vignette by Fred Leeds
Let us consider cycles of violence, which are the most difficult. If someone does violence to me short of actual physical violence, it is my obligation as a conscious adult not to retaliate in kind or discharge the bad energy onto a third party. The cycle has to stop somewhere. The incessant prevalence of such cycles and the inability to trace them to their original source must be taken into account. Buddhism and Christianity both recognize the existence of sins or infractions not just of action but of speech and thought. This suggests a moral code above legality, a need for self-reflection that is ethically almost primary. This is the best vehicle for breaking cycles of harm, as it helps to transcend the chaotic amoral chatter, the endless surface justifications of action and reaction. It also helps enforce the recognition of individual consciousness as as a real medium and not just a site of instant advantage or disadvantage, automatically transferred. In other words, it compels the exercise of a conscience truly individual, making it harder to justify action through the appeal to what everybody, that convenient elusive culprit, does.