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! 🙂


New new new spiritual sharings (and more to come)

12/1/10 – Fearful dreams which have the purpose of getting “more” for oneself at others’ expense never satisfy. However, all dreams, when transformed to include goals of shared peace, love, appreciation, understanding, respect and support for all of life, do satisfy.


11/30/10 – Our rational, logical brains have indispensible but highly limited utility. All quality lives and human relations are inspired and supported by helpful, loving, appreciative, accepting, intuitive, spiritual motivations and intentions that arise within.


11/29/10 – When we stop struggling to “figure out,” analyze, intellectualize and speculate on the motives, goals and purposes of others and ourselves, but instead, listen to the wisdom within us, we will feel no need to fear, judge or attack ourselves and others.


11/28/10 – We are God’s expression of consciousness, creativity and love. We are God’s hands, feet, eyes and ears. All of God’s power and knowledge lies within us. We are inseparable from God, from his wholeness, presence and power throughout all creation.


11/27/10 – We can know ourselves and others as “one” only intuitively, through loving appreciation and healing acceptance. But when we try to analyze, figure out and predict ourselves and others, we forget this oneness, and begin separating, judging and attacking.


11/26/10 – When we are feeling lost, we can remind ourselves of the peaceful goals we want, seek within for guidance in creating and experiencing the perspectives, actions, feelings, outcomes and days we want, follow our inner guidance—and let all our fears go.


11/25/10 – We can safely turn our days over to God, who already knows our deepest questions and real desires, as well as our infinite potential for creating and spreading joy, and for supporting what is alive and eternal in ourselves and in all others everywhere.


11/24/10 – All the power of God, mankind and creation is accessible within each of us. We can ask and receive understanding, answers, insights, love, joy and wisdom. Within us is God’s home, where all are one. Nothing spiritual, true, real or eternal is outside us.


11/23/10 – Our self-protective, logical, rational, defensive illusions, images, concepts, arguments, explanations, excuses, justifications and projections offer us and others only guilt and pain. They offer us nothing we could ever want, and many things we don’t.


11/22/10 – Nothing good, peaceful, useful, happy, meaningful or worthy can ever come from creating defensive, guilty, judgmental images and concepts of ourselves or others, or from guessing, projecting or analyzing our own or others’ motives or intentions.


11/21/10 – Our defensive concepts, analyses, self-images and projections set up exhausting, judgmental, false rules and realities which produce only harmful fantasies and painful guilt. We can ask to replace them with an accepting, healing spiritual vision.


11/20/10 – When we let go of demands and expectations, we allow ourselves and others to be the perfect, unique, lovable, beloved eternal creations we all are. When we live and let live, and let guilt and judgment go, we rest in loving circles of giving and receiving.


11/19/10 – Until we respond to all errors and mistakes as requests for healing and help, rather than as unforgivable sins deserving of attacks, blame, anger, judgment and retribution, we cannot know God’s eternal benevolence, forgiveness, justice and love.


11/18/10 – A good way to relate well to anyone is to establish, in advance, a peaceful, loving purpose—toward everyone. All relationships go better when founded upon a goal such as the golden rule, which derives from the gentle facets and permutations of peace.


11/17/10 – Reality is not “out there,” but “in here.” Reality is not about our bodies or a world “outside” us, but instead, the eternal, spiritual truth within us, which creates and animates all things, is the source of all life and all love, and is that which never changes.


11/15/10 – We are all fellow-travelers upon a road that is often dark and difficult. Yet we can bring light and hope and love to one another when we decide to neither lead nor follow, but to walk with one another as beloved, lovable and loving friends.


11/14/10 – We’re “wrong” when we react judgmentally, defensively, adversarially or aggressively toward others who are doing the same, and feeling “right” about it. The only “right” (and effective) response to such “wrong” is healing and help.


11/14/10 – Since no person, group, party, religion, nation or leader knows all perspectives or has all the “right” answers, “wrong” arises, not just when we make mistakes, but when we attack others for their mistakes, and thus add to the sum of the world’s injustices.


