I talk about imperfection and compassion a lot. And now I want to talk about how we are watching these two things I’m obsessed with play out on a macro level. Let’s talk about Israel and Palestine directly, and how we can relate to it from our own individual perspective. In some tough situations, there’s no perfect or clearly right choice.
Imagine a time when your family is in serious danger, your beliefs are attacked, or your basic needs are taken away. It’s really hard to know what’s the best thing to do.
Whether you decide to stand up and protect your loved ones or not, someone is going to be hurt. If you don’t stand up, your family and community may suffer. But if you do choose to resist, you might end up hurting others, maybe even using violence. It’s a complex problem without a simple answer.
Moral Superiority is an Illusion
But here’s the important part: You can’t believe you’d always make better choices in someone else’s situation because there is no way for you to TRULY know. Any thoughts you have about what you would do is just a make-believe idea. You can’t truly know what you’d do unless you’re in the head of the person you’re judging, feeling their emotions, and living their life.
The truth is in the toughest moments of the human experience, there isn’t a single right choice. There is no easy solution. People aren’t perfect, and sometimes they have to make hard decisions.
Forgiveness and Compassion: The Only Way Forward
Here’s the deeper lesson we learn from these challenging situations like what we are witnessing between Israel and Palestine: Humans often face imperfect choices when circumstances are at their most extreme. It’s a reminder that, in perfect conditions, most people would choose the path of love and non-violence. But, more often than not, we are not met with perfect conditions.
So when reality is harsh and violent, when choices are far from ideal, we must remember that forgiveness becomes crucial. We must dig as deep as we can, to accept that under such terrible conditions, even the most unimaginable horrors and the most egregious offenses become forgivable.
We must dig as deep as we can, to accept that under such terrible conditions, even the most unimaginable horrors and the most egregious offenses become forgivable.Arielle Davis
Moments like this in history offer a chance for all of us who watch from better, non-violent circumstances to make a different choice, a loving choice, a more compassionate choice.
We can opt for compassion over judgment, choosing not to use our words and emotions as weapons against those who perceive things differently than we do. We say we oppose war and violence, yet from the comfort of our computer screens, we launch verbal attacks on those with differing views, demonstrating that even we, who see ourselves as good and moral, are capable of violence against fellow humans, whether physical or not.
What We Can Choose
But that doesn’t have to be our story. Instead, we can choose to love, to empathize, and to forgive those who find themselves in desperate situations due to the challenges of their human condition. We can have compassion for those who are violent even when they seem like the last people on earth who deserve it.
We can choose to love, to empathize, and to forgive those who find themselves in desperate situations due to the challenges of their human condition. We can have compassion for those who are violent even when they seem like the last people on earth who deserve it.Arielle Davis
I know that my perspective might not be popular, and I realize that I’m not experiencing the same horrors as those who are being bombed, hurt, and hungry. But what I believe is this: we should use our better situation to inspire those of us watching from afar to share our resources with everyone because, in reality, everyone is suffering. Absolutely fucking everyone. And there is no such thing as innocent or guilty. These, too, are illusions.
Each person has moments when they are innocent and moments when they are guilty. Even children. Ever seen a baby bite another baby? Violent. Suffering and causing suffering.
So, instead of fighting with each other as spectators, we can work together to help those who are suffering the most. Because deep down, when one person is suffering, all of us are suffering. We see that this is true in times of war, whether it’s between two people or thousands. Conflict and suffering spread like ripples in a pond, and a ripple starts with one person’s suffering.
All of us have been harmed and have harmed others. You are no better or worse than any person. We are one collective human soul, and we’re both suffering and causing suffering.
Hopefully, after reading this, you are conscious. Conscious of your choice and your privilege to make a good choice, a loving choice. I hope you use it because if you don’t, you’re only hurting yourself in the end.