Wrath's Consuming Power | Chris Hedges and Hamza Yusuf

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Event Name: Wrath's Consuming Power | Chris Hedges and Hamza Yusuf
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 3/18/2022
Transcript Version: 1

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i think it's a misnomer and dorothy sayers calls this out it's a misnomer to call them the deadly sins
because they're not they're not really sin yeah they're states they're states of being the the well evogrius never call
them sins right he called them thoughts that's right and but the thing is once
one of these uh and and of course he called them demonic so once one of these demonic
forces takes you over then you cannot do anything but engage in sinful
behavior and and i think the reason origin and ivogris are so important is
that it's not the hebraic notion of sin as law but it's more that notion of sin as
separation from the self separation from god and separation from the community
and that's what these forces do whether it's gluttony or envy and just so you know
i mean i remember when we studied it envy in the classical sense
you probably know this is not just about coveting it is about uh it is about desire for
the destruction of the other who have the other right in the islamic tradition
they actually there's two arabic words so one of them is hasa which is envy
where you want the destruction of the goods of the other or or you want them to lose what they
have at least if you envy their wife you want them to to have a divorce right right right
but the other word is which it means joyful admiration
and so it's it's it's a positive envy like you actually do envy them you wish
you had what they had but you would not want them to lose it it's it's a nice distinction and the
prophet salallahu he said only two people should be envied and he meant this joyful
admiration where you you wish you had what they had but and that was a a man who was given
wisdom and taught others that wisdom by day and night and
the other is a man who was given great wealth and used it to to to uh for the common good and and for
helping the the needy and so he said those two people were worth having env
this positive envy towards all these people who write about anger also break it down but
they all they're all rooted in aristotle you have a burst a momentary moment of anger then you have resentment and then
you have wrath which is the desire for vengeance but but aquinas and all those
people are writing out of aristotle so i mean so is the muslim tradition you know i think
aristotle had such an incredible impact on all of the abrahamic
uh traditions and and they used them in different ways and then obviously uh the uh there's a
platinus was actually translated into arabic as the theology of aristotle so
neoplatonism uh came in the back door that way and and but you have
you know it with anger you have this understanding that
of the concupiscible and the harassable soul from aristotle which is adopted by
both the christian and i think all three but but uh they understood that the
irascible soul was a positive uh force if it was guided by the
rational soul so they they they you know imam al-ghazali says you don't want to eliminate anger you want to make it like
a hunting dog where you release it at the proper time
to the proper object uh and for and for the right reasons so so um i think that's at the heart of of
uh of the spiritual practice of trying to tame uh that that irratible soul which was
placed in us to go to ward off evil and harm well that's the distinction between
righteous anger which which aquinas gregory you know all of them
accept as part of a life of faith well let me ask you something
why why because i think you know you and i probably i'm making this
assumption but just from because i've read a lot of your uh stuff um and
i think we both have a choleric temperaments um and
and prob i'm sure you have like i have worked over time to
to really exercise that temperament uh the negative aspects of it out but it
seems to me that we're living in a very choleric time like why are people so
angry well because they're they're so constricted i mean
uh their life is stagnant uh they don't see any hope for the future
uh they're under economic duress uh you know that that that's
you know that i know when i when my first book war is a force that gives us meaning after covering the war in el
salvador for five years i end up in an airport in costa rica
with my dog and the guy behind the counter says uh well
we don't have any crates we can't put your dog on the plane
and your dog will have to sit in a crate in the airport for a week uh and i flipped i left over the counter
i remember reading that story it had nothing to do with my dog it had to do with the accumulated
rage and trauma that i spent five years undergoing i
mean i had a i used to have a nervous twitch my eyes were would go like this you know all the time
so that's it that people you see it in prisons i mean irony i teach in prisons
and one of the ironies is that prisons are actually as institutions incredibly polite if you bump you never
touch anyone in a prison but if you were to bump into somebody in the hall you're profusely apologetic
and if you're not it's a fight right um because you're everything is so
