A Vast Trauma Can Become an Inspiration

Notes on the Sunday address by Dr Francis Macnab, 9 August 2015.
By John Abbate.

Peace Bell

“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”—Matthew 19:14 (KJV)

“I wanted to prove that humans are capable of something grander than war, prejudice, and hatred. I wanted to make science consider all the people: the best specimen of mankind I could find. I found that many of them reported having something like mystical experiences.”—Abraham Maslow, Psychology Today (1992)

Article 9 of the Japanese constitution forever renounces war and the threat or use of force in settling international disputes. “The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized,” reads the final sentence of Article 9. Could not every state, every nation, take its lead from these sentiments?

The recovery of Japan after WWII, after the United States of America dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is a beacon of resilience and strength for the world.

“We can remember the dead in two ways,” said Dr Macnab. “We can remember them with continued pain, suffering and un-forgiveness, or we can remember them with inspiration and continue searching for a better humanity…Hiroshima is no longer a city of sad victims.” It has been rebuilt into a beautiful city of resilience, vibrancy and growth. “Once damaged, it now carries the aspirations of its leading citizens to build a different kind of world.”

Dr Macnab sees the children of the world, how we treat them and teach them, as vital for overcoming destructiveness and ensuring the best possible future for humanity. He presented four points to consider in this regard:

  1. Every child needs a belief in themselves, developed through creative endeavour and constructive collaboration.
  2. We must celebrate the spontaneous, expansive resilience and spirit of creativity of children. Even after the most damaging tragedy and trauma, children have an enormous capacity to rise up out of their damaged state.
  3. Saving the world from destructiveness requires teaching children to be good human beings. Along with the usual academic subjects, the future depends on teaching children to listen to their inner spirit of creativity and collaboration, so that they may learn how to come together for mutual benefit and enjoyment.
  4. During the first ten years, every child needs a few things to help them embrace the best in life. They need to feel wanted; to be fed; to have parents committed to their best possibilities and development; teachers who are aware of their own awesome place in the development of children’s lives; they need to join in discussions and causes to enhance their humanity and grow their spirit as well as their body; they need to be exposed to emotionally healthy, healing environments.

“Inspiration awaits us. People rebuilt Hiroshima; children were inspired to sing, to paint, to draw and to dance. From our most troubling and terrifying and traumatic experiences, the pathways of inspiration forever await us,” said Dr Macnab. All it requires is the energy of self-worth, imagination and “the urge to step across the gulf that separates us from one another.”

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