This article is designed to respond to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris at the offices of the satirist magazine, "Charlie Hebdo." The issues of provocation, intimidation, unhealthy satire, and what freedom of the press really means, are examined through the Meta lens. The current violence erupting around the planet is tangled up in the ignorance of self- confirmation and interaction thinking. However, we need to understand and overcome the prevailing fear and distressing occurrences moving "to and fro" across our troubled planet, so as to heal our own consciousness of fear and confusion and be effective instruments for God. Metapsychiatry always points us to realize a spiritual solution, regardless of any disturbing picture to the contrary.
by Susan von Reichenbach
The recent terrorist attacks and murders in Paris and Belgium, are seen as a heinous act by the Western world. And so they are. Their intention is to intimidate us and fill us with a dreadful anxiety in the event that anyone, Muslim or non-Muslim, would dare to speak against Islam. ISIS, through its more recent atrocities, is now demanding the cessation of the publication of satirical material and informing us in the West it means business if we continue to mock Islam or its Prophet. As horrifying as these acts of vengeance are, there is a message in them, and we need to know what it is and how to respond intelligently to it. That “Nothing comes into our individual or global experience uninvited” (Principle #7 of Metapsychiatry) is a metaphysical law, known as the Law of Correspondence: There are no random occurrences.
Mostly, people in the West seem to be reacting in a defiant way to the murders that occurred, voicing their outrage against a loss of freedom of expression if the press allows terrorists to attempt to silence it through intimidation.* Murder and acts of brutality are never justified. However, the management of the Parisian magazine, Charlie Hebdo, hit by the terrorist sabotage, has used defending freedom of the press as an excuse to double its efforts to continue to publish destructive satire. The magazine appears undaunted by the recent events, refusing to look beyond the catastrophe to the cosmic message, taking the distorted perspective of such an attack personally, without accountability, and unwisely ratcheting up its efforts to combat terrorism by publishing more disparaging images of Islam, thereby also increasing its sales. This reaction does not defend freedom of the press — it actually escalates the rivalry issue about who is in control of the press — “us or them” — and hardens the hatred of the enemy, risking further retribution. Jesus advised us in such dire circumstances, “in the midst of wolves,” to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (MT 10:16) Now this counsel means that if we do not want to invite attack, we must be prudent about our actions and responses. “Get out of the way, like the serpent, and be gentle and quiet, like the dove.” Such satire as we are discussing is unlike either of these — it is an unhealthy energy that uses “humor” to ridicule, mock, and insult. In short, when satire is deliberately and dangerously provocative,* it may, in turn, stir up hostility and evoke retaliation. The contagious idea that our freedom of expression could be compromised or suppressed through such intimidation — the fear of more terrorist attacks — is really, from a higher vantage point, a phony issue. How we use this freedom is the real issue.
Freedom to express is an unalterable spiritual attribute, a God-given gift, but it is also to be used judiciously, not arrogating and misusing (abusing) our “rights” in a free press to disguise publishing what is harmful or demeaning. Freedom to express and communicate ideas flowing to us out of the Infinite Creative Mind — intelligent, loving, helpful, inspired ideas to manifest God's Immanence — is freedom's purpose. This is the crucial point: If this freedom is abused or abusive, it will invite abuse — the possibility of a violent attack — because it is not serving the Good of God. Then the malady of the attacker and the attacked become one and the same in our deluded world.
If we are living authentically in a spiritual or Meta context, our freedoms will not be endangered; if our words, images, and intentions seek not to hurt, but to illuminate, and thereby to raise the frequency of truth and understanding in the collective consciousness, they have the potential to be transformative — we are acting with integrity in the use of our freedom to express. An existentially valid communication of ideas, which is in the context of the Divine Mind, whether silently in prayer or in visible form, will not only keep us safe as a people but be effective in “counter-terrorism.” Racial or religious tolerance is not the solution, nor is political correctness — these are operational and behavioral — but ultimately spiritual correctness is (the solution). Spiritual correctness is based on seeing — beholding the hidden divinity in every human being as an “image” and “likeness” of God, (GN 1:26), regardless of any picture or the circumstances before us (Prayer of Right Seeing**); it requires a non-judgemental and compassionate perspective that can grasp the truth that ignorance is the only enemy and that we are each at unique points of evolution in the human Journey. Until humanity can come to this enlightened point of view, when Love, Truth, and Harmony will reign on Earth, Wisdom dictates that we must learn to be discreet. For the Bible counsels us: "Discretion shall preserve thee." (PR 2:11) ***
*********************************************************** * Provocation is one of the 3 prongs of the devil's pitchfork, along with intimidation and seduction. These "prongs" hypnotize us, distract and alienate us, from conscious awareness of God's Omniactive Presence and our Oneness in It. We must overcome our suggestibility to these forms of hypnotism by deepening and fortifying our understanding of the Power of God to maintain us in Its Goodness, Harmony, and Love. There us no other Power but that One.
*** A contemplation: Sufi wisdom advises us before we communicate (speak or write) to ask: "Is it necessary? Is it Truth? Is it kind?" Tragically, none of the participants in the recent Paris incident seem to be aware of this guideline to avoid doing or inviting harm.