Agape: In Search of Universal Love
from the novel, The Lodging for the Rose
Rolf. A. F. Witzsche
Story 24 - Queen of the New Law.
Story 24 - Queen of the New Law.
To judge by the way our two Chinese ladies interacted with Steve, it was plain to see that they had a great respect for Steve and for Ushi. They called him Doctor Steve. Also, his being German had opened their Chinese hearts, especially since he and Ushi had worked for years in the background with the Chinese government to advance Chinese trade relationships with Germany in a partnership for technological infrastructure development. Our ladies were proud of Steve's work in support of China. This admiration, evidently didn't extend to the rest of us, who had just arrived from America. America was looked upon with ever growing distain throughout the country, for its political arrogance towards the whole world, but especially so towards China that had been officially put onto America's nuclear weapons target list. The only element that stood in our favor was our status as refugees and our friendship with Steve. They saw us as victims of a system that had also victimized their country. They looked upon us with compassion, a kind of passive tolerance, rather than an active affection. My hope was that they would respect us some day for our commitment to free America from its imperial entrapment, which had destroyed America's beautiful heart and replaced it with a fascist stone.
In order to address the tensions, Steve arranged for us an open confrontation meeting with the students and faculty of the university in Wuhan, which our Chinese ladies had 'grown up' in. This daring exercise also became our Chinese ladies' first official engagement in the public arena are our interpreters.
I expected a fire storm of emotional insanities to break out, at such a confrontation, filled with hatred of American policies. Steve just laughed when I told him about my fears.
"It's your task to make sure that doesn't happen. You're the diplomat, and an experienced scientist with a discipline in thinking that they know nothing about," he said. "I told you in Leipzig, that love alone fills your glass, and it must be running over and flood the world. Now is the time."
The meeting was convened on a Wednesday evening at the main auditorium. All of us were put on the panel. Steve opened the meeting by introducing me as a victim of American political persecution. He called me a very dangerous man, to the West, that is.
There I stood, facing a Chinese audience, unable to speak Chinese, much less fluently. Apparently, this was not a barrier for them. I heard shouts of terrorism from some people in the front row, "military terrorism, financial terrorism, etc."
"I don't blame you for being angry at me," I called back. "But, my friends, you are falling into the same trap that America fell into, by attacking me with hateful words. You cannot solve hate with hate, or terrorism with terrorism, as half of the world intends to do," I said to the hecklers in as calm a manner as I was able. "The governments of the world can't end the killing of human beings with more killing, no matter how deeply they believe this to be possible. They have become trapped into a cycle of violence which is contradictory to their very own nature, but which they lack the mental resources to escape from."
Someone shouted back that I didn't really believe this. He insisted that our western culture was totally centered on revenge. The man stood up while he spoke and explained that the "eye for an eye" mentality is fundamental to western culture, as it is rooted in its very foundation, the Mosaic Decalogue. "You are not just caught in a trap. Violence is a part of your culture," he shouted angrily.
When it became quiet enough again for me to speak, I explained that the "eye for an eye" policy was not a part of the Decalogue at all, but appears to have been added as an after-statement that was apparently designed as a warning of what will inevitably unfold if the Decalogue is not understood. I described the Decalogue as an escalating statement of principles without which civilization cannot exist.
I explained that the Decalogue sequence is a sequence of demands; each of which relates to a fundamental principle; all of which are ordered in the sequence of difficulty, for them to be understood. I suggested that the first demand, not to kill one another is actually the easiest of them all. It reflects the active principle that defines every human being as a worthy member of society, as a human being with the capacity to create, to produce, and thereby to enrich our human world. The recognition of this principle then sets the stage for the second demand, that one does not break the honorable bonds that unfold between human beings. The active principle, here, is the universality of love. I said that this principle is not easily acknowledged, but needs to be acknowledged. I other words, love cannot be limited, or else it would violate the first principle of the universality of human worth. I told them that the next demand, which is not to steal, has an underlying active principle that is even more difficult to implement. This principle demands one to actively enrich one another's existence. I suggested that if this isn't done, people literally steal from one another, and thus they destroy the vital element that makes our human world a rich place in an otherwise empty and cold world. In political terms, this principle is reflected in the general welfare principle that should be enshrined in the constitution of every nation to guide its policies.
(c) Copyright 1998 -
Published by Cygni Communications Ltd. North Vancouver, Canada