Sample article from the November 2001 Star Beacon

Healing the Great Wound

Fred Pulver

by Fred Pulver

The tragedy that occurred in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001 brought home in a horrible way that the world contains people who are extremely opposed to the United States and many of its policies.

The failed attempt to bring down the World Trade Center several years ago was not enough to burst the bubble of American optimism and sense of security. It is sad that it took the sacrifice of so many lives, and destruction of so much property, to wake the USA and world to a real and devastating danger. A division exists in the world, and we must try to heal this division. Tightened security may not be enough to prevent further tragedies from occurring in the future. We must go to the root of the problem to keep it from happening again.

Most people have heard the arguments: America is the enemy to many Muslims because it waged war against Iraq, a Muslim country. Also, the USA supports Israeli military efforts to contain dissent of Palestinian Muslims. America went to war against Iraq because it invaded Kuwait, and because Saddam Hussein was a ruthless dictator who had to be stopped and contained.

Enmity between Israel and Palestine has ancient roots. The Christian Old Testament, an account of Middle-Eastern history from a Jewish perspective, describes many wars that were fought during ancient times between peoples of the Middle East and Jewish tribes.

Zionists believe the Jewish people have the right to exert themselves militarily against all who compete for their ancestral claims. They believe these rights were sealed by a sacred covenant with God. This notion of Divinely sanctioned supremacy over other peoples understandably sits like a bitter seed sprouting in the guts of all who share the same area, but do not participate in the abundant lifestyle of "the chosen ones" because of a different religion, culture or appearance.

The Koran teaches that Allah protects and rewards anyone who follows the sacred teachings of Islam. Certain sects believe one is justified to wage war against anyone who threatens the peace or security of any Muslim nation, and establish the sovereignty of Islam.

In light of these opposing and fervently held views, one can readily understand why perpetual clashes between people who adhere to either of these religious/political/cultural systems would be inevitable.

George Ohsawa, the founder of modern Macrobiotics, said all humanity passes through seven Levels of Judgment to the Supreme Level, at which conflict is resolved. The last level before reaching the seventh is called "Ideological Judgment." This is the level of belief systems, or "-isms," religious or secular.

More wars have been fought and more blood has been shed throughout history because of conflicts between adherents of different ideologies than from any other cause. The tragedy is many people cannot understand that such conflicts are based on ideological exclusivity.

Ideologies are belief systems, and are based on mental conceptions. They are often dogmatic, dualistic and rigid. They often attempt to teach a way of life that is exclusive whereas real life is inclusive and all-embracing.

Observation of life confirms that the universe is a process of differentiation and individuation. There are many varieties of flora and fauna, and they all co-exist in a balanced ecosystem. There are also many ways people view life, death, eternity, etc., and this is an aspect of the diversity of existence.

The seventh level of judgment embraces diversity. It perceives a dynamic interplay of opposing yet complementary tendencies in every situation. Opposing ideologies complement each other and define each other. In reality, there is only continuity of life and death.

As we stand at the threshold of a new Era of Humanity, in which peace and goodwill could prevail, holocaust looms ever more possible at the same time.

"The bigger the front, the bigger the back."

George Ohsawa said, "Dualism is the first and last enemy of humanity." Seeing the West as "the Great Satan" is an example of a dualism. Seeing all Christians, Muslims, Jews or Hindus as the enemy, misguided or inferior is another example of the error of dualistic, "black or white" thinking. In actuality, life is not so clearly delineated. There is good and bad (or Yin and Yang) in everything.

Can we dissolve differences, or will the polarization that is intensifying now bring more destructive consequences? How many more lives will be sacrificed before the fighting and killing stops? Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Jew -- all must learn to live together in mutual respect and consideration. God’s system (the "Order of the Universe" in Macrobiotic terms) predicates that "he who lives by the sword will die by the sword." That is, violence begets violence in an unending cycle.

America had grown complacent in its self-assurance. We must be eternally vigilant. We must listen to others, especially those who oppose us. We must be aware of the dangers we face. All animals instinctively know the importance of constant vigilance, and practice it. They know their survival depends on it.

No one can say we were not warned. We have been brutally awakened from a false sense of security to the reality that we must protect ourselves. The only real security is eternal readiness for any eventuality.

Violence unleashes hatred and desire for revenge. We must all try to bridge the gap before it widens any further, by embracing those who do not share our convictions, and declaring our unity. Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Jews must embrace each other.

Most people do not share the terrorists’ agenda. One way to counteract what they have done or will attempt to do in the future is to unite as one human family opposed to terrorism as a way to resolve differences.

On the first six levels of judgment, according to the Macrobiotic view of life, life is viewed as perpetual conflict between opposites. People who view life through these levels of judgment (Mechanical, Sensory, Sentimental, Intellectual, Social and Ideological) are not able to see the underlying unity of opposites that is the true, higher reality.

When we live in a valley, the mountains can isolate us from the rest of the world. When we climb to the top of the mountain, we can then see how our former view of the world was limited, incomplete and parochial.

