The violence of the fearful mind


I awoke one morning not too long ago to an off screen gunman shooting an automatic weapon causing all the people in the dream to drop to their bloody deaths. What kind of dream is this? I thought and then saw it as an allegory for the troubled world.

One needs only look around to see that the world is becoming more and more polarized and intolerant even when it’s abundantly clear that the intolerance doesn’t provide any greater safety, if anything it creates even less.

I spent the good part of an hour digging up what others had to say about the plague of intolerance and  present a few of my favorite ideas here.


Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.

Mahatma Gandhi

 There is no religion that was founded on intolerance – and no religion that does not value the sanctity of human life.

Mohamed ElBaradei

 Military dictatorship is born from the power of the gun, and so it undermines the concept of the rule of law and gives birth to a culture of might, a culture of weapons, violence and intolerance.

Benazir Bhutto

 Defeating racism, tribalism, intolerance and all forms of discrimination will liberate us all, victim and perpetrator alike.

Ban Ki-moon

 For Rumi, the 13th century poet intolerance is the absence of love and one cannot truly experience love unless he gives it to others.

I think that intolerance is also a form of bullying, it’s exclusionary and selects people out to be “less than” for no other reason than they are different or think and believe differently. It may have been part of a survival strategy when we were all running around in animal skins and huddled together in dark caves throwing stones and sharpened sticks at anything that was not of the family, or not of the tribe, but in the modern world where we all literally depend on one another in order to shelter and feed ourselves it’s archaic and self-defeating.

We cannot hide in the relative safety of the clan anymore in that it’s no longer a viable survival strategy. We truly need each other now and to ban something or someone merely because they’re different or have different ideas or beliefs is stone-age thinking.

One cannot hide from what is scary either by ignoring it or by trying to kill it. Ultimately we have to learn to live with our fears. We can’t kill everything that isn’t us– eventually we will turn the gun on ourselves. It’s a very simple rule that to live by the gun is to die by the gun and that violence only begets more violence. Look for yourself, is that not so?

All of it is of the ego and as such does not know love– it knows hate and fear, self-interest, and exclusion but shakes at the thought of love and inclusion for to love is to be vulnerable, something that ego fears a lot. The secret to cleansing the world of intolerance is to listen to each other, to be open to each other and to not shun and bully because of differences. We need to pay greater attention to potential ‘blendings’ instead of ‘scatterings’ in order to hear each other.

When we don’t listen it shuns the other’s point-of-view and frightens the mind into some kind of defensive posture and when consumed by fear human beings will do great horrors to each other, horrors that only drives the mind to even greater fears.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”


 We live our lives as separate and divided and through fear of the “other” we have dimmed the light of our true being and forced ourselves to only see the differences in us instead of our common core. If we could only learn to work as hard on dealing with our own shadows as much as we try to rid the world of the shadows of others, perhaps then we could see this core more brightly.

“There is a path from me to you
that I am constantly looking for, so I try to keep clear and still
 as water does with the moon.

This moment this love comes to rest in me,
 many beings in one being.

In one wheat grain a thousand sheaf stacks. 
Inside the needles eye, a turning night of stars.”



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s