11/13/10 – Satisfying, peaceful paths are those that serve us, God and all mankind, drawing us all closer in our awareness of spiritual oneness. Efforts that compete, divide and separate, or that serve one person at the expense of another, must always disappoint.


11/12/10 – A personal self-concept must be defended, lived up to, lived down, regretted, explained, built up, grieved, avenged, elaborated upon, and consistently maintained. With no self-image, we’re free to freshly recreate all our relationships, moment-to-moment.


11/11/10 – We are on our right path, doing our highest will and God’s. All spiritual paths are confusing, difficult, boulder-strewn, filled with pitfalls and detours—and unique. Our way feels sure, clear, peaceful and safe as we let our guiding inner spirit lighten our steps.


11/10/10 – We can’t know everything, so we can’t judge others fairly; and because we can’t judge fairly, the only effective, inspiring, motivating correction we can offer is one which we would want for ourselves and our own mistakes—to love, lift and let it go.


11/9/10 – Are we lost, separate, mortal creatures in brutal natural competition with each other for survival, or are we God’s single, beloved, sacred and eternal expression, his will and reflection, perfect in oneness, diversity, uniqueness, interdependence and holiness?


11/8/10 – Our seemingly insignificant contributions, stumbling steps, counterproductive setbacks and fumbling mis-directions are our perfect, unique and indispensably holy paths to awareness, sharing and celebration of God’s oneness, forgiveness and love.


11/7/10 – When we want to say or do the right thing, calm ourselves, make a decision, find new perspectives and insights, order our priorities, be happier, understand, be better—we can go within, ask our questions, and trust the loving, peaceful answers.


11/6/10 – Our hardest lesson is to let go of our own guilt, defensiveness, mistakes, struggles, wrong assumptions, misdirected efforts, incorrigibility, anger, jealousy, resentment, weariness, despair and self-condemnation—and live fully, freely, now.


11/5/10 – We can choose to experience agelessness or aging, timelessness or time, beauty or ugliness, delight or despair, spirituality or cynicism, positivity or negativity, joy or sorrow, freedom or guilt, goodness or evil, life or death, love or fear, truth or illusion.


11/4/10 – Our daily challenges, struggles and mistakes are opportunities: to ask specific questions; pray to see things differently; receive miraculous insights, wisdom and love; and become humbled, grateful, open, accepting lifters of our fellow-travelers’ burdens.


11/3/10 – We don’t have to resolve the past or know the future. All we can ever do is live fully in the present moment, and do our very best with now—the only time we ever have to give and receive love, create, heal, forgive, cherish, lift, learn, appreciate and inspire.


11/2/10 – Physical, spiritual, individual, interpersonal and planetary health and healing are inextricably interconnected and intertwined, and always miraculously support each other, as we ask for, receive, and offer forgiveness, acceptance, love, peace and gratitude.


11/1/10 – We can accept ourselves and all others as-is, without reference to the past; or we can suffer from guilt, judgment, separation, anger, blame and attack. Self and other-acceptance are interdependent keys to all healing, peace, and creative power for good.


10/31/10 – We can see, create and extend our guilt and fear outward toward a cultural delusion of division, hate and death, or we can see and heal ourselves and all others as one eternally perfect spiritual creation, by loving unconditionally in the present moment.


10/30/10 – When we pray for peaceful solutions, when we let go of a troubled past, when we trust God to work and speak and heal and love through us, nothing is impossible.


10/29/10 – We can experience the joy and peace of God once again as we let anger and judgment go. Our sense of injustice arises from a perception of temporal separation; yet God’s justice knows and expresses creation only as one, whole, perfect and eternal will.


10/28/10 – God judges his creation, not as divided and competing, but as one, whole, inseparable, timeless good. Only this holy, all-encompassing perspective of an unconditionally-loving, eternal justice can heal our perceptions of temporal injustices.


10/27/10 – We fear chaos, insanity and meaninglessness. Yet reality, truth, purpose and hope lie, not in any past mistakes, but in humankind’s capacity to see, accept, appreciate, celebrate and love, with God, his imperfect/perfect expression/creation, right now, as-is.


