War and Peace and Christmas

Peace continues to be elusive yet these stories give hope.

Psyche and Spirit/Richard B. Patterson PhD

Plato once said “Only the dead have seen the end of war”. A dismal observation yet a cursory study of human history reveals that somewhere in our world someone is at war. The Christmas wish of “peace on earth” seems to be only wishful thinking.

In my years working with veterans, I have seen that those veterans have particular difficulty if in some way they came to see “the enemy” as simply another human being. Yet making those connections is where we find hope. Hope that the human spirit is big enough to be able to rise above differences, big enough to resist the pettiness of leaders, big enough to consider that the man or woman bearing a weapon on “the other side” is also a child of God.

There are a few historical events that give me hope. After the fall of Richmond, President Lincoln was touring a hospital…

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About richp45198

I am a clinical psychologist and have an abiding interest in matters spiritual.
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2 Responses to War and Peace and Christmas

  1. SUSAN J BASS says:

    Yes, the man (or woman) on the other side bearing a weapon is also a human being. I knew one Vietnam veteran who was a psychologist and was haunted by the memories of “bombing their villages” knowing that some of them were not even carrying a weapon. At the same time I think it is overly generous to consider all enemy combatants to be children of God. Some of them have clearly defected to the other side. The more concerning point is the one which Viktor Frankl raised, and that is, “No one has the right to do wrong, even if wrong has been done to him”. If we see the enemy as less than ourselves then we can justify anything including torture. It is also true that Frankl would have perished in the concentration camp if not for the US forces who freed him and the other prisoners. My father said that the sight of the American flag would bring tears to his eyes. It has never had that impact on me but then I have never shed my blood for it.


  2. Michele says:

    Thank you Rich for this beautiful reminder that even as war rages on somewhere, there is a child of God in every person and this gives us hope. Merry Christmas. ❤


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