Sunday, October 10, 2010

First, Do No Harm...

Primum non nocere is a Latin phrase that means "First, do no harm". It is thought that the phrase is derived from Hippocratic Oath which includes the promise "to abstain from doing harm"; and so it is taught to medical students as a fundamental principle.

But what does one do when time and maturity combine to make it dawn on a person that one has in fact---sometimes unwittingly, sometimes not---done harm throughout one's life to others, perhaps by career choice or by having otherwise subscribed to societal myths? What can a person do when he or she realizes, even late in life, that one has run after the wrong things, in the wrong directions, and that the result has been harm to one's neighbor's life or morals?

There are those who have spent years, or even a lifetime, trying to sell the lies of the age through various media and brokerage houses about what makes for a "successful" life, and what makes for "losers". What does one do when one wakes up to realize that he or she has in effect contributed to causing so much depression, divorce, despair, so many ruined lives? What does one do when one finally realizes that he or she has been selfish in the extreme, and has put oneself above others in this world, not so much as giving a thought to the pain and suffering one has caused so many in order to sate one's own vanity and image?


In the interview with Dr. Robert M. Bowman yesterday morning we talked of things like the greed of the multinationals which plunder the earth at the expense of all morals and life itself; we spoke of the military-industrial complex which recruits young people as soldiers or mercenaries to go and kill and die for their long or short term strategic objectives.

Dr. Bowman, who knows the ravages, even the "addiction," of unjust wars, having been recruited and propagandized into them himself as a young man, spoke of the "truly awful" harm that is done to the psyches and souls of young soldiers who, under lying slogans and banners, are made to think they are doing something positively good when they ignite mayhem and murder in villages we occupy thousands of miles away, for the booty the transnational corporations seek. These soldiers come back, Dr. Bowman reminded us, "damaged goods," "haunted" on account of what they have seen, on account of what they have done, were encouraged to do, rewarded with a meal ticket for doing. It is as old as the world, as old as sin, St. Augustine reminded us.

Made New

We come to a second fundamental principle then, for the ones whose souls and psyches have been made harmed: Do Not Despair. It is not too late to turn around. Wisdom often comes late, through hard, sometimes bitter, experience. Like Dr. Bowman, we can spend the rest of our lives telling the truth against all greed and aggression, pleading on behalf of the innocent who were once framed as "enemies", and trusting in God's forgiveness, that when we confess our sins in sincere repentance we are made new.

"As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us"---Psalm 103:12

“If your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow: and if they be red as crimson, they shall be white as wool"---Psalm 1:18

A nation with blood on its hands becomes paranoid. It expects revenge around every corner. It places eyes and cameras everywhere, on the lookout for what it consciously or unconsciously thinks that, but for mercy, it deserves for having dished it out to others.

And that is no way to live. It's time to turn around. There has been enough punishing, enough war, enough exloitation of tragedy. We must do better.

--->Military Suicide Rates Surge...

--->Glenn Beck, Mormonism, and American Exceptionalism: Mormon Apocalypse, Part 1 by Aaron D. Wolf. "America is special. America has a mission. America is a beacon of liberty. America, God shed His grace on thee.

We call it American exceptionalism—the belief that, from among the countries of the world, the United States of America has been uniquely called by God to be X. In this equation, X equals whatever you think America stands for.

The Shining City on a Hill, the New Jerusalem, Manifest Destiny, the Sacred Union, the Great Society, the protector of God’s chosen people—X has many incarnations, some of them draped with Geneva gowns or encased in sidewinder missiles...Read it all ... [HT: Joshua Snyder]

Grace, we are told in scripture and by the fathers, is the power of the Call which leads us to Christ and sanctification, sometimes suddenly and in a straight line, sometimes through the most convoluted and baffling experiences over a long period. But in the end it leads us Home in Christ when we do not resist by an abuse of freedom. We become new creations in Him

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