10/26/10 – When we put our trust in ourselves alone, we feel neither safety nor direction nor help. When we nourish, through daily spiritual practice, our safe reliance upon God, we find strength, comfort, insight, clarity, sustenance, purpose and joy everywhere.


10/25/10 – If we are not mere bodies, but instead, eternal spirits—the will and expression of a loving God—then all pain, loss, suffering and sin are mere temporal illusions. If God is love, then so are we—blameless, unconditionally loved, and safe, now and forever.


10/24/10 – When we are harshly judging ourselves, others and the world, we can ask God to judge instead, whose judgment urges us to look and see, at every moment and in each detail, the goodness, blamelessness and sacred wholeness of his perfect expression.


10/6/10 – Our eyes and brains analyze all that seems “outside” us in terms we’ve acquired from our experiences, thought and culture. It works better to see only positive, eternal, loving reality, and not react to all the rest, which is only negative illusion.


8/22/10 – God is the power, insight and comfort in which I now receive infinite gifts of present and eternal peace, acceptance and unconditional love, and return them joyfully and serenely to that-of-God, humankind, nature and self comprising the One Self of all.


8/13/10 – The most honest and meaningful truth we can communicate on any subject always reflects our highest spiritual perspectives on the unchangeable safety, innocence, value, goodness and holiness of every single one of God’s beloved eternal beings.


8/12/10 – We can use the creative power of universal mind shared by all God’s eternal expressions to build a world of truth, beauty, love, joy and healing, and not in support of destructive cultural myths of sin, fear, guilt, despair, weakness, vengeance and evil.


8/11/10 – In all our relationships, we have daily opportunities to teach through our own words and examples—and thus simultaneously to learn and to reinforce—trust, faith, honesty, gentleness, forbearance, joy, generosity, defenselessness, patience and peace.


8/10/10 – Each of us fulfills a unique, loving, peaceful work in life which is our shared will with God, who gives us what we need to accomplish it, along with trust in our own innocence, and a sense of freedom from guilt, fear, inadequacy and defensiveness.


8/9/10 – We can give only to ourselves. Exactly how best, what, when, why, to whom, and how, each of us uniquely balances our giving, is always different for each person—and always perfect. When we feel conflicted and defensive, we’ve forgotten this.


8/8/10 – What makes everything and everyone beautiful? Recognition of the sinless innocence of everything and everyone at every present moment of eternity. It is this bountiful, unconditional forgiveness which Jesus’ life teaches, exemplifies and clarifies.


8/7/10 – The most valuable, essential lesson we can teach others is our own example of joyous, guilt-free living, which holds up a mirror for the innocence of others. The most destructive, pernicious, persistent cultural myth is the belief that being human is wrong.


8/6/10 – I gratefully accept the abundant justice of an eternity of peace and oneness with God, his ever-available gifts of comfort, strength and unconditional love, and the blessings of teaching, learning from, sharing with, and loving my eternal fellow-travelers.


8/5/10 – In the sense that we are all eternal, time doesn’t matter. But thoughtful choices about our use of time can exponentially lessen suffering and add to joy. We can seek help within to spiritually order our lives and priorities, and to know the next right thing to do.


8/4/10 – What matters? Recognition of ourselves and “others” as God’s one beloved immortal perfect innocent equal creation. What doesn’t matter? Any/every/thing else— because nothing else lasts forever. We live best in time when we remember who we are.


8/3/10 – When we’re feeling unsure about how to juggle all our imagined “competing” priorities, our guiding spirit restores our trust in God, renews our courage, strength, positivity, love and peace, and reminds us that all things work together forever for good.

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.”

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




















































































Justice and Peace Are One Path

Peace and justice nourish one another, sharing their hope for non-violence and their concern for the interests of others. Wherever exploitation and oppression are ignored, peace and justice are illusive; wherever respect and support for human life become priorities, peace and justice are reborn.


Rule-of-law and justice are not always the same. Hopeless citizens who despair of working out their life-and-death issues within unjust legal, economic and political frameworks sometimes turn to crime, terrorism, and war. What goes around comes around. Those who work for equal opportunity and peace lift up their own lives with the lives of others, growing in understanding and acceptance of human difference, and increasing the sum of peace and justice.