bottled up and contained and that's one and number two is that people who become consumed by
wrath and this is emile durkheim they
they seek the annihilation of others but as durkheim points out
it is driven by desires for self-annihilation so
that's that great quote by ivagrius of pontus
where he says the demons arm themselves with evil actions once armed they treat harshly
those who arm them that you become by any of these
uh seven deadly sins seven deadly thoughts it is about having the demonic seize control um and
then you know that it controls you you don't control it uh and of course the danger of wrath and
vengeance is that the object you internalize that if it's a person let's say that object or that figure uh
essentially takes over becomes part of your own identity and i think that that notion of
the demonic you know because demons at least in in biblical literature is
often seen as as you know actual physical entities right loses the wisdom
yeah of the fact that the demonic is real that people can be seized by avarice right by
by envy by gluttony by wrath um and i loved actually you know because
with ivagus apontos he had eight thoughts and then they was later all
reconfigured by gregory but they erased um
um sadness melancholia yeah but that's but but for evagrius
that was self-pity um and that you know self-pity pride led
to wrath well you know i mean i i would say you know in homeopathy you have what
they call a causa occasionalis you know the triggering events so like
if if you get dust somebody has an asthmatic attack but it's not the dust really it's it's it's the
susceptibility because there's an underlying uh weakness in the immune system and it
seems to me that i think there's a lot more going on like
i appreciate the the analysis and i think there's a lot of truth to that but i still think their cause occasion
analysis for for the anger of modern society i think there's deeper
i think you know in some ways people have more today even poor people
than i mean i lived in west africa and you've been to some of the poorest countries in the world and you know in
where i lived in west africa they had over 50 percent um unemployment and yet
i was just amazed at how joyful the people were generally um
this was in in mauritania and i think people are they're angry because they've
been deprived of so much there has to be some sense of entitlement to to get angry you're
getting angry because you feel like i've been deprived of something like somebody cuts the line they're taking
time that should be yours and they're forcing you to wait longer
and so some people will just say you know what a jerk or and just let it go but other people
will will really go into a state of uh of uh of anger and sometimes it'll lead
to even uh death yeah i would say you're right i except i would i would go back to durkheim when
he talks about anime and social bonds that there are many social bonds that integrate us into the society work being
highly important and john paul ii not a pope i loved particularly but he did
write a very fine encyclical on work and he understood the he actually said
that in order to sustain the family one needs meaningful
work with a living wage he actually talks about the loss of uh of work as
one of the contributors to the breakdown of the family and i think this is true so there are many many social bonds i
mean i i would agree with you um but there but when all of these social
bonds become ruptured when when you have no place within the society to actualize yourself
in any way then it creates this very self-destructive anatomy and
of course durkheim in his book on suicide asks the question what is it that drives individuals and societies to
carry out acts of self-annihilation uh and he said it is
wrath in essence uh because all of these you know uh you know those who seek the
annihilation of others are driven by these desires for self-destruction so um
yes i think that that i mean modernity is part of the problem because it's it's essentially it
holds up all of the values that if you want to take the seven deadly sins were warned against i mean what is
everything in a corporate capitalist culture i mean you see it on reality television shows what values do we
celebrate as a culture well it's every value that all of the great metaphysical writers have warned us lead to
self-destruction so it's about the cult of the self it's about gaining
wealth it's about gaining power it's about uh the the hedonism of the narcissism of you know being eternally
young and that is just on every level and when
you fail and most people fail now given the the you know the seizing up or the
ossification of uh of our democracy and this massive uh social inequality it's
always your fault so it it it this is you know positive psychology it's it's
something's wrong with you nothing's wrong with the system so that self-loathing uh is just exponentially increased and i
think you see it expressed in mass shootings the nihilism of people who just go in and kill uh everyone around
them irrationally and and uh and i think it comes from uh
these feelings that you know the society at large has just cast you aside as human refuse
well again i mean i i agree and i think that's all true and i wouldn't disagree uh by and large
but i still feel that there's something deeper going
on i just i feel like the loss of of god in people's lives the loss of
