Mirror image

BBC News report:

An Austrian atheist has won the right to be shown on his driving-licence photo wearing a pasta strainer as “religious headgear”. Niko Alm first applied for the licence three years ago after reading that headgear was allowed in official pictures only for confessional reasons. […] The idea came into Mr Alm’s noodle three years ago as a way of making a serious, if ironic, point.

James Alison, in his essay Love Your Enemy: Within a Divided Self:

However, one of the things we pick up from our social group with astonishing ease is enemies: the one who is not like us and by comparison with whom we know who we are. What we do not realise of course is that the moment there is comparison, the other is already inside me as part of my identity-building kit. In the act of thinking that I am defending myself against becoming such a person, I am already giving free rental space inside me to the person “whom I am not like”. And the more attention I give to that person or group being wicked, and not like me, the more I allow myself to be fascinated by the evil of that person, the more I give that person or group permission to dance around inside me outside my control.

What other people will notice is that I have become the mirror image, the enemy twin, of the evil that I am fighting against. I, however, cannot recognise this. And this is not because I am stupid, or haven’t studied enough, but because my conscious “I”, the one which “knows” things, is a symptom of the pattern of desire which runs me, and symptoms have no direct access to their causes.

Just sayin’.

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2 Responses to Mirror image

  1. Matt J. says:

    I know it’s not as cool to quote Bono anymore, but:

    “Choose your enemies carefully ’cause they will define you.”

  2. Hi, read your blog and the post “Mirror image” which I have quoted on my blog. I have followed your instruction to include a link back to your excellent blog. Hope that’s okay. I love the quote about loving your enemy.

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