3. Perpetrator or Victim
Catastrophes are the subject of fierce debate,
depending on whether one’s culture has been portrayed
as the perpetrator of the catastrophe
or its victim.
And, sometimes, a culture maintains its image of purity
by denying that the catastrophe has even occurred.
And, sometimes, catastrophes are portrayed not as crimes,
but as realistic outcomes of cultural self-defense and growth.
4. Whatever protective mythology has been created,
and whatever rationales have been offered,
the Purity solution has been employed
throughout recorded human history,
resulting in the oppression, expulsion, and murder
of hundreds of millions of human beings.
5. Catastrophes are an imminent possibility
as long as there are cultural differences –
skin color, race, religion, ethnicity, political ideologies –
as long as there are demagogues ready to exploit these differences,
selling us messages of our superiority and purity
and the inferiority and impurity of the “other,”
and so long as we are needy and naïve enough
to take these messages to heart
and fall into relationships in which our experience of the “other”
is grounded in Power without Love.