Monday, August 23, 2021

Zack Giffin and the pursuit of peace

I follow this guy named Zack Giffin on social media because of his involvement in what sometimes is called the "tiny house movement." Even though I'm far too old to seriously consider moving into a tiny house, climbing nightly into one of the lofts that provide sleeping quarters in most of these contraptions. And composting toilets have little appeal.

Giffin probably is best known as host of a program entitled "Tiny House Nation," broadcast on various platforms since 2014.

Anyhow, Giffin also is the product of a Quaker family, thus inclined to pacifism, and has posted a couple of times recently about the current situation in Afghanistan.

I came across the following line (lifted out of the context of physical warfare, which was his principal topic) from his most recent post while searching the social media for the meaning of life this morning: 

"Unless our culture stops confusing violence for strength, we will likely continue to push our unresolved quarrels onto the shoulders of our kids because we didn’t have the patience or discipline to restrain our reactive impulses."

This is a sentiment that's broadly applicable to all of the disputes we are involved in at the moment, some war-related, many related to COVID-19 and its variants, others to politics and social and religious perspectives --- or to messy mixtures from multiple fronts.

I've used Giffin's line to remind myself that words often are used violently, too --- and that happens whenever we use the written or spoken language to hurt, anger or inflame rather that to encourage reflection and constructive thought. 

That doesn't translate into silence on divisive subjects, just into making the extra effort to respond in ways that encourage constructive thought and response rather than "reactively" by lashing out.

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