The Golden Rule, the historical foundation for all moral and legal systems, and the basis for the “liberty and justice for all” to which we pledge allegiance, works so well because treating others as you wish to be treated becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Peace and justice are among the highest ideals and values enshrined in our proud founding documents, which extend equal protection for the peaceful, equitable goals of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” even to “the least of these”—children, the elderly, sick, needy and handicapped, and all who struggle to rise from historical discrimination.


Angry media xenophobes and demagogues try to scare us into believing that the world is divided into a tiny deserving few of “us” vs. a vast faceless, threatening, undeserving “them,” urging us to abandon the goal of peace and justice for all, and to put power and wealth in the hands of a few self-interested fear-mongers who guilefully “guarantee” safety through militarism. Offering the opposite message are the great leaders of our past and present, urging us to love and help one another, to give and forgive, to risk peace instead of war, and to work together for respectful, supportive conditions valuing the sanctity of human life everywhere. Truly, we cannot avoid all injustice, but we can avoid adding to its sum.


Justice implies neutrality and fairness, but no judges are completely unbiased. We all see the world uniquely, based on our different backgrounds. In the face of the same legal arguments, natural, unavoidable bias is evident in the many disagreements among even our rigorously-selected highest justices.


Our current justices’ life experiences are for the most part grounded in privilege and wealth. A more balanced Supreme Court would include justices whose lives reflect struggles against prejudice, poverty or disadvantage, since, in common law legal systems like our own, justices at times “make the law” by overturning precedents, regulations and legislation, with immense implications for future generations.


Clearly we need to appoint judges with sterling records of excellence and impartiality. President Obama hopes also to nominate Supreme Court justices with a sense of what real-world folks go through, who know what it is to be a teenage mom or to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old, to have the system not work for you, to be vulnerable in the political process—an outsider, a minority, someone without a lot of clout.


In the five percent of hard cases where the legal language is not perfectly clear, and where legal procedures alone can’t lead to a rule of decision, President Obama believes that the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in a judge’s heart. May we find the peace and justice we seek there, and together with our good president, continue to nurture peace and justice in our own hearts, in our families, communities, businesses, schools, courts, churches and government, and in all our relationships with others throughout the world.



Please send questions and comments to Thank you!

Dialogue and Discernment

President Obama’s recent disclosure of secret memos has stirred up national debate on torture, just as his previous openness to honest dialogue inspired widespread discussion—and enlightenment—on such prickly subjects as racism, patriotism, hope, secrecy, enemies, extremism, power, culture, diplomacy, and faith.


Obama’s courageous commitment to transparent government, and the inevitable media discussions that ensue, will only deepen our national appreciation of the intricacies and nuances of crucial, complicated subjects too often seen in simplistic, black-and-white terms.


For instance, thanks to our current civic dialogue on torture, we now realize that the decision to torture, like the decision to go to war, only seems “simple” when we see “others” as “not-us,” “different,” and in terms of “us/them;” the decision to torture is infinitely more complicated when we view all people as valuable, “us,” “ours,” one community. We’ve also learned that torture undermines founding American principles of respect and support for human life, is often counterproductive, ineffective, unreliable, and misleading, endangers our own imprisoned soldiers, weakens our alliances, and creates endless new enemies.


Future Obama revelations and their associated public conversations may again leave us chastened, but newfound humility is a small price to pay for a priceless understanding of complexity, values, and peace.



I sent this letter-to-the-editor to the Frederick News-Post a few weeks back but it was not printed…. 🙂

Wake Up, Rush Limbaugh, and Do Something For America With All Those Smarts

I originally titled this piece, “Rush Limbaugh is a Dangerous Destructive Simplistic Fear-Based Hateful Ignorant Terrifying Lying Demagogic Blowhard.”  But I like Rush Limbaugh, if not what he says, so I changed the title.


