A bit of self-pride seems part of the positive trait of self-esteem. Possible danger of self-pride Yet we speak of pride before a fall. The story of Icarus is about a young man’s attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax. Icarus ignored instructions not to … Continue reading What’s so bad about a bit of self-pride?
Cruelty is seen at the cinema and on the television. We read about it in newspapers. There is probably an element of cruelty in your self which you have no wish to have Although you may not always recognise this cruelty in yourself, you probably do notice many forms of the shadowy side of human … Continue reading Cruelty – What is its source?
Nine-eleven was an act of cruelty as was the setting up of Guantanamo Bay torture centre. These recent acts of human cruelty are part of a long history of man’s inhumanity to man. The massacres, looting and capturing of slaves by forces led by Attila the Hun in 5th century eastern Europe; the unrestricted bombing of civilians living in cities like Gunernica during the Spanish civil war; the starvation, brutal treatment and extermination of Jews, and other victims of persecution in the Nazi concentration camps.
Human cruelty of course goes on all the time perhaps in less dramatic ways and in a much smaller scale than these. Malicious gossip can destroy a personal reputation; spiteful actions can result in huge distress; nasty comments within close relationships can cause longstanding wounds. Why do people feel so full of contempt, or want revenge to act out their feelings in such cruel ways?
The recent riots in Britain, starting in London and quickly spreading to other cities in England, left many people feeling shocked, insecure and even frightened. For a short time we were reminded what life is like if laws of order (e.g. the commandments in the Bible) are not observed in our society. Afterwards, the debate … Continue reading The Riots and Disorder
There are probably several complex factors that can throw light on the causes of the riots. This is the second of four articles looking at different aspects of the problem. Is the shocking behaviour a symptom of permissive parenting? We tend to still assume that the role of a parent is to supervise children and teach them right and wrong. But to what extent is this still happening?
Many people have been shocked, frightened and angry at the breakdown of law and order that has caused great damage in some of the larger cities across England; violence against unarmed police, arson and destructive behaviour together with widespread looting and mugging which terrorised shopkeepers and residents. A lot of those going on the rampage were teenagers. How has this happened? How do we make any sense of these disgraceful scenes that have brought shame on a nation?
Whether to allow gay bishops is currently a hot issue in the Church of England. Many people feel puzzled by this reluctance to embrace homosexuality by strands of organised religion. And some feel angry and want to promote the idea that gay people should be proud of their sexual orientation feeling this is their natural inclination. From a spiritual perspective, we might ask whether a gay partnership has the same potential for human happiness as that of a heterosexual one. So what does Swedenborg have to say about it?
Ratko Mladic was the key player and commander of the Bosnian Serb forces that tried to eliminate Muslims from large parts of Bosnia. His forces massacred eight thousand Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995, and the brutal siege of Sarajevo between 1992 and 1995 resulted in the death of 10,000 people. His capture and trial for war crimes reminds us of the torture, mass rape, arson and genocide that formed part of this ‘ethnic cleansing’. How does one explain these evil crimes against humanity? Are standards of good and evil are only products of local culture, custom, or prejudice and that the very word ‘evil’ is an outmoded concept no longer fit for purpose.
You have seen the young pop performers, posturing on stage, pretentious, reeking of youthful ego and full of their celebrity status. And you wonder if you could have gone up on stage yourself and done that too. Maybe not! But what about something else you do that deserves attention — great disco dancing, passing of academic tests, goal scoring on the sports field? Don’t you too deserve some admiration? Or is the meaning of life for you something very different?