even just religious practice if you look at you know look at give me
the stories that you tell and i'll and i'll give you your culture i mean look at the type
films the the the music that people listen to talk about demonic thoughts
um and and just i people are being filled with this on a day-in day-out
basis how like violent porn
it's just you wrote a whole chap that chapter i wish i never read i thought you should have had you should have had
a trigger warning before that chapter because that chapter haunts me to this
day and and i just that's the type stuff that these kids are
are absorbing in a culture and i just don't see how you could have anything but
filth come out of some people and we live in a culture that thrives off the
deadly sins we sell everything with the deadly sins and and in in the past
cultures actually recognized human weakness and tried to help people overcome
their natural inclination towards that sinfulness and i just i don't see it
it's not uh we have so many films about angry people that go out and just
you know uh man of wrath i think is the latest one um
or well we celebrate we celebrate them that's what i mean i mean there's a real celebration and so i just feel like
you know the theology of today is demonology it's not it's not it's not
the study of god it's really the study of of demons and that's what people
absorb and i just don't see how young people especially um
how they're taught you know the whole like stepping on toes is a good example you know i didn't know about stepping on
toes although i should have you know elvis had that song don't step on my blue suede shoes right
and but i did not know and i was in atlanta and i i was coming out and i was with
him i'm sad shacker and and i was coming out of uh the baggage claim and i felt a little
bump you know because i had one of those drag bags i felt a little bump but i didn't turn around i just thought i hid
something on the floor and i almost got killed by this guy who
thought that i did it on purpose i mean it was pretty intense experience but i think that state there are so many
people that are in that state of where their sense of dignity is is
so low as a human being and i and i i feel that at the root of
that is not knowing that they are a creation you know that
that that has this divine spark of life and that no matter what i mean
if you look uh you know at anger ecclesiastes says that anger uh is
is it you know be do not have the spirit of anger for it resides in the breasts of fools and i
think you know that's a powerful truth that what is a fool but somebody who doesn't
know who they are or where they're going i i yeah i totally agree i mean i look at you know
where we are is the culture of death uh you know in theological terms as you
know wading into these kinds of discussions in a relentlessly secular society especially
if you come out of the left as i do and you know religious prejudice is the last
acceptable prejudice in the left i have to tread very lightly because you know people are
uncomfortable now even in this society addressing these issues but i think that
tilik had it right that there are fundamental realities about human nature
and human society that can only be expressed in theological or religious terms
right but no i totally agree and
that is part of the rise of this kind of culture of
sadism um i mean really that's the best way to describe it
uh you know whether it's i mean we're a fortified society which of course as you know i've written about as you cited um
uh the the celebration of violence i mean all these a lot of these mass shooters spend a lot of time playing
these video games like call to duty i i may have it wrong i've never played a video game in my life but you know these
violent video games which models a kind of behavior but but
the whole gun culture becomes and violence becomes a way of self-empowerment
or a false kind of sense of self-empowerment when all the other avenues seem closed and of course we we
fetishize weapons in this country for that reason it's a myth but you know
they take away every other form of self-empowerment but we still have our arsenal my family's from maine i mean i
have neighbors in maine who have like one of them has 23 weapons in his house it's a false sense of empowerment but
it's it's why the second amendment is so contentious because
um take away that gun and every sense of empowerment is is gone you know it's interesting
there's i've been in societies where they all the men have weapons you know just
as a part of but but they rarely use them because they have such a profound sense of the sanctity of life
and again i think you know if you grow up watching apparently a a 15 year old has seen
about 18 000 murders uh on on television and and the way that they kill people
there's one of the most popular i don't know if it is anymore but when i read about it and i like you have never played one of these games but i did read
quite a bit about them uh during a period and one of the game most popular games is was auto theft
something auto theft and they had you got points for running over old ladies with grocery baskets and
they and they have one scene where the guy picks up a prostitute abuses her and
then literally beats her to death with with with a uh with a baseball bat
and and this is like a popular game that kids play
