SPIRITUALISM AND VIOLENCE – GRIEF AT SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL:
In U.S. history, the second-deadliest school shooting took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut during the beautiful morning hours on Friday, December 14, 2012. The killing of 20 school children and other adults will force us to reflect upon human nature.
AGGRESSION AND HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS:
Among animals, man has the ability to kill members of his own kind for reasons other than that of food, territory, and reproductive success. However, I do not consider that aggression is innate to human nature. The thought to commit an act of violence may enter the human mind because of an external, environmental stimulus. For an infectious agent to enter human body and cause a diseased condition would require a degree of susceptibility to that infection. A person who is not in proper relationship with his own self, and with others is susceptible to be taken over by harmful emotions such as anger that generates the desire to commit an act of violence. The gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School could be described as a victim of his inability to formulate harmonious relationship both at personal level and interpersonal level. Mental Health involves the ability to develop harmonious social relations. In my view, the basis for external, harmonious, social relationships begins at a personal level; the ability to define one’s relationship with oneself.
THE SPIRITUAL BASIS FOR HUMAN EXISTENCE:
This act of violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School illustrates man’s estrangement or alienation from his true or real nature. I would like to reinforce the fact of the spiritual basis for human existence. In life, or death, man needs the mercy, grace, and compassion of his Creator. Man does not exist in this physical world because of his intellectual, or physical effort. It is a good time to explain the dependent nature of human existence and invite peace, harmony, and tranquility in the living condition by accepting the Divine Providence with a sense of respect and humility. The act of acceptance of Divine mercy, grace, and compassion generates the emotion called ‘devotion’ which provides a sense of comfort and makes the person stress-resistant, and imparts the ability to overcome the feelings of fear, and the sense of grief generated by the loss of life.
GRIEF AND COMPASSION AT SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL:
It is human nature to respond to grief with feelings of compassion. I describe, that human nature is constituted by the principles called ‘spirit’, and ‘soul’. In ‘spirit’, man seeks freedom, and with ‘soul’, he establishes the dependence that supports the human existence. The violence, and aggression that we have witnessed is a response to an external environmental stimulus. Man betrays his own true nature or fails to recognize his real self; and this sense of estrangement or alienation from reality leads to behavior that destroys peace, harmony, and tranquility in man’s interactions with others in his environment. This gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School had utterly failed to defend his own freedom as he got alienated from his own ‘spirit’ and had failed to recognize his own ‘soul’ that sustains his existence. This loss of freedom had caused him to end his own existence using the same gun with which he had attacked others.
Rudra N. Rebbapragada,
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.