The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing….
The statement has been attributed to the 18th century Irish statesman, Edmund Burke, though there is no clear source. What he did say for sure was, ‘When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.’ This is what I would like to focus on: the critical need for good people to come together in the face of evil.
We would probably agree that most people want a good world for their children to grow up in, even if they disagree on how to realize this. Sometimes, however, this essential impulse can lead to distortions of all kinds, from greed to cruelty that result in evil actions, practices and structures. The only way to redeem this process is to return to the starting point that we share – a good world for our children – and affirm this shared foundation. Then – and only then – can we explore the differences that divide us.
A Simple Method
- Connect to our true, authentic self through sharing our stories with each other:
- In the surfacing of this self we realize that we have the basic elements of a shared vision.
- Explore HOW we can live our true self and this shared vision
- Listening to each other’s perspectives and examining each other’s assumptions about concrete issues in order to understand each other enables us to hold the tension of these differences in a way that generates new meaning
- Discover ways to respond to these issues from a new place and a new consciousness:
- Working together to make decisions and take actions that are founded on shared understanding results in real commitment and accountability.
This is Dialogue for Life (DfL): a way of living that is founded on the perennial wisdom of the great philosophical-spiritual traditions and uses skills of interaction that enable us to generate a new consciousness that will produce new thinking and action that reflects this wisdom.
A Proposal: DfL Ambassadors
I propose that we can build a movement to realize this goal by inviting those of us who feel ready to be DfL Ambassadors and facilitate this kind of coming together across our various divides of culture, religion and politics, as follows
- Three Steps:
- Offer a short immersion-training in DfL for those who feel ready.
- Assist the participants to do the same thing for another group.
- Foster a simple movement of DfL Ambassadors in this way.
- Use existing structures, including education, health care, business, religion, politics to identify and convene potential participants for this movement:
- It might be helpful to begin with trainings within the institution or organization and later work with more diverse groups.
- Create an electronic platform in order to:
- Share experiences, insights, etc. that can help deepen the process
- Expand the process to include more and more perspectives.
- Gather people around common challenges
I invite anyone who is interested and – ideally – has access to (and influence in) an institution or organization of any kind to contact me so that we can identify a group of potential DfL Ambassadors and organize the first immersion-training.
My only comment is that many of our efforts to bring change miss this critical and foundational component of coming together in order to discover a new, expanded consciousness. Einstein is purported to have said that we cannot solve our problems with the same consciousness that created them… I might add that putting in this essential foundation is like going slowly at first in order to go faster and more resolutely later.