Forgive them, for they Know Not What They Do
One of the difficulties I face in writing about spiritual freedom, is that I’m not practicing what I preach. I decry the existence of legal identities, yet my life is defined by one. My legal identity provides me with a place to live, food, respectability, the ability to move about freely, and other privileges that, if I am lucky, will hold out until the day I die. By clinging to my legal identity, I am placing my trust in institutions, not in love, which is the opposite of what I believe Jesus told us to do. By virtue of my dependence on a legal identity, I, in effect, am standing with the people who wanted Jesus crucified, so many years ago. I do this, not because I really want to, but because I want to survive. And, in our world, a legal identity is the key to survival, not loving and being loved.
Jesus implored us to place our trust in love, but he never blamed anyone for choosing institutions, instead. He recognized how powerfully our desire to survive institutional subjugation dictates our behavior. His message also called into question the state’s sovereignty, and thereby the validity of legal identities—something that civilized people could only see as an existential threat. So, he didn’t blame any of the people who clamored for his crucifixion—not the good citizens who stood by in silence, not those who cried out for it, before Pilot, not the Roman officials who wanted this troublesome heretic removed from the scene, nor the soldiers who were commissioned to do the deed. I feel obliged to acknowledge that, as a subject of the state, I would not have refused the commission to crucify Jesus, particularly if I had a family to support.
Among Jesus’ last words were: “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” That statement does not apply to me. Through my studies, I have come to see institutions as a threat—not only to human happiness, but to the very existence of mankind. Therefore, I have had to face the fact that Jesus’ forgiveness doesn’t apply to me. I know what I am doing. In other words, by maintaining my legal identity, despite the fact that I no longer believe in having one, I know that I am standing with those who wanted Jesus crucified, but I’m doing it anyhow.
Readers of this book who find themselves in concert with its precepts, may find themselves suffering the pain of that same epiphany. But, we can take comfort in the fact that being cognizant of our error does not disqualify us from forgiveness, because no subject of a state can survive without a legal identity. In view of how clearly Jesus understood how our circumstances dictate our behavior, let’s trust that he would forgive us, even though we know what we are doing is wrong.
But, how are we to answer the accusations of hypocrisy that may be leveled against us, for not practicing what we preach? I don’t have a good answer for that. But, however you decide to reply, keep this in mind. Jesus would understand why we aren’t practicing what we preach. And, having no need to explain ourselves to Jesus, we need not answer to anyone. For those who are unable to understand, it is their problem, not ours. But, in order to show respect for their souls, regardless of the circumstances that compel them to denounce us, however we reply, let us be kind.
The largest question is the one that remains: Trapped as we are by the necessity of survival, how are we humans to slip our institutional bonds, and re-enter Heaven/Eden—the state of mind in which Jesus lived? Addressing this question returns us to the issue of blame: To re-enter Heaven, we, ourselves, must first recognize what Jesus knew, which is that there is no human to blame, not us, not anyone else, regardless of what happens. Consider Hitler, whose name carries the full stigma of the holocaust and WWII. Hitler would have been powerless in a world where humans were subjects of Nature, because that would be a world without chiefs, kings, gods, institutions, or governments. In the natural world, Hitler would have been a social misfit, in which case he may not even have survived. In the real world—the one that sustains human life—the key to survival is social acceptance, not a legal identity.
Consider how Hitler came to power. The German people were subject to institutions, not to Nature. Their lives were being marginalized, not just by their institutions, but by the institutions of the world. This made them eminently vulnerable to Hitler’s illusions, the ones his mind created to emotionally survive the fact that his own life was being marginalized by those same institutions. That situation brought upon the world its greatest human tragedy, to date.
Was Hitler the problem? Or was it institutional subjugation? To answer, let’s consider why human beings lay blame. We lay blame in the belief that, by pointing out who is at fault for our tribulations, we are doing something about them. But, do we really think that blaming Hitler for the human tragedy of WWII, will prevent future Hitlers? When people feel their lives are being sufficiently marginalized, we can be assured that another Hitler will appear.
The reason we lay blame isn’t to actually solve problems. We do it for a much simpler reason—to sanctify, rendering blameless the institutions upon which we depend to survive. We blame people for our difficulties, instead of institutions, because our sense of wellbeing is far more dependent on our belief in legal identities, than on our belief in any human being. We are so blinded by our dependency on legal identities that it has never even occurred to us that our institutions could possibly be at fault. So, we routinely seize upon human beings as the cause of our suffering. We are so desperate to identify the source of our troubles that we work overtime seeking out which human targets to blame—targets as diverse as Hitler, identifiable human subgroups, our national leaders, the leaders of other nations, our bosses, our spouses, and, worst of all, even ourselves.
Blaming people enables our brains to overlook the real problem, by implicating people for the spiritual insults that institutions inflict upon us. So, we remain possessed by the illusion that, if we could just get every human on earth to do the “rational” thing, we could control our destiny by the force of instituted law. But, because of the vast diversity of religious, ideological, and other beliefs, we are hopelessly deadlocked on what constitutes the rational thing. As long as we humans continue sanctifying institutions by blaming one another, we will continue suffering from the illusion that, by the gift of reason, we can control our destiny…until we are no more.
Excerpt from Take Us Home, Girls—The Future of This Planet Lies in the Hands of Women
Free Downloads of Take Us Home Girls available at Spiritual Freedom Press