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The Hypocrite in All of Us
by David G. Arenson, ND
ATH Co-Editor of Sacred Living
Editor´s Note from David Arenson: A modern-day witch-hunt. Who are our new scapegoats? Where does one draw the line on responsibility, and how do we define a crime? Where does guilt start…and at what does it end? An exploration on hypocrisy and collective guilt. Original and provocative, goes to surprising places where others fear to tread...
Where does guilt start…and at what point does it end?
I was chatting to a friend of mine this morning who said she bumped into an old colleague of hers. Apparently, he’s on pedophile watch and has been generally castigated and reviled by all and sundry in his community. She was criticized for even speaking to him.
His crime? He was caught with naughty pictures on his computer (child pornography).
This got me thinking.
If we consider looking at pictures a crime…Then what else is a crime—and surely we’re all guilty of plenty of crimes individually and collectively (especially thought crimes)?
I mean the stuff I’ve seen on television and in films….murder, rape, child abuse, racism, ethnic cleansing. I must be quite a criminal for watching all these crimes. And I admit to owning a DVD on Dexter Season six (so I must be serial killer too)!
As I write this on my MacBook Pro, I’m reminded of something I read about slave labor conditions in Apple factories. A young Apple employee was so overworked (and underpaid) that he collapsed and died from exhaustion.
Our society values? Going out to buy the new iPhone is seen as morally good—justified—and even nationalistic (supporting the growth of the economy).
As a society, who are our heroes?
Captains of business who have built empires from enslaving people and abusing the environment. On a grand scale, the minority have gotten richer at the expense of the suffering majority. From a psychological perspective, war has been used as a means to control people and keep them in fear. And warfare has been the primary investment (not peace, not education, and certainly not health) of our politicians.
The real criminals have gotten off scot-free.
Many people pay money to go watch Mike Tyson in Australia. Does that make them criminals for watching and supporting a known and convicted rapist? What about those who publicly supported O.J. Simpson for instance, or the mass-murdering dictators Hitler, Stalin and Saddam Hussein?
I also wonder about all the crimes against humanity that have been done by corporations—from polluting and desecrating the environment, to fraud and worse.
Are we criminals for looking at KFC ads, or Coke ads? Are we criminals for indulging in the enjoyment of Nike images? What about actually owning those dreaded Nikes (manufactured by starving child slaves)?
Where does one draw the line on responsibility, and how do we define a crime?
Newspapers regularly publish images of crimes— murdered or tortured people, starving people. And we look on. We consume. We buy more.
It’s interesting that the viewing or ownership of child pornography is considered by society to be such an horrendous crime against humanity, when many of the products seen on store shelves involved some sort of abuse of rights of children and/or child slavery (not to mention the economic enslavement, rampant pollution, abuse of the environment, the unjustified killing of animals, economic corruption).
Sexting is rife amongst teenagers. So what we are saying is that naked pictures of cavorting youths is okay so long as it doesn’t get in the hands of adults. At that point, does it become automatically criminal?
It just doesn’t make sense.
Did it ever?
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an image of child porn that’s considered criminal, and I’m not sure what is considered criminal. I’ve seen naked pictures of young girls in photography books, at art museums…naked models are fairly ubiquitous in all media. Is that much different?
It’s hard to say who and what constitutes a woman—many models are 14 and younger, and even the 18-year-olds are often undeveloped pubescent anorexics. The fashion industry supports starvation and eating disorders.
Every time we see an image of one of these fashion waifs, are we supporting this industry, and are we committing a crime?
What about the wearing of fashion accessories made from cruelty to animals—snake skin boots, fur coats?
Or the live animal trade that ships animals alive across vast distances in appalling conditions, many of the animals dying en route. Do we count all meat-eaters amongst you as guilty by association?
Every action we take as consumers makes a statement. About us (what we care about). About society.
Were Hitler’s millions of supporters guilty of genocide? And what of the Western countries that stood by doing nothing directly to stop the Holocaust from taking place? Guilty by association.
Where does guilt start…and at what does it end?
Let’s look through all our desktops, smartphones, laptops, iPads and see what images we have. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
(Hey—guess what I just found? A picture of an old girlfriend. Would her current boyfriend consider me a criminal?)
Since when was looking a crime?
And if it is a crime, then aren’t we all guilty?
Let me say. I pronounce us all collectively guilty.
Of sins against Women and Children.
Of sins against Humankind.
Of sins against Nature.
Of sins against Animals.
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About the Author
David G. Arenson ND, Naturopath, Spiritual Teacher and Transformational Coach. An international speaker and author who has explored over 20 countries, David developed a system of initiation called Shambhala Therapy, and is the Founder of Shambhala Retreats. He is currently working on a book about how to be a modern-day superhero, and is developing a network of dreamers, called I BUTTERFLY.
David specializes in holistic wellness and integrating spiritual concepts into the human potential movement. David presents powerful concepts in personal change and living on purpose. David's inspirational writings on holistic and sacred living, transformation and thriving are featured worldwide. Guiding people in how to experience themselves on a deeper level, David believes our world is as we dream it - “Our collective dream is what has created our current world. I look forward to dreaming with you and creating dreams that we can be proud of.”
To find out more about David, enquire about organizing wellness retreats or speaking engagements, visit his website, www.findshambhala.com - Journey with David to Shambhala.