I was raised to be nice, to avoid anger and not act in anger. To behave with kindness and love. I still believe this. But I’ve seen and suffered the damage one can do to oneself and others by being too passive and pleasing.
I don’t want to be like that any more. I don’t like what’s happening in my country and the world. I don’t like the way politicians deliberately twist words to suit their greedy, power-hungry motives—even words like nice, and kind, and love. Even words like life and choice.
Consider the slogan, “My life. My Choice.” It’s been used by anti-vaxxers during the COVID 19 pandemic to assert the right of individuals to choose whether or not to be vaccinated. Others see it as a symptom of selfish disregard for the lives of others. Paradoxically, some anti-vaxxers would apply this slogan to themselves, yet deny women who would choose abortion the same right to choose what to do with their lives.
There is no morality, no moral decision, without freedom. There is only morality when you can choose, and you cannot choose if you are forced. ~Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, p. 262.
Consider the opposing positions taken regarding abortion under the banner of Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. If we didn’t know the underlying agendas, the vast majority of us would agree with both terms. I don’t know anybody who’s anti-life or anti-choice in the purest sense of the words. But the harmless words life and choice have been twisted by political and religious leaders to create anti-life and anti-choice realities. There’s a huge difference between using words to advocate understanding, supporting, and healing the suffering of others, and using them to promote power-seeking agendas without caring who suffers.
Somewhere along the way, our country forgot about Christianity’s commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. As Jungian analyst Dr. Bud Harris says in his new book, Facing the Apocalypse: A call for Outrageous Courage, Love, and Compassion, our highest values now are oriented toward achievement, materialism, and power. In the face of this self-destructive trajectory we’re on now, he writes the following:
“When we don’t confront reality and the cruelties being inflicted by our societal shadows, we set ourselves up to pay a terrible price. If we don’t personally and collectively embrace the changes we need to make for the evolution of our consciousness and societal awareness, I believe the price we pay will be in blood.” ~Bud Harris, Facing the Apocalypse, p, 61.
Life is complex and filled with paradox. I’m pro-choice and pro-life. But I do not believe that the stance on abortion known as Pro-Life is based on love. In fact, it promotes a self-righteous societal shadow that prioritizes idealistic laws over the rights, lives, and health of millions of women and children and those who love them.
Moral reasoning based on rules and laws will never heal our world. The desire to protect human rights is a higher order of morality, but even that can be twisted to mean whatever one wants it to mean. Consider the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution written by freedom-loving founding fathers who owned slaves and denied women the right to vote. The highest order of moral reasoning is based on authentic love, caring, and compassion for all. To profess these ideals but not live them is sanctimonious and hypocritical. We need to develop the integrity to practice what we preach.
I want to act from that level. I’m ready to answer Dr. Harris’s call to make the changes I need to make for the evolution of my consciousness and societal awareness. I’m ready to take my stand on abortion.
“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religions, or political views, [or gender] that place must—at that moment—become the center of the universe…our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us so desperately.” ~ Elie Wiesel
I believe everyone has the right to choose to manage their health and the health and welfare of their families. I believe it’s unconscionable for a religion or nation to force a woman to give birth to a child who will suffer its entire life for never having received enough love, healthy food, shelter, protection, attention, affirmation, guidance, or education. Laws which, in the name of Pro-Life, deny children the basic rights and needs every human deserves are cruel and barbaric in the extreme. They create poverty, resentment, prejudice, despair, rebellion, violent retaliation, terrorism, school shootings.
“Love must be strong. Love must be willing to roar. Love must be as fierce as a wolf; love must be willing to fight for life and exist in the service of life.” ~Bud Harris, Facing the Apocalypse, p. 61.
Paper and E-book versions of The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. The Wilbur Award-winning Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications.com. Jean’s new Nautilus Award-winning The Soul’s Twins, is at Amazon and Schiffer’s Red Feather Mind, Body, Spirit. Subscribe to her newsletter at www.jeanbenedictraffa.com.