SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How do you relate to the notion that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed? Can you share a personal story of a time when you felt deeply connected to both oppressor and oppressed? What helps you live a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others?
In logh of all going on in the world today, I feel as if I am the oppressed whe I have never or would never hurt anyone. I am conservative Christian (white, although I do have scottish, german and american indian heritage), I am a proud American, I do not want history erased, I stand for our our anthem and Flag out of respect. I recognize the atrocious behavior of our forefathers, but going forward in progress not backwards in hatred is the keyð
mandela was a prophet of the highest caliber. his mind is evidence of the greatest thought our species is capable of: reciprocal altruism based on empathetic compassion. our species is, indeed, hardwired for this orientation, but painful experiences distort and twist a healthy human mind into something else. the oppressor and the oppressed are opposite sides of the same coin and we must always remember that - its how we rehumanize the dehumanizer and avoid the pitfalls that experiential distortions turned into extreme boundary drawing behavior can become.
The awakin reading immediately took me to a recent incidence when I became controlling. I did have awareness of my freedom being oppressed at times, but this was a new realization. To allow freedom to exist for ourselves and others, more open-mindedness, trust and love is needed.
Its an eye-opening passage. Recently, for something small, I had tried to control.
I generally think of myself as the oppressed but today,as soon as the passage was read, i remembered the incidence and realised i am an oppressor too. Perhaps I have learnt that as the way from what i received, but truth is - its right there and how could I take away another person's freedom because of my own ways or learnings.
It needs to be worked on for a freer, happier life for myself and others.
On the "liberation" note, the only one who can free us from this sin is Jesus. When I reflect on Him, Jesus never used His power, authority, superior position to "sit upon us" ... He (very patiently) walks beside us. (He did not come to Earth to condemn ... But to save. "Do THIS in memory of Me".
The oppressor must be liberated. Too frequently the oppressed become the oppressors, as the oppressed in their freedom emulate the power of their oppressors. The work of Joseph Conrad tells the story and history bears witness (e.g. oppressed Scots becoming oppressors as colonizers of new territories) . True liberation of the oppressed means destruction of the old models of power and co-creating new forms of living encompassing justice, harmony and well-being for all.
I agree with Nelson Mandela that the oppressor is a prisoner just as much as the oppressed. I believe the arrangement is like a teeter-totter where it takes two to keep it going. I've been with couples in abusive relationships and see both parties as oppressed and both parties as keeping it going, even though one is called victim and gets all the sympathy and the other is called violent and perpetrator and is condemned. I have felt connected to and sympathetic with both parties, and have made an effort to get them both to get off their teeter-totter and develop a different arrangement. Some do and some don't. What helps me live a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others is reminding myself that we are one -- I look across the divide of me and them and see me -- we have had different circumstances, but we are basically alike, and with kindness and compassion we could get back to realizing that. I believe we are born loving, we learn to hate, and we can relearn loving.[Hide Full Comment]
Wow, this is timely given our current political campaigns in the US. I see so much hatred, yet my initial response in compassion. How hurt this person and these people must be to react with such hatred. How can we heal that hurt? I resonate so much with Mandela's thinking; none of us are free if we do not live from a place of compassion for EVERYONE and seek to unshackle from hatred. I think so much hatred is born out of fear, and if we can address those fears through trying to listen then we are one step closer to healing. Whew! Hugs to everyone from my heart to yours.