and and they are kids playing these games even though they're supposedly for 18 and older they all get them
you know so i i really i i feel like you know
iceland one of my favorite countries i don't know if you know a lot about iceland but
you know iceland they brought in that notorious anti-semite you know the chess player
um and and their view on it was anybody that can play chess that good we're going to ignore his politics this bobby
fischer bobby fischer yeah but but they actually outlawed it's one of the most
secular societies in the world and they outlawed pornography you know you can't sell pornography uh
because if they just saw it as a very destructive force and i think one of the things
about this country is that we really fail to look at the the social sciences that i mean for
instance pamela paul uh who wrote that book pornified and and i actually had her at ris you've been
there uh in canada one of the things that she found is that people that watched a lot of pornography over about
a 10-year period ended up in in pedophilic material like it was a natural progression or an unnatural
progression to because the the threshold for stimulation gets higher and higher and a
lot of a lot of them had self-loathing yeah well you know at the end of that
chapter in empire of illusion on porn i end it with these people who buy these silicon silicon dolls you know
that are these whatever they call them you know because for me porn is about necrophilia
it's about death it is about the death of the soul of the other woman um so you're right and and
and porn today doesn't bear any resemblance to porn of a few decades ago i went to kink.com
in the last book which is uh they used they've sold it but it used to be the old national armory in san francisco in
the mission district and you would live people live stream in and pay money to have women waterboarded beaten tortured
tied up and this isn't simulated this is real i really think we're in the grips of
demons and i think if we don't recognize that we're not we're not able to address it because it's only a supernatural
power that can get us out of this because i think the supernatural forces that are involved
are being denied by secularists they just they won't they won't entertain the reality of these things i think the
other problem is that uh you know within the society which is i
think you know was always an understanding of early religious leaders is that to achieve the moral or the
religious life takes incredible hard work and self discipline on a daily basis on a daily
basis yeah and and that's been lost and that that you all of us have these
proclivities within us that's part of human nature um you know there's a great
saying about pride the buddhists say we all have thoughts like that about ourselves but it doesn't mean we should
invite them to tea right and i think that's lost that these these forces that
act in a way to destroy us and that are within us and let's call them the demonic i think
that's a correct term they're there and if you don't work to guard against them
um then they can they can consume you
uh and and and this is why all of the great metaphysical writers i mean this is one
of my complaint with both liberal christianity and the evangelical movement is that these medical
metaphysical questions have largely been abandoned for
you know the the trivia i i had a professor who i liked very much he was talking about you know the
whole exploration of the gnostic gospels and he said well it's interesting but so
what and that's right so what because they're not the fundamental
questions that keep us on track and i wrote a book
actually on the ten commandments i read that book yeah i i wanted to call it the decalogue you know you know this prime
minister's story and it got before the marketing people at simon schuster none of them had heard of the decalogue so
i wrote they made me take it off i relented regretfully it's called losing moses on the freeway but but it the
those commandments are it's not that we don't violate them we we do i mean we're human but they're kinds of signposts
to keep us on the right road right and i think that the the great
metaphysical writers of all of the great religious traditions
were attempting to keep us on the right road and now we don't even know how to ask the question
because even within liberal christianity metaphysical questions are uh you know
have been largely uh sidelined or forgotten for this constant obsession over the
figure of jesus right um which isn't really important to me at all
right i mean i come out of the church tradition but it's not important the whole study of metaphysics
has has been really removed i mean i think in in the united states the dominicans might be the only people
that are really doing deep dive still into in into the
the whole apparati that one needed to know in order to study metaphysics logic is very important and and that
alone material logic takes a long time i mean i've tried to penetrate um john of
uh of uh saint thomas you know it's it's very difficult stuff and it traditionally took a lot of hefty study
i mean i the few metaphysicians that i know that are really really steeped in it have spent their life in it but
according to uh and and i think that's absolutely true according to all of our traditions
metaphysics was the archetectonic um
