10 Ways to Understand this World of Violence, and how to Begin to Heal

Here are 10 of the key concepts that guide my writing/teaching on how to understand living in this world of violence, and how to transform this world and build another with more beauty, justice, and truth-telling.

1. We collectively dissociate massive amounts of structural violence everyday.

2. People who hold trauma in their bodies do immense unnamed labor, and also have immense unrecognized knowledge of these systems of abuse. 3. I see all trauma as, to some degree, inter-generational and historical — in the sense that the violence keeps being re-enacted. The violence we are witnessing to this weekend is centuries old. 4. We need to not only heal the hate that we are seeing manifesting all around us, but why it is that we have come to dissociate massive amounts of structural violence. 5. We dissociate for very different reasons. Some of us, who hold trauma, dissociate because there isn’t a social system to recognize the labor and knowledge we hold. Others dissociate to hold onto control and power. And, because identities are complex, it is often a mix of both within the self. That complexity is part of what makes this work so hard. 6. I see violence as not fundamentally about one group of people, but rather a human issue. I see humans as actually *one* — we are like lots of cells inside something alive, like a microbiome in the gut of the universe, and for some reason we have yet to figure out we are one. 7. While I see violence as human, the particular forms of violence we are seeing right now our rooted in specific histories of the rise of “Europe” as a western power, and then the rise of the US as an imperial power. That history is driven by the creation of something called whiteness, which is a system of racial hierarchies rooted in dominant forms of patriarchal western Christianity. It is a deathly system. It formed the basis of western capitalism. 8. Christendom (in Europe) had a system of violence internal to it that it then exported in its rise to global power. That system did immense harm to women, Jews, Muslims, Roma, Slavs, and the Irish within the formation of this geography we now call Europe. That system then became a system of western colonial control on a global scale. The entire nationhood of the US is built into that violence. 9. We have not healed this system of racism, patriarchy, Christian hegemony (which enacts antisemitism and Islamophobia), and white settler colonialism. A dominant “we” has dissociated this system, and tries to coerce us into more dissociation. That form of dissociation is to perpetuate status quo violence. 10. Coming out of our multiple forms of dissociation is hard and scary, with different forms of labor dependent on the trauma-knowledge that you carry. I believe that we need the fullness of our creativity to do this work. I see our creativity as alive, connected to God and everyone one of us, like a cord of light connecting every living being pulsing in this universe. I see creativity as a healing force. I believe that it helps us integrate all the fragmented pieces of ourselves and our suppressed, entwined generational histories aching to be recognized and healed. I believe that creativity actually can draw us out of our collective dissociation.

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