The Importance of Bearing Witness to Suffering
I remember when I started out seeking to understand suffering. I think I was five or something. It was when I finally heard about the Holocaust in Germany, my mom told me that the Nazi’s would have killed my sister if we lived in that time. And I was so horrified, and upset, and I cried for about an hour thinking about it. Sometimes people think that profoundly gifted people regard persons with lower IQ scores as inferior, and I can tell you that is not true. People who think in that way, if they are intelligent, are usually only slightly more intelligent than the average population. Once you get into the high scores people actually have a very profound value for all life.
And so I valued my sister a lot. She was and is a beautiful human being, and I understood her, even though we crabbed like siblings do. I wasn’t ever ashamed of her, but sometimes I didn’t let people know much about her because I knew they would be judgmental as to her value and worth, and I didn’t want to have to explain something like her importance to someone so limited in their scope of thinking.
But it instilled in me a deep seated need to understand what had happened to all of these people in the Holocaust, not just the handicapped either, everyone, the Jews, the homosexuals, the Roma, the communists, all the fringe elements rounded up and ruthlessly murdered. Why would that happen? And so I began to study it, and I still do, and probably always will. It taught me a lot about the nature of evil, the nature of group think, and followers. And it extended from the actual camps to the political climate before the rise of Nazism, the seeds planted which could grow into such horrific shapes.
But more than that, it was about bearing witness to suffering. I hate the idea of someone suffering alone, because that was how I suffered. And so I needed to be there with people, even if I didn’t get there until decades later. It may seem strange to ruminate on such disturbing things. But I wanted to look at it inside and out, and make sure it would never happen again.
But it does, it did, and it is happening again. I used to be more vocal about the fact that the USA is a fascist state right now. I can tell you the history of the origins of fascism in America, because they funded Hitler, because they imported a lot of the war criminals from Germany after the war, because technically the war was won against Nazism, but in reality those people are continuing their work in the American government. I could give you all the links to find this out yourself, but google exists and you can use it on your own. A start would be to look up Operation Paperclip.
But people got really angry at me when I said it, because Nazism is considered the hallmark apex of evil, and to suggest that a country masquerading as a bastion of freedom is actually tainted by fascist thought pisses people off, like I am minimizing the original Holocaust.
But we do have to bear witness to suffering in order to grow. How many people turn off the news from Iraq when it involves a soldier deliberately murdering children? Probably a lot. Oh I don’t want to hear that, la la la. It’s this kind of deliberate ignorance which feeds evil. I’m shocked when I hear Americans still declare themselves the land of the free when it is so patently false. Canada also has malevolent forces in it’s government, and I look into that too.
But beyond the leaders who take people to this level, who create these intense sufferings, are the people being hurt. I know horrid things are happening at Guantanamo, in Iraq, at Abu Ghraib, in basically every section of this imperial march to world domination. But because people can’t or won’t bear witness to suffering, these terrible things are allowed to continue. It is the same here in Canada, if people knew what actually happened in those residential schools, the murders, the torture, the medical experimentation, they would have no other choice but to become aware of the damage of colonialism.
As a world which trusts the powerful, we have turned everything on it’s head. People glorify those who hurt, those who have guns, because those are the people who are seen as supreme. Supremacy is an irrelevant hallucinatory construct. People in positions of power have an alarming tendency towards psychopathy, marked by an inability to feel empathy or compassion, true empathy. And while you may do very well in society while being devoid of compassion, that doesn’t mean there isn’t something seriously lacking in your being.
Thousands of gifted people have died tragically trying to reform “powerful” psychopaths. But it is not them I am here to talk to. I want to talk to people who have a chance of thinking critically, who may really wake up in this lifetime. It’s been discovered that people can only emerge as leaders if they fall within a 30 IQ point difference between themselves and the average IQ of the masses. Beyond that, lower or higher, it completely falls apart. So too will most of my communications fall on deaf ears. But, I believe it is important that people start to show empathy, at least for the people around them. That is not such a bad place to start.
Suffering alone is difficult. It feels like no one cares, like you could be swallowed up by the earth and no one would give a damn. I know people did care about me after I got out of the psych ward, but no one seemed willing to hear what really happened to me in there. In fact, they would get defensive, because they did it “for my own good” and I am “expecting too much of them” and so on. Really, I think it’s because they didn’t know how to deal with guilt.
And when people start on a path towards spiritual understanding, guilt comes with the territory. It’s a difficult thing. Few ever said “I’m sorry that happened to you.” Or “I’m sorry I didn’t take the time to understand.” I have gone through periods of deep guilt over the state of the world, or over things I could have done to help people and didn’t. Some think that that indicates some kind of neurosis, but really it’s a nudge towards growth. I hope that some day I can be the person I expect of myself, someone who can instantly identify injustice or suffering and correct it in the gentlest way.
But the most powerful thing which could have happened to me, and did, actually, was being hugged after I got out of the ward. I wish I had more of those hugs, instead of rejection because people disliked being around suffering.
Love transcends death, but brute power can only exist on earth.