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|Surprise Guest at TED in Oxford 2010|
Somewhere along the line most of us have to do something we actually believe in. Most of the time most people seem to attempt evade that. The worst, in my view, are the people who cloak their soul in a charade of "good" work.
I was in the kitchen and I couldn't for the life of me recall where I heard someone say something to the effect that doing no harm is not good enough and we have to actually do good. I was fortunate that the BBC repeat programs because some time in the middle of the night I was listening to Radio 4 and I heard what I must have heard before but it had drifted over me. It was a program about Julian Assange (a founder and the public face of WikiLeaks) and the scandal over the WikiLeaks publication of what the American military refer to as "the destructive publication of sensitive military documents about the Afghan war".
Quoting from the program this is what Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the American Joint Chiefs of Staff, said:
"Mr Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family." He went on to add "Disagree with the war all you want but don't put those who willingly go into harm's way even further in harm's way just to satisfy your need to make a point."
(A point of note here is that that is the typical pattern presented by a kidnapper: If you don't do what I want then the harm I do to the victim is your fault.)
Julian Assange had the following to say (it was implied as a response to the criticism):
"I don't take the view at all and I, in fact, condemn the view, that people should do so little as to ensure that they have no chance of causing harm. Instead of saying to yourself 'guarantee that you will never ever do any harm' instead say to yourself 'try to do some good and then work out how to minimise any harm that might come about'."
Then I began to realise why Julian Assange's words had been so haunting. One of the fundamental problems humanity has is the confusion brought about by those people in positions of power and control who continually wrap their behaviour up in complex justification of the goodness that they are so concerned about. But our hearts and souls know something is wrong. It is the same thing Christ objected to in the hierarchy of the Jewish religion. It is, unfortunately, not even as simple as hypocrisy.
Christ said of his killers "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Extraordinary words from a man in the process of being murdered. On the one hand we can understand it and on the other hand we can't stand by and allow them to continue their slaughter.
We are living in a blame culture and we have a hierarchy of power and control. Those people that float, or fight, their way upward in this pyramid of oppression have certain qualities which seem similar. It is all part of the blame game. And this is how it works:
As a dependent child a person has to survive. It is necessary for the child to adapt to the parental control. It is deeper than that because the child is making sense of its environment and the parents and their behaviour are simply part of the environment. If the parents employ criticism and threat (something nearly all parents do to varying degree and it is also understandable if not the best way) the child learns how to avoid pain. Jump along a few years and what you have is a child who is alert to not doing anything wrong. That way they stay safe. Too often the net result is that they equate "not doing wrong" with "doing the right thing" (which it is in a way, for them). Because their neurological network is wired up (both hard wired and software) to maintaining a resistance to doing wrong things they have no option but to notice those things that other people are doing that fit into the category of "bad things" for them. Their internal mechanism for stopping them doing it themselves comes into play but has no effect on the other person and so they experience distress. They attribute this distress to the other persons actions. They assume the other person is doing something "bad" and the consequence is that they are suffering. It bolsters their misconception that the other person is "doing" something "bad" to them. So, inevitably, they criticise. This achieves two goals: It satisfies their need to alleviate their distress and it passes the oppression down the line.
Some of the most successful people in our culture (according to the cultures values of "success") are those people who precisely are the hierarchy that runs our culture. The judges, the police chiefs, the army officers, the doctors, the priests, the directors of companies, the officials in establishments, the teachers and basically all the pillocks of society. They are so focused on "not doing anything wrong" that they regard this as really very good. And they expend a massive amount of energy ensuring they can't be "blamed" for anything and criticising the behaviour of other people who are so evidently not as "good" as them.
But what they do less of is "good" things. The reason for this in part is that to do something good often involves risk. Doing something good, by its very nature, involves doing something out of the ordinary. This would leave them open to criticism. So they play it safe.
There are paradoxes all over the place. Fighting for peace! When you assert that you disagree with oppression and cruelty there is a paradox when you develop cluster bombs and land mines to fight your enemy in the name of justice. Pointing out that there is this paradox and using the same argument that is supporting the war to illustrate that the aggressors actions are wrong is reasonable. To accuse someone who is evidencing the deception of being culpable for the damage you are causing because in some way they are interfering with your objective of "peace" is unfortunately totally insane.
To put it another way: When one country decides to drop a nuclear bomb on its enemy in the fight against aggression it is reasonable to question the correctness of dropping a nuclear bomb on civilians. Whatever the answer or whatever you think, it remains a pertinent question and one that requires some thought. To simply "blame" the questioner is an insane, irrational, unjustifiable response. Admiral Mike Mullen, in his statement above, is clearly suffering from UAS. UAS is a mental illness explained in more detail on the Uncle Adolf Syndrome page.
Julian Assange, on the other hand, clearly has his neurological network wired consistently and reliably. He is probably in agreement with the motives expressed for the action in Afghanistan (for example). Note - with the motives expressed! From reading all about WikiLeaks, their origins, their motives, their concerns and beliefs and their objectives it is clear that they are against oppression and injustice. They are against deception and abuse. The "expressed" motives for the war in Afghanistan are acceptable. That is how the politicians get the agreement and support from a large proportion of the population. But if (and I emphasize IF) the politicians and the generals are lying and they have other motives then to reveal these motives is only exposing the deception in which they are engaged and which THEY assert is wrong. It is clearly the establishment which contains the contradictions and paradoxes and it is clearly the establishment which needs to be re-examined and sorted out.
Julian Assange is most probably an angel. Woops! What? me using metaphors? Well as it happens I believe in angels - as metaphors. There are those human beings who have somehow miraculously kept their integrity intact. They can see the inherent goodness in humanity and they continue to stand up for it and to live their lives entirely in tune with the balance and harmony of reality in spite of the fact that they find themselves in a storm of fractured and discordant human events.RELATED LINKS: