10/23/04 — Looking back: The roots of our conflict may lie deep in the past

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Looking back: The roots of our conflict may lie deep in the past

Writer Erich Bridges’ column on this page today is commended to your attention, not just for reading but for deep consideration.

Bridges is saying something that needs desperately to be said — and heard. He discusses a concept that we all need to apply in many areas of our lives.

The column speaks of forgiveness, mercy, history, human nature, self-discipline. It offers insight into many of the things that are happening now worldwide and, when we think of it, in our own society and in our own community.

We here are still in the process of trying to assimilate many cultures into one. We want the various groups of people in our society to live side by side peaceably, even if the groups stop short of merging.

The job of building the trust that is needed for such cohesiveness is impeded by the attitudes that are brought into the mix. And some of those attitudes — resentment and prejudice, for instance — result from situations that existed many years ago.

Some groups, whose decendants remain in our society, were done horrible wrongs by the ancestors of other groups who are here. Some of the descendants of those who were wronged find it difficult to forget.

The forefathers of some groups followed pagan religions that were alien to the religion of others. No one knows what fears and superstitions might have been filtered down to us.

As Bridges writes, attitudes can carry from one generation to the next — almost subconsciously. It is as though hatred and suspicion were in our genes.

The process can be stopped, but only if we decide individually that we want to end it. A good first step is to realize that our attitudes, and the attitudes of others toward us, might have their roots in conflict and strife that we are barely even aware of, and that we need to cleanse ourselves of them.

Bridges’ column tell us how.

Published in Editorials on October 23, 2004 11:23 PM