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"Wars! Wars! I want more wars!"
(Max Ernst. The Angel of the Household, etc. Source)
Satan loves warfare like some kids love ketchup: everywhere, all the time, and lots of it. Whether it's a war between husband and wife, or boss and employees, or Christians and Muslims, or Francophones and Anglophones, he doesn't care. Satan has just never seen a war he didn't like.
How then does Satan start wars, and when they are started, how does he stoke them until they burn like Hell? I claim that it is by fitting special eyeglasses to all the participants, the Warmaker's Bifocals.
These special eyeglasses are a strange kind of bifocal. Here is a partial list of the optical illusions these special eyeglasses cause:
2.1) Virtues and vices are masked or enhanced. When you look through these special Warmaker's Bifocals, you see other people's vices very clearly, but not their virtues! And when you look at yourself with these special eyeglasses, you see only your virtues but not your vices.
2.2) Actions are inflated or deflated. When somebody does something, you will see their good actions as being tiny (as if you were looking through the wrong end of binoculars), and their bad actions as being huge (as if looking through the binoculars correctly). The optical illusion will reverse itself when you look at your own actions.
2.3) Intention overrides the action. If you look at yourself committing a sin (for example cheating on your Income Tax return), you won't see the action (Theft), but you will see some distorted good intention (like having more money to buy presents for the kids). If on the other hand you look at somebody else doing something good (for example, giving money to the poor), you won't see the action clearly (almsgiving), but you will see a mirage of a bad intention, for example that this person is giving alms just to be "holier than thou".
2.4) Selective vision of individuals in a group. If you look at a group of people (with whom you don't agree) with these special bifocals, you will only see the bad extremists in the group, not the good moderates.
2.5) Magic "Rumor-Vision" feature. These special eyeglasses even have a very advanced feature which lets them see non-existent sins committed by others.
When the Warmaker's Bifocals are used in politics, then often result in a situation called a "Partial Truth Deadlock". After splitting the population in two large groups (like the Republicans and the Democrats in the USA) and fitting Warmaker's Bifocals to their leaders, Satan makes sure that each of the two groups defends some important truths. In the USA for example, we could say that the Republicans are right to condemn abortion, same-sex unions, excessive government intervention, etc. The Democrats on the other hand are right to condemn the US Industrial-Military Complex, attacks on the environment, tax breaks for the rich, excessive relationships between Church and State, etc. Since both sides are partially right and partially wrong, they will eternally fight each other, like a perverse "Yin-Yang" balance that harms the country whoever happens to get elected.
If you want to see some examples of the effects of Warmaker's Bifocals, pick up a newspaper. Just the other day, after some sick terrorists had bombed some poor civilians in Israel, a newspaper had a huge picture of a Palestinian man holding a large knife over a Koran, and the corresponding article waxed at length about some Palestinians rejoicing over the killings. No mention was made of all the Palestinians who are disgusted with these terrorists, or the Muslims who are insulted at the use of the Koran to justify crimes. I'm willing to bet the same thing sometimes happens in the Arab press, when the Israeli army kills some Palestinian civilians; it's probable that no mention is made of the Israeli soldiers who refuse to serve in the occupied territories, or the peace marches in Israel, opposing these military operations.
I remember that during the last Referendum on Quebec's sovereignty, at some point of time some Anglophone morons had publicly burnt a flag of Quebec (or was it francophone morons who had burnt a Canadian flag?). What is certain, is that zapping between the English and French news channels that evening, you could see the insulting video footage over and over again on the channels of the language of those insulted, but on the channel of the "insultees", there was mostly footage about people saying they were sorry about this bad behavior.
Unfortunately, the effects of the Warmaker's Bifocals are quite noticeable in radio shows, TV programs, newspaper articles, casual conversations between people chatting on the phone, even books and historic monuments! If you make a small effort to listen, you will hear the dark and bloody symphony of war, with Satan conducting the Winds of wicked rumors, the Brass confessing other people's sins, the Strings harping in praise of our own virtues, and the Percussions beating the pulse of vengeance.
What then can we do to fight the literally satanic effects of the Warmaker's Bifocals? There are roughly three kinds of remedies: supernatural, natural, and ancillary. The main supernatural medication is the Sacrament of Confession. Even if you are not a Catholic, the power of this medication seems obvious: you have to make an effort to discover your sins, all of them, even the most secret ones. You not only have to discover your sins, but also gain clear knowledge of them (What was the sin exactly? How many times did you commit it? What were the circumstances?). After that, you have to detest these sins more than anything else, and confess them to somebody else (in this case, a Priest).
Even if you forget for a moment the most important aspect of Confession, i.e. the supernatural grace that flows from the Sacrament to forgive your sins and heal your soul, you still get good practice at seeing your own bad actions clearly. In other words, you directly counteract the perverse effects of the Warmaker's Bifocals.
The main natural remedy is plain old critical thinking, also known as good Philosophical Science. An introduction to Philosophical thinking can be found here, in the essay called "The Philosopher's Glove".
Some ancillary remedies are:
5.1) Read, don't watch TV. Just like you can't fit 10 kilograms in a 1 kilogram bag, you can't fit solutions to complex social problems in a 30-second TV report.
5.2) "Audiatur et altera pars". This roughly means "The other side of the story must also be heard". Try to avoid judging without having given the other side a chance to defend its position.
5.3) "Quod gratis affirmetur, gratis negatur" In other words "What is asserted without proof, can be denied without proof". Get into the habit of asking for proofs, when somebody claims so-and-so did such-and-such a nasty thing. You'll be surprised at the amount of totally unfounded accusations floating out there.
5.4) Qualify your assertions. Instead of saying things like: "All your assertions must absolutely be qualified", try to say things like: "It seems to me like it's a good idea to qualify one's assertions".
5.5) Before arguing about anything, find common ground. No matter how controversial the topic, it is possible to find some common ground, a set of statements shared by both parties.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."
Let's help bring about World Peace. Let's step on our bifocals today!
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