knowledge that was needed to navigate everything else because it goes to first principles and that's why i feel so much
in our you know thoreau said that for everybody that's that's uh uh for for for every one person that's
hacking away at the roots of a problem there are thousands hacking away at the bushes you know that going to the root
is is where metaphysics really comes in and that's where i feel like even anger
in our culture i just don't first of all i truly believe that the modern world in
in many ways is so unnatural the way people are living uh that it's causing a lot of uh
one of the it's causing a lot of trouble and one of the uh i think it was saint john uh
clematis who who he had perturbation perturbatio was was his translation
uh for you know what happens in the soul uh that uh you know these perturbations
you know this these disruptions in in our traditions they're called where people are so unsettled in their
being and and and the modern world is doing this to a lot of people the the pace of
life uh getting on the road uh i mean road rage is a very interesting phenomenon
you know but but uh when you when you have these people that are in these states of anger
it's it's quite understandable why these things would happen well you know i spent almost 20 years in war
so i watched what wrath does right and how
it begins with the dehumanization of the other of course but it rapidly becomes
you dehumanize yourself and there is an intoxicating quality about
violence i've seen it sure
but you don't walk away from that without deep scars
and that life of violence or life of wrath
is often unbearable so you that's why suicides are so high
uh among combat veterans in the united states and those are the suicides we count
there's all sorts of the other suicides through alcoholism or opioid
addiction uh and in that sense you're right that
those demonic uh forces or look at avarice or you know greed uh you know in the end what
happens and i and i went to boarding school when i was 10 as a scholarship student with the uber rich i mean these
weren't just the upper middle these were the richest people in the country
and uh their interior life was so deeply impoverished
and sad um and and they end their lives now as i get older i watch my classmates
who never had to work a day in their life uh i mean marx got it right they lived lives as
parasites um but they surround themselves with people who who tell them what to flatter
them and tell them what but secretly despise them internally can't stand them they're utterly friendless
uh and i think that you know that's why i like your idea of doing
the seven deadly sins or i think the seven thoughts are probably better evil
thoughts i think uh agrees called them um but it's right because
they they will consume you until there's nothing left and the only
uh bulwark against it is to
actively recognize our own capacity for
self-destruction or even evil this is why i think both of us like primo levy so much
and then fight against it it's that knowledge of our own capacity for evil
and then the the understanding that it's almost a daily battle
to push against us against it that saves us from being consumed by it and i'm often
criticized for being very dark as a writer coming out but coming out of places like
sarajevo or el salvador you know i've i've seen the worst of human atrocity but i think that it's it
is that knowledge that the line between the victim and the victimizer is razor thin
um and when you understand that then it's you you have
a more of an ability to guard against it so that you don't cross it it's when
you're not self-reflective when you externalize evil and you don't understand you know the
evil that we all carry within us um that you it's far you can you can succumb
it's far easier to succumb to evil itself you know i see you as playing an incredibly important
role it's a painful one to have to play but um i there's there's an interesting james
thurber you know the humorist he uh he met with uh vandoren mark van doren
on his on his farm up in in vermont and uh and he he was telling him how he was
going blind and and he was telling he thought that god was punishing him and he said why would you think that he
said because i've spent my life making fun of people and uh and vandoorne said you know i i would
see it absolutely as the opposite you've done a great social service by pointing
out the foibles of people so that we can laugh at ourselves which is very important and uh
thurber later said that he actually saved his life because he was contemplating suicide
um it's it's one of those the gift of consolation so i see i see your dark
side as the opposite like you know where thurber was using humor to point out something really important
for all of us to see i see you're you know you're doing something also
incredibly important because we i think we forget you know our parents
lived through uh nazi germany you know it's hard to believe it wasn't that long ago i mean i
have my friend dr eva bran uh who uh you know she she was told me stories i
mean she's alive in annapolis god gave her a long life but she told me stories of these nazi youth
terrorizing her on the way to school it just wasn't that long ago and i think people forget that and you've seen that
you saw it happen in sarajevo i mean these are much smaller examples of the same phenomenon where
where people are dehumanized and then and then anger is literally it's