Fanaticism is a limited, incomplete and parochial view of life. Modern terrorists are ideological fanatics. They believe their fundamentalist views are correct, and all others are decadent and dangerous, destructive to the soul and harmful to the welfare of the rest of humanity.

Ideological fanaticism is the real danger, not any one person or group. If we would rid the world of terrorism, we must understand what conditions and influences cause fanaticism to erupt and grow.

Fanaticism is impervious to temptation. It is a fixation of the spirit upon dualistic notions of purity, perfection and absolute justice. It is an extreme polarization of mind. It discriminates to the extreme. Mao, Stalin, Lenin and Hitler were all fanatics. Fanatics are zealots. They are exclusive in the extreme, believing the only way to establish their "perfect" world on Earth is by eliminating anyone who does not share their extreme views and participate in their campaign to rid the world of all who deviate from the "one and only," the "true" path they follow.

Whomever you oppose, or opposes you, defines who you are and what you believe. That is, your enemy is also your teacher. If you do not learn from your enemies, their agendas and their capabilities, you will succumb to them. This truth is what inevitably dooms all fanatics and their followers to tragic consequences, as history records so well.

Waging war against terrorists and terrorism without understanding the nature of the enemy will not succeed in eradicating terrorism, just as trying to eradicate diseases will not succeed until we understand the nature of disease, why we get sick and how to protect ourselves from becoming ill.

To live a relatively disease-free life, we must maintain diligent awareness of our bodies and what they are trying to tell us. We must maintain a strong immune system so it can protect us from becoming ill. The national and international immune system is a strong system of security and defense. Social Judgment is the awareness that we all share one Earth, and must treat each other with respect and fairness -- "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The interaction between Islamic nations in the Middle East and Judeo-Christian nations of Europe and America has been strained by the events of Sept. 11, 2001. It is up to each one of us to work toward dissolving differences that separate us.

Every people have believed in the notion of superiority of their own people over others. Folk tales from around the world reveal that the notion of superiority of one’s own people is deep-seated in the human psyche.

Christ taught that if we are slapped on one cheek, we must offer the other to be slapped also. This is a difficult admonition. Yet those who claim to be Christians are supposed to try to practice this as much as possible.

As Muslims, total submission to the will of Allah is a central tenet. Likewise, Christians are exhorted to let God mete justice in the manner and to the extent He considers to be appropriate, at the time and place He considers appropriate. "He who is without sin cast the first stone." Are the people of the USA, or any other nation for that matter, "without sin"?

Macrobiotics believes the highest judgment includes an awareness of the Perfect Justice of the Order of the Universe. This is also called the "Law of Karma" in Buddhism and Hinduism. Scientists state this law, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

It is relatively easy to kill the body of any living thing, including human life. But what does this accomplish? It is difficult to change the mind of a human, especially when it is offended. Violence simply sets more deeply the resolve of both sides to defend each one’s position or territory.

There is no final victory if we cannot change the minds of those who seek to hurt or destroy us. Attempting to accomplish this by force only fans the flames of opposition. If we go this route, we will be forced to admit defeat, sooner or later.

The true goal of Macrobiotics is to elevate the minds of people to Seventh Level Judgment. When enough people have achieved this understanding of the Order of the Universe, the folly and futility of killing people to achieve objectives will be seen for what it is -- misguided and born out of ignorance.

A great hurt has occurred. The pain is real and will not go away. The hurt America feels is as real as that which a parent feels when they discover someone murdered their beloved daughter or son. We must understand the hurt anyone feels anywhere in the world when loved ones’ lives are destroyed by military intervention.

Those responsible for crimes against humanity must be rooted out and brought to justice. Almost everyone in every nation around the world agrees with that now.

But the perpetrators must also be forgiven. That is the hardest part. Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. More killing will not get rid of the pain. Forgiving will. The only way to forgive unconditionally is to love unconditionally.

"If a man offends you, how many times must you forgive him?" Jesus’ disciples asked Him. "Seven times?"

"No, I say unto you," said Jesus, "Seventy times seven."

If we are truly Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Jew, or adhere to any other religion, or we are American, British, Arab, Israeli or other nationality, our task now is to heal ourselves by reaching out to help others. People of all faiths and nationalities lost family, friends and associates in the World Trade Center tragedy. The destruction was not just a tragedy for America, but included people from many nations.

Terrorism is not the answer to the world’s problems. Nor is military intervention and control. The Middle-Eastern experience over thousands of years, as recorded in many religious and historical documents, confirms the truth of this statement.

"Above all," said Jesus, "I pray that you would live at peace with one another, and consider all people as your brothers and sisters."

We are at a turning point in human history: Either people around the world will be united by this tragedy, and by the spirits of those who sacrificed their lives, or we will sink into greater division, dissension and destruction.

Each person must decide which path they will take. The sifting and sorting process includes everyone. No one will escape. According to your level of judgment, you will decide. May your decision bring you true happiness.

"They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their knives into pruning forks. Nations shall live at peace one with another. Neither shall they learn war any more..."

Fred Pulver teaches Macrobiotics and resides with his family in Carbondale, Colorado. He may be reached by e-mail at

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