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Moving the Veil

Moving the Veil Aside
Ron Baker

When we talk about PEACE we are actually talking about a way of being which — throughout all of history — mankind has never reached.

Perhaps we never had the right incentive to make PEACE happen. Or, perhaps, all the incentives rewarded the opposite of PEACE. That is, it could be that the rulers of the world have benefited from war and assorted “negative” human characteristics, e.g. hatred, bigotry, prejudice, ignorance, avarice, etc.

We just don’t know.

It’s also possible that we never arrived at a “tipping point” which might compel us to think about the advantages of being at PEACE.

But, consider for a moment that today we have arrived at that tipping point. We are here as a direct result of instant communications, the internet and social media. Further, our time might eventually be defined as the “revolution” when people throughout the world discovered that they shared more in common with one another than with their own leaders.

Add in just one of the socio-economic transformations which are already underway, the global move away from fossil fuel dependency toward sustainable energy, and we arrive at a truly momentous tipping point, the doorway to a new world. And, going forward, for the tipping point to blossom into economic benefits, if you will, means we must be at PEACE in order for the global marketplace to produce benefits. PEACE becomes an accidental, but essential, factor in the equation.

This tipping point has arrived not because humanity nor the rulers of humanity have changed. Rather, what is different from all of history are the “global circumstances” we find ourselves in today. They have changed. No longer are we isolated from one another, defining ourselves as citizens of certain nations / tribes or by a particular religion, race, ethnicity or even political party. Today, for instance, a person in China can text his sister in the U.S. The message is not necessary subject to preapproval by his or her national leadership.

The key point is that we have a chance to discover that those who live elsewhere have faces, too, and that “they” are like “us” rather than “they” are not like “us”. This means our world may be on the cusp of change toward acceptance and tolerance. Similar to the state of being called PEACE, the idea that “they” are like “us” is also new to humanity. Countless times humanity has fallen prey to our “they” are not like “us” or “us vs. them” state of being. At last we have a chance to free ourselves from this zombie-like addiction.

Finally, what we see emerging may in itself become another tipping point which pulls opens the veil for people to more clearly see themselves and others.

Author, activist and a founder of the Spiritual Progressive Movement, Peter Gabel has coined and explained this concept in his recent book, Another Way of Seeing: Essays on Transforming Law, Politics, and Culture (Quid Pro Books). Peter Gabel is a law professor and a founder of the critical legal studies movement, a marriage and family therapist, author of The Bank Teller and Other Essays on the Politics of Meaning, editor-at-large of Tikkun, co-creator of the Noe Valley Farmers Market in San Francisco, bass player in The Central Park Zoo, partner of union organizer Lisa Jaicks, and father of Sam.

The extract below was cited in a recent posting at

Gabel explains, “…human beings actually exist in a psycho-spiritual world in which they seek not primarily food, shelter, or the satisfaction of material needs, but rather the love and recognition of other human beings, and the sense of elevated meaning and purpose that comes from bringing that world of intersubjective connection into being. Of course the satisfaction of material needs is indispensable to our physical survival, but please see that our survival is different from our existence—our survival is the background, the indispensable precondition of our existence, and if it is threatened we can be driven to whatever extreme is necessary to preserve this existence. But our existence itself is a manifestation of our social being that a) is fully present to itself and others, and b) exists only by virtue of our relation to the presence of others as the source of our completion.”