cultivated in the hearts of people like there's a sowing of the seeds of wrath
and and then they're nurtured over time and then when they burst out everybody's shocked but it's that creeping villainy
that kierkegaard talks about of not seeing it i think one of the things in matthew um
it's in the fifth chapter you know math christ talks about that you've heard it said of old thou
shall not kill and if you murder then you'll be liable to judgment but i say
right there's a whole other standard i say that if you have anger
with unjust cause towards your brother you stand condemned and if you say raqqa
which is interesting is the arabic word as well you know like flimsy or foolish
and then he said you know then then you stand in judgment
and so he again he i felt like he's getting to the root of the problem because the murder started much earlier
with the seeds of calling somebody raqqa you know dehumanizing
it's it's gets to exactly what you were just saying um it i think it's a profound
psychological insight into where this all comes from well people are conditioned to kill
so you see it you know i spent seven years in the middle east and went into kuwait
in the first gulf war the first battalion first marines but the way that they referred to
the people who lived in countries like iraq were invariably
derogatory racial slur or ethnic slurs uh and
uh and and i think that one of the problems in you see it in gaza as well any time
you you you have a foreign occupation of another people uh this is true in iraq
true in afghanistan uh your enemy robert j lifton writes about this in terms of vietnam but you any time you leave the
perimeter which is this tiny base of security and even then that can be mortared uh everyone is the enemy and
your enemy is elusive in asymmetrical warfare so it's an ied it's an ambush and they melt away and
you start losing members of your own unit but there's almost no enemy to strike back against
and so you have this atrocity producing situation lift and calls it where
everybody becomes uh a legitimate target uh and
and i think that the other thing i found about war is that and i like anyone who spent a lot of time in where i struggle
with ptsd but i also know a lot of veterans and i think the worst
uh is not just the ptsd it's something i don't have thankfully but it is this moral injury it's what they did when you
really probe deeply it's about the children they killed uh you know it's because these weapons
are not discriminate uh once you start firing a belt-fed saw i don't know what the rounds are per minute 600 or
something there are a lot there's no discrimination at all right um
and i'm not sure you ever recover from that um or it's certainly very
hard to recover you can with with a deep spiritual well that you can draw from
and just to give an example i literally read yesterday um have you ever read megan's essay on
heracles no on heracles yeah on euripides play he
actually quotes you in it it's it's a great i used to have the in my freshman seminar i'd have them read that play
which is really about ptsd i mean that's his argument because he comes back from the war and and kills his whole family
in this kind of uh and and wakes up to find this horror but
you know megan talks about all the veterans watching this play you know and what that must have been
for them um but and and you've talked about you know the odyssey the 10-year journey
back after the war to your family but he quotes you in there talking about
you know the bond that men have this profound bond uh in war that that takes
place that really uh culminates in a kind of love that they have for one
another but then he follows that up by talking about what can happen
when the enemy that actually takes place with the enemy and there's a very
interesting i don't know if you saw the film the mauritanian but um this young man he's a mauritanian
muhammadu salahi i i was just literally on uh
zoom call with him and david wood who was his guard at guantanamo and they've become best friends
and and it was the it was the profound spirituality of this mauritanian that
transformed this guard in experiencing despite the
fact that he knew what was happening and it was horrible but he just he just saw
the humanity but also the deep spirituality of this person and it really had a massive impact on his heart
and so they they became very close and i think that's to me
the the optimism if i can say that or rather the hope a better word uh that that we can't overcome these
things i think it's possible i just was talking to this uh amazing man from
southern california um tobias who he was several years incarcerated for a
murder he didn't commit you know i mean in prison not you know every most people
admit while why why they're there you know they but there are innocent people that do end up there and uh and he was
genuinely innocent but he had no he took this kind of stoic approach
to being in prison and he was able to transform all of these inmates with his
attitude and his approach because he took a kind of i don't know if he
ever read boethius but it was a kind of uh an approach that somebody like boethius would take and i know somebody
also like that imam abu qadir al-amin who's amazing imam that was on death row in san
quentin and he was on death row for several years he never let it get to him and it was
