I arrived in the UK a week ago and I have been quite low as I feel very deeply when I have to leave my mother and my country. One thing is certain, we can't deny our roots, they are very strong.
This is only a prelude for this post. As I mentioned, being a bit low and lonely I wasted my time on Facebook, getting entertained with the posts and lots of pictures from my Brazilian friends and also my English friends.
Yesterday there were lots of posts about tolerance and holocaust. It is the holocaust day, let's be tolerant. All those posts were well intentioned, I suppose, and everybody seemed to think this is a good idea: tolerance.
I have the bad habit to question everything, things that seem good and things that seem bad. Are they that good? Are they that bad? This is why I have tried to understand without judgement, tried to experiment (to a degree of safety), tried to learn. I am very scared of cast in stone certainties people seem to have: I am a communist, I am a socialist, I am a mormon, I am... I am... Who am I? I am myself, or at least I try to be. No big ideologies can take me away from myself and what I am first: a human being, with pulse, with joys and pains, with love and sometimes anger, sometimes I am giving, sometimes I am selfish, sometimes I am understanding, sometimes I am judgemental. I try my hardest to become better, more forgiving, more understanding, more loving... Some days I am low as low can be, somedays I am happy, more than happiness itself. When I am at my darkest moments I try to ask myself why? I am Baroque, not Classic. I have shadows and light and in my moment of darkness I try to take from the inside what is hurting and try and elaborate and understand...so much understanding can come out of pain! I do not deny my feelings, I let the come, I greet them. Only by getting in touch with our feelings we can be real and truthful to ourselves. There is no shame in hurting, as the song says: everybody hurts!
So, I referred to the dictionary and looked for the definitions of tolerance, tolerate, holocaust...where do those words come from (you will find the definitions at the bottom of the page). What do they mean? Words are so much taken from granted but they have evolved and they have been engrained in our cells. Their meaning are powerful and nowadays the majority of people seem to waste them and banalise them. I keep thinking about the bible: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Has anyone thought about the meaning of this? The word is the essence of creation itself. By saying things we are creating a whole universe around us. Words seem to be misused and wasted and also used with little discerning about them.
Back to the meaning of the word tolerance: To tolerate means to tolerate the existence of opinions that differ from your own. Ok, what is to tolerate then? To tolerate is to allow the existence. It is not because someone thinks different from you that you are going to torture or kill them.
My first question is: are we really tolerant? Some people inside despise all the people that disagree with them, they hate them on the inside but they are not going to act on behalf of this hatred. They refrain themselves from the explicit violence, but their souls are corroded with it. They won't say the word, they won't perform the aggression, but they will have those thoughts in their minds. It might take one crazy dictator like Hitler to unfold these thoughts and take them into action and in fact, they will be deeply satisfied with it. They might not confess it, but deep down they will feel very contented. How dangerous! We can sensor words and actions but nobody can look in our minds and really know what we think. People can perceive what other think, but not know for certain.
Tolerance is then, allowing people to think differently from you. This allows people to coexist in, if not perfect harmony, at least some kind of peace. Or maybe veiled violence? A violence that remains in the mind but not in action?
I agree, this is better than going around killing everyone that disagrees with you, but is this enough? In my opinion, this is not enough. This is still putting ideologies above the human being. I read the bible. I know, most people think the bible is outdated, it is an instrument of control. I do agree that churches and institutions are to blame for this situation as they have used the bible, very often, as an instrument of power and control. We can only take power from something that is powerful. Power from wisdom and from words passed over thousands of years from generation to generation.
The bible says: 'A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.'(John 13:34)
It does not say: 'tolerate each other', It says: love each other! What is love then? Everybody talks about love as a common idea, yet the Greeks had 4 meanings for love. Let's start with the dictionary: a strong feeling of affection. I think this is the most common idea of love, but I believe the meaning in the bible is more ample than that. Love is the absolute respect for the other living creatures, for their every cell and right to live, breathe, exist. think and for their integrity. It is much broader than simply tolerate, it is acceptance, it is even more than acceptance, it is embracing it and acknowledging that their lives are as importance as your own, and above it all, it is try to understand why they are who they are, what they think. I believe that most people's creeds are their beliefs about what is best. Everyone thinks they are right because they are right for what their reality is, for what they have lived, where they were born, what they have seen and experienced. They develop their creed based on the interpretation of their own reality, but there is a much bigger reality, bigger then the individual realities of each one of us. The reality that we are all in the world, together and we shall learn that, unless we respect, love and help each other, our own realities will collapse, simply because they do not exist, they are just a perception. All human beings are like little cells of humankind, which is one. A fabric made by colourful different fibbers (how boring is a grey piece of cloth) with different textures and shapes. There is nothing about you, that makes you better than someone else, not your colour, not your hair, your house, your car, your ideas. You are one cell of a big tissue. One fibber of a cloth, a little tiny piece of humankind, which is a privilege and a responsibility. Fearing the other is fearing the collapse of your own ideas, creeds. Your little world makes you feel safe, in what you have seen, eaten, believed your whole like. That is why people get so attached to them. The collapse of them might represent the collapse of a world that seemed so sure. Well, nothing is sure. Everything moves, everything changes, your whole body changes every 5 years, your cells die, you are actually a new person everyday. If we are not afraid to embrace the changes, embrace the differences, embrace the pains and sorrows as well as the joys, we can call our little existence a LIFE. Otherwise we will only keep breathing in a cold sea of stale ideas. Keep re-inventing yourself, better still, keep embracing the new person that is born everyday. Let go...
There is only one thing that never changes, never dies and never ages: LOVE.
More than tolerate: Love
Even your enemies, even those who hate you, because love is stronger than hate, than indifference, than any ideology. So simple yet to complicated! Sometimes ideologies only mask the lack of love there is in the world.
I will finish this with the letter of Corinthians 13:
|1 Corinthians 13 >>|
New International Version 1984
1If I speak in the tonguesa of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,b but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
This is so beautiful. And so simple.
All my love to you