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Matthew Fox makes this Statement

Mahatma Gandhi warned us that seeking revenge in an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth manner would lead us to a situation where we all become blind (and toothless too, I presume). While I believe we do have to find the terrorists and root them out, still the war talk in the air may preclude other options we have to learn from the tragedy of last week. To learn, for example, what policies we have been pursuing as a nation and as a civilization, that render people so hopeless and full of despair that they would choose to immolate themselves and thousands of innocent civilians.

In my recent study on evil, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh, (Harmony Books 1999), I cite Erich Fromm who says, necrophilia grows when biophilia is stunted. Do we distribute biophilia - that is, love of life - to the world, or do we export necrophilia (the love of death) ourselves with our war games and consumer culture? And then do we feel stung when necrophilia returns and attacks us?

Have we mourned and asked forgiveness for the collective acts of necrophilia including slavery and genocide to native peoples that launched our economic success as a nation? Do we take responsibility for the envy we arouse when we put consumerism and the profits of multinational corporations above the human values of just wage, environmental conservation and the celebration of life? Have we even come close to addressing the huge gulf between the haves and the have-nots in our culture and our species?

The first cause of violence is injustice, as Dom Helda Camera used to say in speaking from the experience of oppression in Latin America. Do we address the issues of injustice in our country or the world over? Does the media address such issues, or are media outlets profiting from injustice? Does the media (and do our politicians) only come on board when there is a violent response against the injustice?

As Thomas Aquinas observed, Despair is the most dangerous of sins. It comes from a sense of loss of one's own goodness and how it relates to God's goodness. Thus, blessing is at the heart of the healing of despair.

Matthew Fox


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