because of his spiritual well that he was able to draw from and i think for me
that's what's been lost in our civilization and our culture and i think that's at the root of so much anger
because anger as you know the root of that angst is a sorrow right and and we
we know imam al-ghazali says there's a relationship between anger and sorrow he says anger will come
out with a somebody who has the power to take his retribution but if they're
powerless they become sorrowful so it's the same source it's really the same
emotion and he was able to transform that into something really positive
and now he actually became a an advisor to the california penal system
and the governor he got he got a pardon but um the the the warden at san quentin said
in all his years in in the criminal justice system he'd never seen a human being transformed like that man
solzhenitsyn writes about this in the gulag archipelago so the two groups that managed to endure maybe they don't
endure as distinct individuals but to endure spiritually are the chechens
and the christians those people who remain rooted in a deep
religious tradition are able to psychologically endure
in a way that the political prisoners often cannot
well what happened with muhammadu the man next door to him that they
ended up committing suicide he couldn't take it whereas muhammadu he despite that he went through torture he went
through waterboarding and this is over a period of years i mean it's pretty horrific
what happened to him but he you know he has an amazing spirit and i know where it comes from because i lived
with those people for over 10 years and and there you know he was he memorized the whole quran so he had access
to this spiritual well that he could drink from in the worst of conditions and i i just feel
if we don't restore that place of of uh
you know of of the theocentricity and the importance of it in a culture
however you want to call it i just i don't see any way out of this morass that no that's right then then you're
extinguished i remember i i knew i used to work in gaza and i wanted to
go spend uh several days in the refugee camp of honolunas which at the time was
controlled by hamas and i knew the head of hamas or ntc and i told him i was going and so he
called ahead and said you know leave him alone he's all right but i remember going through the refugee camp now
remember in in gaza you you're living 10 to a room there's no work there's nothing really there by which you have
that you can actualize yourself within the society other than your faith and it
was then that i understood the importance of praying five times a day because
everything up in their life had no structure but that gave them structure amazing and i could well i don't know
how it is today but i could walk through that refugee camp which i did at one or two in the morning and i was perfectly
safe uh and uh and so yes i think that
uh you know there is there are deep psychological and spiritual reasons
uh people in every culture have uh formulated religious systems uh to
essentially give them structure and meaning and with the rise of a secular culture
uh we have allowed the demonic to essentially seize complete and total
control and what's so frightening is that we don't even know it's demonic i i totally agree the palestinians are
an amazing example of people that do have a well to draw from both the christian and the muslim
in in those horrific conditions one of the things and and i'd like as we're coming to a close here one of the
things that for me uh the the the
the virtue that the countervailing virtue that uh
really is able to constrain anger is forbearance and patience
and and uh and and that goes under the moral virtue of courage
so it's very interesting that courage is is what counters anger it's not
courageous to get angry it's actually courageous to be able to suppress your anger and our prophet peace be upon him
said that it's the great the wrestler who can throw a man is not the strong man the
strong man is the one that can suppress his anger and there are so many verses one of the
most uh reiterated virtues in the quran is
patience and it seems to me that this age is an age that really demands that
spiritual practice the virtue of courage and from that the daughters of
courage uh of which include patience and forbearance and and
and just the idea of being able to to bear other people i mean god gave us
families for in order for us to teach teach that fundamental truth that we
need to bear other people because we don't choose our families and very often i don't think there's any family that's
not immune to the uncle or somebody they don't want brought to the dinner table
but they come anyway because home is the place where if you have to go there they have to
take you in as frost reminds us so i i feel like
if we don't restore the the place of virtue ethics
uh in our culture i just i don't see any solutions to this problem well we also diminish
or or we don't understand the power of the moral life
uh vastly grossman i think writes about this beautifully in life and fate that the power of kindness he calls it
simple human kindness and i saw that in eastern europe
in the revolutions that i covered where these figures like vaslav havel i was every night in the magic lantern
theater with hovel he'd been a non-person from since
charter 77 since 1977 until 1989 and yet his steadfastness
