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Monday, October 14, 2013

Why We Should Not Canonize our Nelson Mandela!

Why We Should Not Canonize Our Nelson Mandela!

We canonize and/or hadecize others, out of fear of NOT being able, so far, to reconcile our two opposite, incongruous, end-of-spectrum sides of our Human Nature.  "Good" and "Evil" inter-are in all of us, Humans, naturally, to the point of what one culture, period in history, calls "evil," another might perceive as necessary "good."  Thus, to be Human is to inhabit both worlds, to be both sinner and saint.

Let's take for example, when we hadecize another Human Being:  by doing so, we fail to see in ourselves, the other our true nature, and in the process, become less Human, reasoned, and empathetic. No one or group, absolutely, can take away another's Humanity, for we inter-are, and therefore to even attempt doing that impossibility lessens one's own Humanity; it is like when one of the organs or systems of the Human body fails, the Whole is reduced to a fraction of Herself.  

In "Call Me By My True Names," the Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, meditates on how we inter-are, beautifully,

"I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and 

Therefore, in treating, or perceiving the other as "evil," I essentially take away from my own Humanity, in that insidious process or experimentation.  Since we inter-are, we, thereby, become more, less Human together as One, a Whole.  When one of us is less than, or fraction of his individual Part-Whole, the Group-Whole is essentially reduced to a fraction of Herself.  Take a sports team, for example, the team as a whole is less than, if one its members is not mentally, physically synchronized, up-to-the-mark, individually, with the other members; therefore, it is in our best interest, as such, to perceive each other with that light of Humanity, which must coexist with darkness, for only with darkness can light be possible.

Richard Stengel, in "Mandela:  His 8 Lessons of Leadership" (TIME) writes, "Ultimately, the key to understanding Mandela is those 27 years in prison. The man who walked onto Robben Island in 1964 was emotional, headstrong, easily stung. The man who emerged was balanced and disciplined."

Our Nelson Mandela, knows well, more than anyone else, that he is just one of us:  shaped, molded into the revered person he has become by the rest of us; in other words, Nelson Mandela, the venerated person, was borne out of his struggle to become more Human, in the context of us, all; Nelson Mandela does not exist inherently, but as a part of the Whole, thus to canonize him ecclesiastically is to believe that he is unlike the rest of us, on our journey to become more Human.

Richard Stengel, in "Nelson Mandela:  The Making of a Leader" (TIME), writes, "Oliver Tambo, his former law partner and the longtime leader of the A.N.C. in exile who died last year, once described the youthful Mandela as "passionate, emotional, sensitive, quickly stung to bitterness and retaliation by insult and patronage." Who can discern those characteristics in the controlled Nelson Mandela of today? He now prizes rationality, logic, compromise, and distrusts sentiment. Prison steeled him, and over the decades he came to see emotion not as an ally but as a demon to be shunned. How was the man who emerged from prison different from the one who went in? His reply: "I came out mature." It is not simply that he harbors little bitterness in his heart; he knows that bitterness will not move him an inch closer to his goal."  

Our Nelson Mandela's goal, his goal:  to become more Human, I truly believe, and not a saint.  We are all both "good" and "evil,"--a paradoxical simplicity, I call it--and neither, but Human, more or less so.

Here's to being "balanced and disciplined," like our venerated Nelson Mandela.  
Goddess' speed on your journey to become more Human!

With agape,


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