After I volunteered to lead a discussion at my Quaker Meeting on the subject of ‘Truth,’ I started thinking about what that word means. I didn’t think about it for long before I was hit with an opportunity to really think about it.
I was listening to the radio when I heard a very brief news item concerning a couple in Canada who had lost custody of their two children because their second grader had appeared at school with a swastika drawn on her skin in permanent marker. The child had been taught racial hatred by her parents and according to the report hatred is a crime in Canada. Of course, there was more to it than just that. The parents also had issues with drug abuse and neglecting the children, which contributed to them losing custody of the children.
But the idea gave me pause on several levels. If a parent believes in White Supremacy and wants to teach their children their beliefs, should they be allowed to? Such a parent would surely think that I am just as crazy in believing that all people are created equal. Just because the majority (at the moment) is in sync with me, does that mean I’m right? Or to bring the subject back to Truth, does it mean that my ‘Truth’ is ‘The Truth’?
Another question this brings up for me is whether an emotion like ‘hatred’ can be legislated against. And do we have such a law in the U.S.? I hate seafood, should that be illegal? Or more to the point, what if I were to say, “I hate racists,” should that be illegal? And, to broaden it further, what if I decided that keeping dogs for pets is wrong and that it should be illegal to keep a dog for a pet? I could argue that dogs are sentient beings and that ‘keeping’ them is as wrong as enslaving humans.
During the discussion, a Friend told about a meditation technique that involves sitting cross-legged, touching knees, face-to-face with another person and just looking in their eyes for ten minutes. He said after he had done this with a friend, they both agreed that if all humans said ‘hello’ this way, world peace would be soon to follow.
I can’t help thinking about the children in Canada who lost their parents and the parents who lost their children. What if their ‘punishment’ was to look in a different black person’s eyes for ten minutes every day for six months? Would they still be able to hate them? But is it right for me to want to ‘re-program’ these people to my way of thinking? This seems to open a Pandora’s box of possibilities.
The only thing I think I know for sure is that hatred and violence are rooted in fear. We all want to be loved and we all want to be ‘someone’, as one member of our discussion mentioned. I am thinking love is the answer along with the abolition of fear. But I think I am not finished thinking about Truth. Maybe the only answer is a question.