Some of the things I like best about Rush Limbaugh are:  his work ethic, his perseverence, his vulnerability, his gentleness, his good mind and his facility with words and ideas, his patriotism, and his loving spirit. Despite overwhelming evidence that his narrow worldview is way too confining for his large heart and fine intelligence, he seems fiercely determined so far to force unruly facts into his too-small mental paradigms, in order that he may continue to be safely “right” about whatever he's said up until now.


Rush Limbaugh is afraid (as are we all) of being “wrong,” and also of not-knowing, when the truth is, the more one knows, the more one knows one doesn't know. What I do know about Rush is that he means well, and that he wants very much to believe that what he's doing will work for him and for America and Americans. Certainly his past approaches have made him rich. They've also left him feeling very much alone in an angry, frightened, adoring, clueless crowd.


Like many Americans, I recognize and share many of Rush Limbaugh's values, frustrations, concerns and goals. However, unlike his largely blue-collar and sincerely patriotic audience, I know that Limbaugh's anger, like all anger, is just an attempt to make someone else feel guilty. We all want someone to blame for our troubles. Unfortunately, Rush Limbaugh has no clue of how America got where we are, who got us here, and how we can go about resolving our problems.


Rush Limbaugh has not run for office because his worldview is unsophisticated and black-and-white, and thus, quite indefensible. He thinks that understanding history, governance and current events ought to be simple and straightforward, something anyone can do. Unfortunately for him, his famously-pronounced perspectives do not hold up to confontation or questioning or facts-that-don't-fit (most of them), which is why he avoids debate, interviews, or news conferences, and why he pretends to be proudly above such conflicts, covering up his insecurities with bluster and bombast. Conservative leaders who are fearful of repudiating Limbaugh at least hope to profit from the destructive, hate-filled, fear-based, uninformed, frightening, distorted, polarized, demagogic polemics Limbaugh offers his audiences.


Because Limbaugh effectively isolates himself from dialogue and discussion, he gets away with handing out thousands of blatant distortions to millions of unsophisticated, gullible, poorly-informed citizens who share his frustrations and anger and patriotic values, and so take in his opinions like mother’s milk, embracing without question his assumptions and conclusions as their own. Millions trust Limbaugh–an uneducated, unpolished man they identify as “like themselves”–to explain politics and current events to them. Having little experience or understanding to question what Limbaugh says, and being unwilling to take the time to seek balance by exposing themselves to the many varied and alternative viewpoints they would hear, say, on C-Span, Limbaugh's audiences find it more convenient to “take” their political opinions straight from Limbaugh, especially since he can spin complicated issues into simple-sounding, clever, funny one-liners easy to remember and repeat, making them feel instantly knowledgeable, at least until someone who actually knows what they're talking about challenges them.


What Limbaugh “sells” are memorable, simplistic untruths and distortions. Thus, he is the most dangerous man in America today. He proudly believes that he's a danger to liberals and liberals ideas, but sadly, quite without realizing it, Limbaugh is undermining American rights, freedoms and his own deepest American values. Every day, Limbaugh takes the breaking news of the day and, using innuendo and ambiguity, frightens and indoctrinates millions of Americans into violent, angry, bigoted responses to those changing events. Rush Limbaugh would be broken-hearted to realize that he himself is a (non-violent) terrorist, who crudely uses his own cleverness, quick mind, dramatic abilities and appealing voice to incite conflict, fear, division and hatred, and to relentlessly urge his fellow Americans to do what he himself doesn't dare to do–that is, act out his feelings of helplessness, rage and frustration.


I am hoping Rush Limbaugh will soon wake up and realize the harm he's doing to his country and to his fellow Americans, not to mention brothers and sisters around the world. I'm also hoping that someone will find a way to, democratically and constitutionally curb Limbaugh's destructive influence. Our country's problems are too great to allow such a flagrantly divisive influence to go unanswered.


Others like Limbaugh will be far less damaging when we all decide to support uniform, nationally- and internationally-comparable education standards here. A significant part of the “Limbaugh problem” in America is our very poorly educated and often unskilled citizenry. You may have noticed that in Canada, with its superior, more-uniform education system, demagogic radio blowhards have considerably less influence.


