6. ON WHETHER EACH ONE OF US CARRIES GUILT
FOR THE PAIN OF THE WORLD
6.1. Moreover, from the scope of our collective karmic guilt for
the pain and suffering of the world and for the pain and traumas
of the victims and their aids, we also have to do as such. Indeed,
suddenly I use the adjective “collective”. Suddenly
I am speaking of guilt. Although before I mentioned how tricky,
how dangerous the use of the prefix "collective" can be. The more so in combination
with guilt. History proves many, many cases of horribly, large-scale
violent reactions following earlier actual or imaginary collective
crimes. Irrespective from how long ago. Even without any causal
relation. Yet I use these
terms - collective as well as guilt - be it only here. This, in order to underline my intuitive
conviction that “each of us, though basically sacred, basically
provided with buddhanature, basically jesuslike, is guilty of
the pain of the world”. Although this is my intuitive conviction,
as an important argument there is the fact that if not each of
us is responsible for the whole, neither can there be collective
6.2. So, even though I went a moral step down, switching from “guilt” to “responsibility” -
though leaving the word guilt in the heading - yet even this
weakened phrasing will lead many of you, maybe you too, dear
reader, to objections. Objections against the thesis that each
one of us is responsible for the whole. That is: for the pain
and suffering of the world. Opponents will say: “This cannot
be true! We are not offenders! And if we are, then only a bit.
And only indirectly. For instance by not enough pressing for
intervention, by not sufficiently protesting”. In this
and other ways maybe one will say my thesis is not right. Maybe
even psychologically unhealthy. Yet I hold my statement standing.
Simply as each of us is part of humanity. Part of “the
family of man”. Simply as there are no principal differences
between those innocent and those guilty. Whatever difference
is only gradual.
6.3. Though for myself I do not find it necessary to underline
furthermore these statements since, as said before, these are intuitive convictions
of mine, yet let me try to make an effort. Since, indeed, too
many feel resistance to these opinions. It would be a pity if
they would end considering the issue because of that resistance.
Moreover, the last thing I want to do is to brutalise victims
by disqualifying them as being only gradually different than
their offenders. Accept my sincere apologizing for that. Since
that sort of statements I can only make because of the fact I
am not victim of the cruelty of others, neither my relatives
and friends …. Or could it be possible that victims, out
of more intense experience then mine, will agree ? ….
That said now, please compare the “responsibility of each
one of us for the whole” we are speaking of, for instance
with the german government asking forgiveness at the end of the
last century, for the crimes of genocide, committed by germans
against the jewish people. For that was asked for by government
officials who themselves did not have any part in it. All of
them were even born after the end of the war. Did they say that?
No, they did not. They took responsibility. At least a beginning
of that. Representing the past as well as the present and the
future of the german people.
6.4. Something similar did happen as far as the genocide is
concerned against the herero people in a former german colony
in africa at the beginning of the same last century. Giving financial
compensation is still going too far for the german government.
But, I suppose, it is not far away. As the u.s.a. as well as
canada felt and feel responsible, in a more material sense too,
for the indians from those days as well as the indians of today.
And the australians for the aboriginals. Think of the feelings
of guilt and shame in the dutch population regarding the exploitation
of slaves in surinam, more than 150 years ago. The same regarding
the exploitation of indonesia and the actions of dutch troops
against freedom fighters and the civil population, more than
60 years ago. Very few who took part in those actions are still
alive. Government leaders of that time are long gone. Yet many
dutch feel responsible.
6.5. Think of the increasing awareness in our neighbouring
country belgium, regarding the crimes under the supervision of
king leopold II, 150 years ago, against the congolese population.
Or take a recent example. So actual now, after 10 years: rwanda.
Although the united nations sent a peacekeeping force there,
they retreated when the reciprocal slaughtering of hutus and
tutsis started, escalating into genocide. I am a citizen of a
country that is part of the same united nations. Now that it
is clear how this retreat at that time took place, I too feel
guilty. Looked at from the law of karma we will, as part of the
international community, one day be faced with the karmic consequences:
not only on an anonymous country scale, but also including individual
concrete repercussions. Either for ourselves, for our children
or for theirs. Who does not hope we learned from that disaster?
In order to prevent genocide in darfur (soedan)? In order
to prevent genocide wherever?
6.6. In a similar way we take part in - and are responsible
for - the unjust sharing and consumption of the richness of the
earth (water, food, energy) and the unjust sharing of wealth and
well-being (housing, hygiene, health, education, labour, trade,
etc). Regarding my guilt, I cannot hide myself behind my own government,
or behind failing decision makers in the international community.
Indeed, the overprovided and over-consuming countries are responsible.
But that includes every one of us, every citizen personally. We,
individual people, are continuing this by our consumptive behaviour.
It is by our own behaviour that we create negative large-scale
karma as a result, if we refrain from fair and soonest re-distribution.