to that moral imperative to what he called living in truth gave him an authority that brought down
the communist regime of czechoslovakia and i you know i i was in venezuela
square was cold and snowy for all of those demonstrations half a million people and the great uh
czech singer uh marta kubasheva who had sung a prayer for marta which was the anthem of
defiance in 68 when the soviet tanks rolled in and overthrew duke check so after the soviets took
control and put in a puppet regime her she was banned from the airwaves a recording stock was destroyed
uh she worked on an assembly line in a toy factory and i was there when she walked
out on that balcony 500 000 checks she begins to sing a prayer for marta
and every check in the crowd knew every word and most of them hadn't even born
in and that is the power mandela had it on robben island you know that forbearance
that patience and essentially you know there were large numbers of guards apartheid regime
guards who were struck down by that moral force and
this again i know you admire solzhenitsyn as i do this is a constant theme of solzhenitsyn
and i think that in a secular society we've done many
things wrong and one of the worst is that we don't understand
the power of love and and that that power is one that can vanquish evil
if we have the courage to practice it that's what tobias was teaching what he called bold love
which is is really that kind of loving somebody who's really not worthy of your
love and and one of the interesting things about anger in the table of the seven deadly sins of
hieronymus bosch you know he has he has the two
one one's got a table on his head i think and the other one's brandishing a sword but it's the woman who's holding
him back and and i think you know there's something very profound in that
uh in that image that it is love that can overcome that
hate cannot overcome hate uh and that and that was i think dr king's
you know the power that he had of of love and and
um sheikh abdullah also that's something that he definitely
he emanates that and and people can feel it around him because
it's something that uh the spiritual power of it and not a kind of
you know agape right it's it's that deep spiritual love
that that we need more of and i think that's the only thing that can really
defuse a lot of these things it doesn't always work unfortunately with some people but
there are people that are completely disarmed by it i mean there are we you know our tradition distinguishes between
spirit demons and human demons and the prophet muhammad said that human demons were much worse
because they they have they have they can actually they have a type of volition and agency
in the world that the spiritual demons don't the spiritual demons can only suggest whereas the human demons actually can
impose their will on the material world you know i we could go on and i'm always
i always marvel at what you've done and where you've been and and the power that you can bring into a conversation
because of that experience and i've seen you do this many times it's very disarming
because so many people have have not seen what you've seen or been through what you've been through
and i think the palestinian you know the testimony that you've given to the palestinian people has just been so
powerful over the years because you know
despite the fact of unfortunately the leadership is is in all in all cases
everywhere is wanting deeply but uh the people as you know are just
they're just extraordinary people and uh just have a beautiful culture
we we're people of hope and uh you know it's it's
it's one of the great theological virtues that uh our our faith share a
lot of people don't know that you are a minister i hide it hansa i know
you know unfortunately um my experience because i went to catholic schools i was like you i was from a very
poor my immediate family was very poor but i came from a extended family that had a lot of wealth
but my mother was a working class mother and uh and i i had a opportunity to go
to a prep school so i went to school with the rich kids and i agree with you i was i was laughing about you saying
that they they're surrounded by these psychopaths who don't realize you know and dylan has
that great line you never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the crown clowns that all did tricks for
you yeah yeah it's there's a tremendous wisdom to them you know i i i go back to them and i and
i really do feel um that yeah that they're definitely
a wisdom even the six poisons in buddhism has four of the seven
so i think they're and pride is always you know traditionally they saw pride as
really at the root because i think anger a lot of anger comes from pride um one of the things that uh the prophet
muhammad said that if somebody gets angry that he should if he's standing he
should sit down and if he's still difficulty in one narration he says let
him put his cheek on the earth and and imam al-ghazali's commenting on
that in in his book called the 40 he says because
it's arrogance that makes us angry and and he said that putting your cheek
on the ground is to remind yourself that you are humus you are of the earth
and and and you should be like the earth everybody stomps on her
and yet all she gives is goodness yeah that's great
god bless chris all right it was great to see you take care you