C'mon, Rush. Take a risk. Be as big and brave and smart as you've convinced yourself, and others, and even me, into believing that you really are–but so far, with little good and considerable harm to show for it. Take a leap into the real world, and see what opportunities await you here. You'll be among real friends, smart friends, like you, but also knowledgeable and fearless and openly loving friends, like the “you” that you haven't yet let come out to play. You're rich as Croesus, Rush. It's time to be brave. C'mon over, Rush. I promise you, you'll like it here.

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. 🙂






Lincoln Gathered INTELLECTUAL Rivals in his Cabinet: Can Hillary Match Up for Obama?

Not that Hillary Rodham Clinton isn’t smart as a whip. Indeed, she emerged from college a cultural visionary. But is she, right now, really one of our country’s great intellectual visionaries, who can offer sound prescriptions for America’s future within a fast-changing world? Is she today one of our great leading political and social global thinkers?


Or is Clinton more a powerful partisan wonk, a good DO-er (and do-gooder) on behalf of her constituents, as well as her own political ambitions and legacy ? Because, if she is 'merely' a powerful, well-connected political operative, then an Obama decision to bring her into his cabinet at Secretary of State will be greatly at odds with, and indeed, will work against accomplishing what Doris Kearns Goodwin, in Team of Rivals, said that Lincoln himself achieved by gathering his own “team of rivals”–help in thinking through, in advance, the implications of his weightiest decisions.


During those pre-Civil War days, politicians gained national political stature through public speaking—that is: by composing speeches and then publishing them in the nation’s newspapers. These thoughtfully-wrought, persuasive intellectual arguments concerning the issues of the day included valuable original personal perspectives and prescriptions for appropriate responses to breaking conflicts and topics. Barack Obama himself has certainly fulfilled all such requirement for visionary intellectual leadership, having personally written two best-selling books during his relative youth, and having personally planned and executed an unparalleled national campaign that bent and shaped the ideas of the world through the sheer force of his intellect.


Unfortunately, Clinton’s previous particular strengths have not been in this department—with the exception of her global work for women and children.


Clinton has proved herself a very successful, bright, capable political fighter. Her greatest abilities have been in adversarial relations and political in-fighting. With Hillary as political strategist-in-chief, Bill could always outmaneuver his opponents. She has also done interesting work on her own political behalf, as well.


Admittedly, Clinton has evolved to becoming a global fighter for women and children on the world stage. Certainly she has met with many foreign leaders. But her global background and perspectives, and frankly, her previous interests in foreign relations have mostly been limited to improving life for her favorite two-thirds of the world’s population—women and children—along, of course, with their husbands, sons, fathers, brothers, grandfathers and male friends.


Hmmmm. Come to think of it, if Clinton will serve Obama wholeheartedly and loyally from this pro-family global perspective—and that’s a big if—maybe she’ll turn out to be a good choice for State after all, past ghostwriters be damned.


Clinton’s very loving heart could be wonderfully put to use in the very important role of new Senate Lion during the Obama era. Congress needs her many talents to negotiate the details and fight for passage of the coming torrent of new legislation so necessary to bring real change to America.


But Secretary of State? We definitely do not need a parochial street fighter in that role. What we need is a global visionary who will approach the world non-adversarially—not as a defensive women up against a world of men, not as an advocate of the interests of the United States 'against' the interests of 'the rest,' but as one with all others.


If Clinton has indeed evolved enough to work patiently with (and not against) all comers; if she can bring the world together to cooperatively solve our many common global problems; if she is ready to make the necessary evolutionary jump away from adversarial relationships toward cooperative ones; if she can come from her caring rather than her fears; then she could indeed be the right kind of rival for Obama’s cabinet team, and the right kind of U.S. Secretary of State to the world.


Actually, I had Al Gore in mind for Obama's Secretary of State, because of his green, global, cooperative vision and personality, and his demonstrated intellectual leadership through speaking, writing, and other political venues. But if Obama does offer State to Clinton, then I hope she will consider his offer with real humility concerning her motives and abilities perhaps gained from her recent hubris. And if she accepts, I hope she now comes from that so-necessary intellectual bandwidth which alone will determine whether both their decisions will look good to posterity.