By Rabbi Mark Borovitz
"I will do everything in my power to destroy everything I cannot have." These are the words of Elliott Rodger, the young man who destroyed the lives, sanctity, and safety of people in Isla Vista, California. What a sentence of terror. What a sentence of sickness. What a sentence of death this is! Yet, no one stopped him. We are living in a time of great peril. There is a vacuum of Spiritual Health in our time that is being overlooked because of all of the religious people speaking. Not just the religious people, everyone who is a Populist, a Libertarian, a Democrat, a Republican, everyone who has a ONE WAY view of the world and how to cure what ails us, is delaying our search for Spiritual Health, I believe.
I don’t have the answer to how to stop an Elliott Rodger. I am not blaming his parents, which is the easy way out. I am not blaming society; I am not blaming or shaming anyone or any entity. I am looking for solution. In looking for solution, we can’t blame! We have to come together and look for how to do things differently so the same things don’t keep happening. Yet, the ONE WAYERS decry any and all change, unless it is change their way. This is brilliant. It has worked so well to keep guns easily available. It has worked so well to not make sure someone has training on how to use a gun. We make kids go through a lot of hoops in order to get a driver’s license, yet no hoops to know how to use and care for guns. Lets make training mandatory in order to buy a gun, no matter how many you own, each time a refresher course is needed with questions that will indicate who else may be able to get to the guns, the mental state of the person, etc. This is just a thought, a stab at a solution. Maybe one of you wants to add your ideas/thoughts and together all of us can practice Collective Wisdom rather than the Collective Folly we have been engaged in.
AND this doesn’t bring a solution to the opening statement in this blog. I see this Spiritual sickness daily in my work with people seeking recovery. I see Spiritual sickness as the root cause of addiction, hatred, prejudice, etc. This spiritual sickness begins early on when we don’t realize that we are not supposed to HAVE EVERYTHING we want. This is the BIG LIE of all times, not just now. Yet, we continue to tell ourselves this lie and get enough people to go along with it and…the whole world gets infected. And we are. The words of Elliott Rodger should be haunting all of us. They are not new; many of us have felt like destroying the people, places and things that we can’t have, yet want. This is not a strange thought. So, the thought itself is not the problem, it is what we do with the thought. Each of the ONE WAYERS has their own solution that they know is right, and, as we can see, this doesn’t work.
This attitude, by the way, comes out in many different ways, i.e. the way we don’t care for the poor, the widow, the stranger and the orphan, the way we buy elections with lies and rhetoric, the way our leaders serve agendas and masters, not the whole and the spirit of our country, the way our religious leaders need to be right and don’t show their true selves to their congregants, rather they try and stand above and condemn. All of these lies and subterfuges help create an atmosphere where hating others because ‘I don’t have’ seems okay.
I read with great interest about Dr. Dre selling his company to Apple this week. I have listened to people who are jealous of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. Why be jealous? I think that it is great that they are joining with Apple to create a greater company. I think it is great that they “made a deal” that will care for them and their families for generations to come. I am happy for them. I am happy for the people who win the lottery, I am happy for the people who make it in the world. I am not jealous because, while I would like to be more financially secure, I am SPIRITUALLY SECURE. I don’t need what someone else has to be okay; I need to be okay with what I have. I don’t have to be jealous and Covet what others get/have, I need to want what I have and give it away.
When all of us appreciate what we have, want our own lives, and live life with purpose and meaning, jealousy goes away. The need to destroy goes away, the desire to build and help rises up. There are many ways to make this happen and for each of us the path is different. Lets find ways to open these paths to Spiritual Health for ourselves and others. Lets stop destroying the hopes, opportunities and joys of others with our jealousy and hatred. I would love your thoughts on how to accomplish this goal of Spiritual Health.