Animal Writes
3 October 2001 Issue
Time For A New Paradigm

by [email protected] 

Many of you have written, have called to express your concern, your solidarity with us, New Yorkers and all Americans, during this sad time of loss, of grief and mourning. The devastating and tragic blow suffered by thousands of innocent people....Americans, as well as others from countries all around the world, has forever scarred our souls. We can never be the same. But if we believe, as many do, that there is a reason for everything that happens, then we must not squander this moment in history, or surely it will become nothing more than another page in a history book.

Towers of steel have crumbled, thousands of innocent lives have been lost; the tribute to them must not simply be further destruction and the venting of anger with retaliation and revenge for surely, that will only continue the horrific cycle of violence. Albert Einstein said that we cannot solve a problem at the same level of thinking that was used to create the problem. We have a unique opportunity to bring about change, to help our society evolve to a higher consciousness. How can we stay focused and committed to the task at hand? How can we bring about a shift in thinking, a change of perception and being in the critical mass? How can we create a new paradigm for the way we relate to one another and the rest of the world? For those of us who fight for human and animal rights, we know this is the sine qua non.

There are no easy answers to the question "how do we do it?" But if we ask "how do the firemen do it? how do doctors, soldiers, foreign correspondents in a war zone do it?" we realize that they do it, that you and I do it, with a courage and conviction that comes from deep within, because the message, the action, the instinctive wish to save from harm, be it in helping an individual or in changing the world, is greater, is more important than our own pain and fear. And sometimes it requires sacrifice. But there can be no time or place for moral exhaustion or self-pity... that would sap us of all the energy we need to go on. We must of course, take time to grieve, to mourn, to protect ourselves and seek justice, but then we must keep our eye on the bouncing ball, remember our goal and keep focused on how to achieve it. Unfortunately, that's how the terrorists do it! And we can do it too...but with love and compassion that will overcome evil...because that is the true calling and inner desire of the human spirit. Vengeance and retaliation are primitive and barbaric impulses that only lead to more destruction and despair... so many innocents are made to suffer and for what? Think of Ireland, of Israel, of Bosnia, of Rwanda....! There can be no place in an evolved society for ethnic cleansing, for religious crusades, for holy wars, for business and politics as usual.

I believe we must make a concerted effort to concentrate and focus all our spiritual energy on that which is primary in our lives and in the world... the expression of love and peace, for without it there is nothing; that it is only by being love itself, by extending compassion in the face of anger and fear that we can hope to end the downward spiral of violence. Each one of us must take time to pray, to meditate, to look inward, to reflect and ask: what can "I" do to bring about change? what can "I" do to help society heal and evolve to a higher consciousness? what can "I" do to end violence and hatred in order to bring peace into my own heart? We have already seen this happening in the wake of the tragic events, just 2 weeks ago today. We must seize the moment and keep it growing.

Each day, I try to do something meaningful and powerful to help others; I engage in action; but perhaps even more important, I also meditate and pray for peace and healing in the world, for humankind to evolve to a higher consciousness. You can do this in your own home. Just think of the powerful force such healing energy could have in the universe if we were ALL to do the same!

Zelda Penzel, President,
PEACE/People for the End of Animal Cruelty and Exploitation

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