Factionalism in Egypt and the World
This newsletter was written in response to the report of 51 people having died, today, as a result of the confrontation between forces regarding the forcible removal of President Morsi from power last week.
We see in Egypt, today, a conflict arising between opposing forces and factions, each of which belongs to the same country, each of which has in great measure the same desire for their countrymen and country, namely, that both do well. And yet the emotions of fear and anger and the sense of threat can rise to such a degree that the common interests of opposing points of view about how to achieve the general good can no longer be seen, and what is seen and felt instead is a sense that the other ‘side’ will take from oneself and from those one is aligned with, any possibility for achieving the most deeply held goals.
Herein lies a predicament for all people, everywhere, for the energies of fear, of narrowed vision, and even of paranoia that fuel factionalism can arise anywhere. They can arise in situations that are overtly volatile, and they can arise in situations where a dormant tension has lain like a sleeping giant within collective awareness, a giant which, once awakened, bursts into activity, inflaming emotions and stirring anger and fear within all.
The power of such a sleeping giant’s is based on the obscuring of one’s sense of common humanity with others, and on the obliteration of the idea that even though the point of view of others may differ with respect to the means they wish to employ to achieve their ends, for example, the end of being able to live freely and with equality within a nation, that in their deeper selves, they each hold an ideal of serving the common good.
The obscuring energies of fear, anger, and paranoia that are part of factionalism replace trust in the common humanity of human beings with mistrust, and the idea of dialogue and discussion with a sense of urgent need to forcibly foreclose and take charge of a situation so that the sense of threat can be removed.
Such movement can happen anywhere. It can happen at any time. It can happen especially when it is not recognized that the forces of mistrust are expanding into alienation of a profound kind, and that cooperation and dialogue on behalf of the common good no longer appears to be a viable option to be pursued with others of different persuasions.
We need to understand factionalism at its root, which is the willingness to believe that one’s own point of view is correct, and that any other point of view which seeks adherents and differs from one’s own is dangerous. This outlook cannot but lead to an overt or covert sense of schism and conflict, and it can be the basis for a fracture within the body politic of any nation.
For those wishing for a more peaceful way of moving into the future that is not violent and that allows for the greatest expression of the views of all, the belief must be held that it is only through universal tolerance that the common good can be achieved, and that factionalism must be avoided. For those holding to such precepts, the mind and heart must be wary of all schisms that allow for acts of violence of brother against brother or sister against sister. The mind and heart must also be vigilant toward those emotions that inflame the heart and cause a rigidity of perspectives that will, in the end, prevent true peace in any situation from becoming possible.
May all people, everywhere, understand that it is only through trust in the common humanity of all, defined and held in the highest possible sense of what that humanity means, that peace can be achieved and peaceful means can be found in the presence of any conflict. This common humanity rests on the willingness of the heart to trust love which is the basis for peace, and to trust that within the hearts of all, that same love can expand to locate what will ultimately serve the highest good of all.
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