A few days ago I was invited to visit the Museum of Tolerance in Beverly Hills, California, along with a group of teachers. We were led by a man who survived one of the death camps in Poland during World War II. We started on the third floor and then, in a counterclockwise direction, we descended the spiral down into the dark depths of the holocaust, where millions of people were cut down like unwanted weeds in the garden of a madman .
How did this horror of the holocaust begin? What were the symptoms that led to the most appalling human behavior imaginable? These were the questions at the start of the tour in human hell. The tour showed us how when a long-time smoldering intolerance of people and diversity finds a dry, despairing atmosphere bereft of hope, as was found in a depressed Germany, a conflagration is apt to erupt.
And what a fire! The incinerators burning 24 hours a day, day after day, year after year, ashes of bodies blown across the land in a most hideous smog. If I did not know better, or perhaps if I watched my family turn into ashes, I might say where the hell were You? Or do You even exist? Yet I do know better. Still the questions remain: How did this happen? Can it happen again? Where were You when all this was happening?
WHAT ARE WE TURNING OUR CHILDREN INTO?
While the museum does well at showing how intolerance of different peoples will eventually lead to persecution of the few by the majority when times become ripe for it, and how important teaching tolerance and honoring diversity will help prevent such a hell from happening again, as a Waldorf teacher I see our educational system as an enormous factor.
Down in that darkness, I heard the voices of men who spoke with such coldness about how to exterminate people, seeking to find out in a logical way the most expedient way to do so. I saw pictures of doctors with the coldness of a scalpel, who experimented on children in the name of science, without a hint of remorse, of feeling.
It reminds me of the stories that most people say is only psychological aberrations. Stories of large headed beings, with big cold black eyes, no nose, no mouth, heartless, sexless, limbs spindly, who think not on their own but in a group mind, who love to capture humans and operate on them. These beings have no understanding why these individuals make such a fuss over being abducted against their will and object to being a subject of an experiment. Even if it is for a good cause.
Some people say these are some sort of alien race, who have come to earth for their own agenda, perhaps trying to find a way to save their race from extinction. I have no idea if that is true or not. I see them not as aliens, God, I see them as a shadow from the future, cast by the children our educational system is creating.
Children in public education are pumped now from the age of kindergarten with in-form-ation. Forming these citizens into a limited thinking nation of beings who consume what comes to them. Only 'academics' are important in school now. Subjects such as art, music, physical education, home economics, etc, are either eliminated or nearly so in schools. They are not seen as important. Only gaining information to pass tests is deemed by politicians and text book makers as relevant. So what if teachers and students do not enjoy the many hours of drudgery. They need to get used to it; someday the children will become working members of society. Oh sure, there are a few gold stars and some plastic toys for good results, just like there will be raises and Rolex watches in times to come. Just be the best. Don’t fall behind the others in your class. Compete, compete, compete. After all, it's a competitive world out there.
And since this information is ungodly boring and tasteless, for it goes against the urgings of the soul, just like with fast food that needs MSG to create an illusion of taste to the palate, computers and televisions with their fast-paced images and thrills and whistles are utilized more and more to capture the attention of the child. And less and less does the child interact with a human being. More and more the child is plugged into the machine.
The head is pumped and pumped with images, the children's eyes wide with information pouring in until they become black, like black holes. They smell nothing. Say nothing. Just watch images. More and more they become numb. They become heartless. The masculine is diminished by eliminating activities that test strength and courage and loyalty and critical thinking; as well as the feminine, where nurturing, intuition and creativity is all but ignored. They are simply test takers getting ready to start their lives when they contribute to society as workers, making the dollar strong by their working hours. Androgyny of the mind. And since the masculine and the feminine are barely manifest, the adolescent desperately seeks to connect with them through sex; yet they have no social skills to go with the act. Our children are not taught to relate with humans. Get the best score. Past the tests. Our school, or state, or nation's prestige depends upon the scores.
The earth is forgotten. How to do things for oneself and for others is ignored. Their arms dwindle and become nothing more than spidery legs, to move upon the web of what the group weaves. And all who are different than they are nothing but prey if they get caught in that web, subject to the slicing of the scalpel.
These are the children we are creating, God. They are desperately trying to warn us as they shoot up their schools, their teachers, their peers. Our children are becoming aliens to us.
Going into that hell in the base of that museum, I came out so glad that there is still an educational system like Waldorf education, to offer hope to our children. Where education is seen as a life-long pursuit, to be kept alive by creating an atmosphere of respect and love, of tolerance for all cultures and peoples. Where the pillars of goodness, beauty and truth still stand strong. Where children are taught to think with their heart. I am so grateful, God, that each day I go to a school where we, the children and I, sing and play with colors and play with numbers and create sacred geometry and explore the ancient cultures.
THE PRIMAL CAUSE
And while our educational system is a great contributor of suffering on this planet, You remind me again and again, my All, my Self, that believing that we are but bodies, subject to birth and death, of the vicarious conditions that the world and circumstances have to offer, that we are here and You are there, is the root of all suffering. Yes, and when we remember that we can never be outside of You, Who is greater than space itself, we will act as such. And how can people feeling whole with You, remembering that they are simply, like everything else, a unique expression of You within You, create such horrors again?
We were told of Victor Frankl, who was interned in a death camp, who watched his loved ones disappear, who knew that at any minute a guard could come in and take his life away. He came to a point of either acting in a purely survival way of being, of the animal way of fight or flight, or to be something else. He realized then he would go for something else, and that something was love. He became aware that the guards could take away everything from him except love. And he began to love everyone, even the guards. He didn't survive-he thrived. He found freedom without conditions.
This is the secret to end such horrors. When we live in a society that values that way of being more than acquiring things and competing with one another; a society that wants their children to remember that they are part of and with All That Is, then instead of hell on earth, we will create heaven.
So where were You in all this, dear God?
Waiting to be remembered. Like with Victor, or those who hid the refugees, or the guards who would not shoot, or those whose heads were held high as they marched naked to the showers, or the soldiers who wept as they liberated the camps and carried lovingly these bags of bones who barely breathed.
Always you wait, my Friend, like the sun that shines upon all alike, no matter what they do upon the earth. You Who have all of eternity to wait. Humming in the morning stillness for all to hear if they would sit still. Humming in the evening for all those who lay down their day's cares.
Humming: I AM THAT I AM.
May all of us, dear God, be still and listen. That we may end such madness.