Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Forgiveness and violence

What is the most valuable thing you have? This although it appears as a simple question, it has a lot more depth than most humans initially imagine. The majority of people would immediately think of their houses or their cars, or even better their money as a whole, but after some thought they would most certainly answer health, or maybe love, understanding that these, are far more important than materialistic goods. But, the most valuable thing a man has, is himself or better said, his soul. That is because, unlike health, money, fame or love, soul is eternal, while everything else fades away, as we grow old and die. After someone dies, he is unable to take with him his materialistic possessions obviously and so the only thing he is left with, is himself, that is immortal. It is not hard to understand that taking care of something that last infinitely more times (since it is forever) that something else (our current lives) is by far more important. Furthermore soul it is not something that you possess, but it is what you truly are.
According to ancient Greeks, soul is our character, for they defined it as the summation of all of the emotions and memories we have acquired, while they gave spirit the definition of willpower, meaning our ability to think. If someone questions the existence of soul, then i strongly recommend that he reads my article about it and debate me there, because i will continue this text, taking as granted that we are not simply a body destined to die at some point, but are an immortal soul and spirit, with the above mention, definitions. So following logic, since soul is of the biggest importance, one must take care of it, which can be simply done by elevating his character, or more specifically taking control of his negative emotions and emphasizing in the positive ones. In my previous article ( ) i make my case about why souls is worth caring for the most, and that the purpose of humans in this world is to better and elevate their characters and that this is the only path to a good life. I also state in an other article that the secret to happiness is to try to better our characters and therefore our souls ( ). Of course, it stems from what we have stated, that one should also avoid harming his soul, which is done when he is unable to control his negative feelings, for example anger or hate and fills his inner self with them, which also leads him to poor choices, like violence, physical or psychological. It is self explanatory that one should avoid hurting other people, but what is by fur less commonly know, is that in reality, when one chooses to harm an other person, by the means of violence, which can either come in physical or psychological form, he does not actually harms the person, but he harms himself. That is because when a person exerts violence to an other, what he harms is the other persons possessions, for example his materialistic property or even his body (but as stated above, we humans are not our body, we are souls, that simply live in a body and that makes it our property, not who we really are) or his emotions, but making him sad, or to feel bad etc, while at the same time, by being unfair and consciously hurting someone else, he hurts his own soul, which is what the person really is, not something that can be categorized as his possession. This is a very important concept to understand. The damage that a person makes to someone when he hurts him, is minimal and unimportant, because what he harms, is the other man's possessions, but at the process, he severely damages himself, for he harm his soul, that is by far more important than any property. Even though, this thought processing is totally counter intuitive, that does not make it any less true and is all a product of rightly understanding the value of the things we have and what we are. Socrates in Plato's book Gorgias, gives the following analogy, what the disease is to a body, is the injustice to a soul. But, do we truly harm ourselves someone might ask, if what we do is ''justified''? Meaning, if for example, a person has wronged us, then by hurting him back, don’t we bring justness and therefore does our soul suffer no negative consequences? That is not true. First, when we judge someone guilty and decide to take retribution, we take the law in our hands, which is by itself an atrocious deed, but also we give ourselves the illusion that we have the authority to judge him, like we are above the one getting judged, but in reality all we do, is to lower ourselves to his level. This mentality is nothing more than destructive, for it is primary used throughout history, to justify the bigger monstrosities and crimes. You believe that when the Nazis went to war, they did not thought that their actions were justified? When the crusades happened, did not the Christians thought, that the Muslims were bad people, deserving of death? Or did not every soldier, or murderer, or killer in history thought, that somehow his actions were justified and the fault was of the victims? When someone wrongs an other person, no authority over him, is magically given to us and to hurt back this person, not only does not result in a fair punishment, but it results in us hurting our soul. In the real world, unlike the majority of the modern movies that promotes this mentality, meaning justifying doing terrible actions and lowering your self to the level of the people you hurt, by putting yourself under the illusion that what you do is just and fair, these actions result in more violence. Socrates, in Gorgias, supports via logical arguments that it is better for a person to get wronged and hurt, that to hurt or wrong someone else, even if his actions appear to him justified. Then, the logical question that comes first to mind is what should we do then. The answer is simple. Forgive the one who wronged you and move on!
If we wish to better ourselves and elevate our soul, then we must not give into the lesser emotions of hate or anger, but we should set them under control and focus on the positive ones, like non exceptional love, that will give us the power to forgive the people who wronged us. Buddhist teachings claim that Buddha said that ''holding on to anger is like holding a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else, you are the one who gets burned''. Christ, said on Mathew 43-48 “43''You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' 44"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45''so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46"For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? "If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?48"Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.'' Even if someone is not Christian or Buddhist, he must acknowledged the wisdom of their words, since even if he does believe in their divine nature, the fact remains, that they were both great historical figures. I personally believe that one should specifically emphasize, in this case, in the question Jesus said, ''if you only greet your brothers, what more are you doing than others?'' If one wished to improve his character, take care of his soul and do the right thing, then he must do what the many cannot, he must do the extraordinary, in order to make a difference, by forgiving his enemy! Of course, i am not saying to leave ourselves vulnerable and open for others to take advantage of us. I am saying that the greatest success we can have in our lives, the way we can reach the divine and perfect ourselves, if to fill our soul with so may positive emotions, that we feel love towards all humans, even the ones who wronged us.
Summarizing, the path we should follow in our life, is the one of forgiveness and piece, because when a person exerts violence on an other individual, the biggest damage he does is on to himself, because what he hurts is not just the others person possessions (including his body or emotions, as a possession), but also his soul (injustice is the disease of the soul), which is by far more important. Also, when someone has to face the dilemma of getting retribution on the person who wronged him, or to forgive him and move on, he must always choose the path of forgiveness and love, because no cause or action can justify hurting an other person and so revenge, would only result in further damage to him, to his soul.

                                                                                                       Andreas Sarchosis

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