Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Advent: Meditating About "The Humorless Puzzle of Inequality and Hate"

Another Advent offering for you today from a log of quotations I've kept over the years as I've read: as with yesterday's set of illuminations, all of these feature a certain word about which I propose that we think with concentration these days, whether we're meditating as members of a religious tradition or are not connected to or hostile to religion: 

Karen Armstrong, Spiral Staircase (NY: Random House, 2004):

Since Auschwitz, the civilized West had become the culture that had massacred its Jewish inhabitants, and this act of genocide tarnished all our other achievements. If we had cultivated a vicious hatred of both Judaism and Islam for so many centuries, what other mistakes had we made and what other misapprehensions had we nurtured? (p. 257).

Derrick Jensen, The Culture of Make Believe (White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green, 2002):

Several times I have commented that hatred felt long and deeply enough no longer feels like hatred, but more like tradition, economics, religion, what have you. It is when those traditions are challenged, when the entitlement is threatened, when the masks of religion, economics, and so on are pulled away that hate transforms from its more seemingly sophisticated, "normal," chronic state — where those exploited are looked down upon, or despised--to a more acute and obvious manifestation. Hate becomes more perceptible when it is no longer normalized. Another way to say all of this is that if the rhetoric of superiority works to maintain the entitlement, hatred and direct physical force remain underground. But when that rhetoric begins to fail, force and hatred waits in the wings, ready to explode (p. 106).

Richard A. Isay, Being Homosexual: Gay Men and Their Development (NY: Avon/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1989):

The roots of homophobia . . . lie in the hatred of what is perceived and labeled as feminine in men. In societies where women are subjugated, feared, or discriminated against because men feel contaminated or polluted by them, "feminine" characteristics in males will be despised (p. 128).

Tony Kushner, Angels in America, a Gay Fantasia on National Themes, Part One: Millennium Approaches (NY: Theater Communications Group, 1992):

What AIDS has shown is the limits of tolerance, that it's not enough to be tolerated, because when the shit hits the fan you find out how much tolerance is worth. Nothing. And underneath all the tolerance is intense, passionate hatred (p. 90).

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