Paris & Getting off the Mishnory Road - By ELEN SENTIER
I’ve been too disgusted to be able to write or become involved in the aftermath of the horrific
bombings and killings in Paris until now. I don’t feel putting the Tricolour over my picture on
Facebook is any better – yes I feel deeply for the people of Paris but I can’t say I’m pro-them
because that infers that I’m anti-others!
So much racism and anti-racism … just like the Montagues and Capulets in “Romeo &
Juliet”, hating each other, blaming each other, and so continuing the fight, upping it even.
And like Cameron wanting to bomb Syria as well as Iraq, perhaps he’d like to “Nuke ‘em til
they glow” (to quote an ex-US president of 30 years ago). None of which does the least use, it
only helps the state of hate to continue.
We can’t change this by them/us, either/or. We can only change this by and/and. We have to
learn to include not exclude and try to destroy!
War is about ownership and property. My country! My religion! My house! My child! My
property! Mine is best! Mine! Mine! Mine!
The follow-ups to this are “You must be like me”, and “I want your property!”
You know, we’ve been like this since some twat invented farming 10,000 years ago! Before
then we knew that we owned nothing but were able to work with everything, to everything’s
mutual benefit. Then, through farming and fields and houses and crops, we told ourselves we
“owned” things. The concept of “mine” grew out of proportion and has been inflating itself
more and more ever since.
We lost our self-confidence with this. Think about that. Do you fear what is different to you?
Even if you try to kid yourself that you’re a “rational being”? Indeed, thinking yourself to be
a rational being, with all the honorifics of social acceptance that includes, is part of the
problem. Most people need to be liked, they get upset and anxious and freaky and edgy and
all the rest if they fear they’re not liked. Yikes! What a state of affairs, needing to be liked by
everyone and everything! It won’t happen, it cannot happen, it’s just not possible … and it
makes you unable to see clearly! But a huge percentage, majority, of the world’s human
population needs this so very badly.
And … this need makes you easy to control! Your kid wants a new, smarter phone because
her/his mates at school have one … so you rush out and spend £500 on one so yo0ur kid
doesn’t get pushed out of their social circle! Ditto, clothes, iPads, games, bikes, blah blah
blah! You watch adverts on TV, you see this woman/man looking sleek and sexy with their
new clothes, kettle, perfume, car, washing powder, etc, etc, etc, and you want to look like
that, be sexually sought-after like that, so you buy the crap! You’re still fat and forty and not
in a romantic relationship … the crap has made no difference whatever, but the next thing
you see you buy it too.
Then there’s politics! Arrrrgghh! The politicians talk you up – just like the ad-men do –
promising you all that you desire and you believe. You want fairyland. You desperately want
everything to be all right!
And so we’re back to Paris again …
ISIS want everything to be all right, their version of all right. Cameron wants everything to be
all right, his version of all right. You want everything to be all right, your version of all right.
And where does this get you? Any of you? Nowhere, except into conflict because I only feel
all right when everyone else likes the same all right as me!
Urusla K Leguin wrote a lovely little piece in her wonderful book, “Left hand of Darkness”
… “They say here “all roads lead to Mishnory.” To be sure, if you turn your back on
Mishnory and walk away from it, you are still on the Mishnory road. To oppose vulgarity is
inevitably to be vulgar. You must go somewhere else; you must have another goal; then you
walk a different road.” And we must not oppose but go somewhere else!
By opposing violence we continue to feed its existence – can you see that? If you turn your
back on violence, on racism, on hatred you are still on their roads, you still encourage
violence and hatred and racism! You, we, must go somewhere else, we must have a new
Peace is what I hear many of you saying, “We want peace!” and you sound very desperate in
your wanting too. You probably don’t even have a very clear definition of peace either. It’s
no good wanting to be at peace with everything if you’re not at peace with yourself and being
at peace with yourself means accepting yourself. That’s often easy to say but very hard to
follow-through and do fully. Do you accept that you may want to kill a paedophile? Or
someone who hurts animals? Or anyone who does something that rips your gut apart? If you
can’t be at peace with that part of yourself, if you try to cut it out, eliminate it, then you’re
still on the Mishnory road. You haven’t learned the lesson. You have to accept all of the
things within you that your upbringing and conditioning have told you are “bad” and
“unacceptable” and mean that you will be excluded from your social set.
Oh that’s hard!
But without we all do this, get there, accept how awful we might be, then there is no way we
can be at peace with ourselves because we are continually afraid we’ll slip into something
It’s hard in another way too. Those of us who get there, succeed in being able to live without
always being loved, also become intractable politically as well as socially. We become
uncontrollable. We question everything, we argue, refuse to believe what politicians,
advertisers, big business, etc, tell us … and we may well protest in great numbers about this
too! That never goes down well with governments!
But it really, truly is the only way to attain peace. We cannot make other people do this, we
cannot force anyone. Oh they may mouth the words and fake the actions but inside they’ll be
seething against us, we will have created yet more turmoil by trying to make them like us.
The US of A take note! One person’s dream is not another’s.
So we may well not like whoever it is who is not like us. Fair enough. There really isn’t any
need for us all to hug and love each other. That is most certainly not what peace is. We can
dislike each other just fine … and nobody be the worse off. So let’s get our personal acts
together, each of us, and learn to accept just how nasty we each could be under some
circumstances; let’s accept that we don’t like, let alone love, everybody and that our circle of
likes might actually be quite small … and that’s OK. Let’s learn that we don’t have to gain
approval from everyone around us, including the boss at work! Sheesh! That’s going to upset
a load of apple-carts if the boss can no longer blackmail us into saying/acting what s/he
For that’s what all this is about, blackmailing each other to behave as we wish! Neatly
hidden, isn’t it, under what are called rational social mores and acceptable behaviour, healthy
relationships, etc, etc!
And it all comes of believe that “mine”, “my own”, “ownership” and “being like me” is a
good thing. Ye gods, we’ve one helluva way to go, haven’t we?
The first thing is to get off the Mishnory road … have a new goal, a new place to go. Let’s do
by Elen Sentier