Sacred space

I just got finished reading this article, titled “Violence and Sacred Space,” on the Wild Hunt blog. The article is fairly well-written, and asks some important questions. One question I had throughout the article, though, and one that I don’t think was directly handled by it, was this: what would the world be like if everyone understood that all places and all people and all things are equally sacred? I say this as someone who sees things from the perspectives outlined in my essay, On Relative Being. The essence of Nature, the energy from Nature’s birth at what we call the Big Bang, is in all things that exist. Since I’m asking the question here, the least I can do is hazard a guess.

First, contrary to what many might think, I do not think the destruction would stop. I’m not naive, and I know my own life is owed to the forces that destroy as well as create. In fact, I see the two forces not as antagonists, but rather as two sides of the same coin we typically call existence. If we were to, however, all recognize the sacredness of all places and beings, I can’t help but think that the destruction that would still inevitably need to take place would be less of the wanton variety; and would also not be based on hatred and fear. I think it would also happen less often, that sacred places would be overrun and defiled because of the interests of another god – whether that god be one whose symbol is a holy book, or one whose symbol is a dollar sign. From my perspective, the gods are not the ones who are in competition with one another – I like to think they are above and beyond that very limited way of seeing the world – I think religious competition is something we have added to religion, and it will be for us to remove it.

When we acknowledge and accept the sacredness of all things in existence, we also drop any urge to compete for what is ‘more sacred’ than something else – we would be more inclined to look for cooperative solutions, rather than just start torching churches or forcing people off lands their people have been living on for thousands of years. A greater urge to understand all involved would exist. Yes, this would in many cases slow – or even halt – the progress of business or political interests in certain areas; but the world we now live in, with all of our wars, with our polluted waters and dangerous atmosphere, is a result of unimpeded political and business interests – slowing this down, especially if it came about as the result of everyone wishing to acknowledge the sacred in the worlds around and within us, could hardly be seen as a bad thing.

Yes, I understand that this scenario, as I’ve just outlined it, is somewhat utopian. It is also the result of trying to answer a ‘what if’ sort of question from a very specific perspective. It would also mean that we would have to regard as equally sacred those who have allowed their fear and hatred to overrule their humanity: we would have to look at what gives rise to their fears and their desperation, and we would have to do something about it. That might not be the most comfortable thing for us to do; but if we regard all things in existence as equally sacred, it would still be the right thing to do.

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