• Do no harm

    by  • 20 February, 2008 • General • 1 Comment

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately — with more than enough time on my hands now, I was bound to do that sooner than later — about what it is that makes this world of ours so messed-up. No need to give you examples of this messed-upiness, there are plenty of examples around you. I’m sure you can write down a whole list and you still would not have covered half of what I consider to be messed-up and vice versa. So we each have our own idea of what is messed up. I don’t know about you, but I have this urge to look for patterns in such situations. Since I’m formally trained in trying to find the source of a problem in order to remedy it, for months I was on a quest for the source of this …

    At one point I was feeling that I had come close to this source of our problems: religion! It seemed to me that religion throughout history had played a very large role in messing up the world. In the name of religion — or at least with religion as a banner behind which to hide — whole nations had been exterminated, little children had been permanently damaged, wives had been battered, opponents eliminated, ideas destroyed, happy and normal relations suppressed, you name it. And this is just what I have witnessed in my own life time. I’m no historian, no expert on religion, this is simply what I can observe.

    So, why is it that religion not only allows, but seems to facilitate all this abuse? I mean religion is supposed to give a person moral guidelines, doesn’t it? We — at least the christianity branch of religion — have bibles, old and new testaments, 10 commandments, wouldn’t that be enough guidelines to keep a person on the right path? I’m assuming other religions have similar “authoritative works” that are supposed to keep their followers in check. But it doesn’t work, does it?

    Here is why.

    In my humble opinion, we have too many of those rules and regulations and commandments and do’s ‘n don’ts. I’m looking at a sign above my desk which — in a effort to simplify “the rules to live by” — I hung there a couple of years ago. It’s the five principles of Reiki (a.k.a. the Meiji Emperor admonitions). They go like this:

    Don’t get angry today.
    Don’t worry today.
    Be grateful today.
    Work hard today.
    Be kind to others today.

    It has as an advantage over all the previously mentioned rules that it has a sense of immediacy. Today. But it is still too complicated. What if my working hard today prohibits me from being kind to others today? Or vice versa? What exactly is “being kind”? Too much room for arguments. So, strike those principles. It’s much simpler.


    That’s it. The only rule anyone ever in any situation needs to remember and live by. One rule. For everybody in our physical environment and beyond. What a concept! Everybody knows what harm is, there is no fooling with interpretations. We don’t need wise and learned men and women to tell us what harm is, we certainly don’t need a whole hierarchy of ditto to do that and enrich themselves in the process. We don’t need a savior, we don’t need a prophet, we certainly don’t need a church. Just do no harm. Could we try that, please?

    Now go and kill everybody who doesn’t want to adhere to this rule! Oops, sorry, I was getting too carried away with all this, that’s another organization’s credo…

    One Response to Do no harm

    1. Tom Hoffman
      22 February, 2008 at 18:59
      Once there came a man
      Who said,
      "Range me all men of the world in rows."
      And instantly
      There was terrific clamour among the people
      Against being ranged in rows.
      There was a loud quarrel, world-wide.
      It endured for ages;
      And blood was shed
      By those who would not stand in rows,
      And by those who pined to stand in rows.
      Eventually, the man went to death, weeping.
      And those who staid in bloody scuffle
      Knew not the great simplicity.
             - "Black Riders", Line V (Stephen Crane)

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