The path we choose in our lives is not merely a symbolic or poetic path — one presented so eloquently by Robert Frost’s image of worn and less-trodden paths at a fork in the road. No! The path before us is an essential life-nurturing and sustaining path and each person must choose to renounce violence, destruction, war, and killing. In each of our daily habitual actions, we are making moral choices regarding the survival of our planet.
Humanity is at the point of extinguishing countless life forms and expressions. We engage in an unbridled assault upon each other and upon the natural world. Our appetites for destruction are endless in virtually every realm of our lives — economic, political, social, educational, and moral. Our global condition is well–known, and yet we are oblivious to the dangerous consequences of actions we are supporting. These facts are most visible in the United States of America, a nation once symbolized as a “beaming light-on-the-hill.” It is now a nation whose policies and actions — whose “choices” — are characterized by corruption, cronyism, exploitation, violence, inequity, prison population disproportions, and the sins of affluence (e.g., lobbyists, hypocrisy [hypocracy], contempt for citizen rights and participation [demonocracy], and slow deaths by obesity, malnutrition, racism, classism, poverty). We can do better.
The mass media, a potential voice for informing and educating citizens is a participant in destruction. Analyses of critical news events become opportunities to defame the “other side” — whatever that may be! Receptive audiences choose to watch and to listen to media supporting their existing views. Minds become closed to doubt and fall prey to gossip, calumny, half-truths, entrapment, stereotypes, falsehoods, and misrepresentations. We can do better.
*Anthony J. Marsella, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Hawaii. Dr. Marsella’s essay was originally published by Transcend Media Service at https://www.transcend.org/tms/2014/10/two-paths-in-the-wood-choice-of-life-or-war/ . We will publish excerpts from it intermittently over the next few months.