-common by China and her trading partners, neighbors and debtors? Immense U.S. profits already accrued from China’s WTO membership will only grow during China’s historic rise—if unresolved energy shortages, climate change, nuclear proliferation, war, terrorism, trade wars, worldwide crime and disease and other such global conundrums don’t make future international trade moot. Increased enmity with China could even lead to war, which never prevents catastrophe, being itself a catastrophe. Our closest allies have with impunity violated far more UN Security Council resolutions than has North Korea. Let’s retire our lingering sentimental attachments to obsolescent strategies like sword-rattling and stick-shaking, along with defunct foreign policies that bully, threaten, and subsidize massive war-profiteering, approaches which have only moved our tiny blue planet steadily closer to nuclear nightmare.


This was a letter-to-the-editor I sent to the Washington Times on 4/9/09 which was considered but not published. I meant to post it long ago–sorry….   🙂

U.S. Right-Wing Extremists Say “Bring It On” To Terrorists

From the looks of the many recent letters to newspapers, U.S. right-wing extremists plan to win back the presidency in 2012 by politiely offering voters a false dichotomy: we citizens will “be forced” to choose between safety and good government—i.e., “Since Bush protected us from terrorist attacks, if there is an attack on Obama’s watch, it will be Obama’s fault, so we'll have to fire him—regardless of his achievements for the people.”


The truth is, terrorist attacks are quite likely nowadays, being relatively cheap, easy to carry out, and hard to prevent; examples of such atrocities are 9/11 (which occurred on Bush’s watch), the London train bombings, and the Mumbai attacks.


Obama will defend our borders, go after terrorists, and work with all nations to confront and ameliorate the conditions which produce terrorism—lawlessness, violent cultures, lack of opportunity, political oppression and repression, poverty, inequality, easily-available weapons, and ongoing conflicts. But Obama’s job has not been made easier by Bush's disastrous economic legacy, nor by his ill-advised Iraq war, Guantanamo, and his record of torture, all of which have left Obama with an Al Qaeda far bigger, stronger, richer, and more dedicated than Bush ever inherited from Clinton.


None of these facts matter, however, to faithless demagogues like Rush Limbaugh, who trust in lies, fear—and a timely terrorist attack—to rescue themselves and their ilk from present ignominy.         




I welcome your comments! Please send them to . Thank you! Nancy Pace 🙂         


Ps. I am working on a memoir of my years as the military brat daughter of a highly-decorated war hero (and career officer)–about the implications of those experiences for me, my family, other military families, my country and the world in general, and about my difficult transition to peace activism.


I will return to full-time blogging as soon as ever I can, and until then, I know I will keep blogging sporadically because sometimes I simply cannot not write about reactions I have to things I read in the newspaper, like the above commentary….


I love blogging, and will post again soon…. Thank you for your patience to all my readers! 🙂

Daniel Craig As Evolving, New Age James Bond “Everyman”: Hey, It Works For Me

I went to see Quantum of Solace because I liked Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale, and because I always take my husband to opening weekends of all good new action movies. I’d already heard reviewers complain that this new Craig/Bond was insufficiently Bondish—i.e., not enough jokes, too much heavy emotion, too many similarities to other, un-Bond-like traditionally-vengeful action heroes, not enough Bond-techy gimmicks and vehicles, too few glam locales. And what to make of the movie’s weird politics? And of Bond’s lack-of-sex with his sexy new love interest? I went to see for myself.


I liked the movie very well. I thought it was very effective, violent, destructive, action entertainment, for those who enjoy this genre. I thought it was definitely worth the price of admission. Even if it was only part of a to-be-continued movie, it was a very complete and satisfying part, setting up well the Craig/Kurylenko movie(s) to follow, which will tantalizingly develop Bond’s budding romance with this particularly ravishing new heroine.


I thought Olga Kurylenko was great. She reminded me of what I love about Catherine Zeta-Jones. I hope she will endure as an unkicked-aside Bond sidekick for many films to come. How much more can Bond evolve, than to stick with one woman?


I liked this movie’s (admittedly undeveloped) politics. I was glad the writers went to the trouble to imply that good and bad actors can be found in every nation and every endeavor, and that all of us will have ample opportunities to participate–or not–in increasingly rampant opportunities for corruption, greed, crime, terrorism, hypocrisy, war, cruelty, espionage, exploitation, backstabbing and wanton violence, especially as enhanced by the global contest for dwindling resources—oil, water, money, what have you….


I also enjoyed the side-talk references affirming vengeance as both a very powerful and tempting human motivation and an unsatisfying one, and forgiveness—of oneself and others—as essential to sanity and peace. Very un-traditional un-Bondian stuff. Very New Age perspectives. And also very true.


This Bond movie didn't disapoint my expectation for novelty, either. I don't think I'm alone in my curiosity about life in desperately poor third world locales like Port au Prince, Haiti, or about glamourous off-the-beaten-track cultural events like traditional bareback horse racing in the public square, and exotically-staged modern operas.


I also loved the new holiday Coca-Cola commercial which preceded the movie. Taken together, the new commercial with the new Bond movie, I got a heady whiff of what our millennial creatives are all about and up to these days: philosophical acceptance of an imperfect “what is,” along with real commitment to making “what is” better, through positive, ideologically indifferent, large and small, person-to-person, moment-to-moment, choice-by-choice contributions in gray areas and complex moral situations, in whatever way they can.


Thus, I saw variously flawed and well-intentioned players in the movie and the commercial persist in acquiring the necessary wisdom and clout to act well their parts and support one another when and where it mattered most—that is, when push came to shove. These creatives and the crowds they are playing to believe in the power of acceptance, forgiveness, inclusion, diversity, and best of all, in one person’s ability to make a difference and find a quantum of solace within such caring moments.


I liked watching Daniel Craig’s Bond try to do his best with his very limited but amazing personal resources. I enjoyed watching him courageously try to make some sense of a morally chaotic world, and seek meaningful ways to contribute and endure. Craig’s Bond is a unique and powerful Everyman perfectly suited to today’s audiences.


I don’t miss the grand old Bond clichés. That was then. This is now. Welcome back, Mr. Bond.



Please send comments to Thank you. 🙂