Zero-sum is a fearful way of looking at the world, I think the same as your use of "lack". And it's only one of many ways of approaching any field of study (including economics which is the worst perpetrator of that kind of thinking).

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Thanks for this raw exposé, writing words to voice my own soul's groanings about what it means to be human on this planet right now. Also, a thought:

"Yes, there seems to be an instinct to seek safety through harm; it’s an instinct that seems more entrenched the closer we get to the reins of power and privilege and the attendant ability to deliver either abundance or harm, but which we can see expressed by those who exist most directly in harm’s path, too." I'm hearing echoes of Girard here and the inescapability of mimetic rivalry and the founding murder of the world that continues to reverberate in the myth of redemptive violence.

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Beautifully said. So now, what can we do? We must do more than wish this would end. Statistically, today, this moment: children are half the Palestinian population now being blown to bits, denied food and water, and torn from their homes. (See verified stats below).

Our leaders are lauding this, and our US tax dollars are largely paying for it. Please contact President Biden, your Reps and educate your neighbors- we need an immediate ceasefire!! NGOs like Doctors Without Borders must be called in to help heal the wounded, dig buried families from the rubble, and feed people.

Mediators must be called in for actual peace talks, and security experts can bring Hamas to trial- or if not- repair their security apparatus and fortify their security by actually helping and working with Palestinians- not oppressing and terrorizing them.

The most recent report on the Palestinian population was issued in July 2023 by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), and read:

The Palestinian Population is Young; more than One-third of the Population is Less than 15 Years.

The percentage of individuals aged (0-14) years constituted 37% of the total population in mid-2023; of whom 35% in the West Bank and 40% in Gaza Strip. The percentage of the elderly population aged (65 years and above) reached 4% of the total population; of whom 4% in the West Bank and 3% in Gaza Strip, in mid-2023.

Data from 2021 released by Save the Children, a leading humanitarian organization for children, also stated that "50% of the Palestinian population are children":

In 2021 85 children were killed by Israeli forces. Over 1,600 were injured and 225 detained by Israeli forces. 50% of the Palestinian population are children. That’s about 2.5 million kids across Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Moreover, on Oct. 13, 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a statement with the title, "WHO pleads for immediate reversal of Gaza evacuation order to protect health and reduce suffering," underscoring the high number of underage Palestinians in Gaza (emphasis ours):

With ongoing airstrikes and closed borders, civilians have no safe place to go. Almost half of the population of Gaza is under 18 years of age. With dwindling supplies of safe food, clean water, health services, and without adequate shelter, children and adults, including the elderly, will all be at heightened risk of disease.


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Every week you give voice to what is only a half-formed whisper in my soul. Thank you.

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Thank You, once again, for reframing the issue in terms of human possibility instead of blind inevitability.

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"Hurting the right people". Yeah. I understand the impulse. Of course, for me, the "right people" are the rich and powerful. That doesn't make me a better person. It just means I hate a smaller part of the population.

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The emotional torture of all of this. Well said.

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"If there are to be only two sides, the other side of this equation seems to be those with some combination of ruthlessness and power and reputation and will, who create a world to their specifications, pursuing those things that escalate the urge to massacre: a spirit of escalating hate, informed by a spirit of lack, and the more reputable they are as they pursue it, the more effective they can often be at delivering it."

I think you're right; the other side here is Hamas (fervent extremism in general, Islamist in this case), whose philosophy/motivation is not driven by the occupation, but by the gall of Israel's very existence.

I so so wish that I could present an idea for how to fix this without more massacre.

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Thanks for this. I have been struggling with the haste with which an overwhelming counter-attack was called and executed. I founf myself recalling Nelson Mandela admonishing George W Bush on the eve of the Iran invasion that he was a president who did not know how to think! Mandela was right, but Bush, worse than unthinking, turned out to be a liar, corrupt, and a war criminal. I see now how Biden cinfirms the beheadings of babies that never happened, how Blibkin's anger is unchecked, abd Bibi's

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Thank you for another stunning piece. I greatly appreciate what you are laying down. My wife's favorite thing to say about her faith journey is that we are here to share in the abundance - that this way of living increases it.

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Thank you for this. I've been frustrated and sad all week, feeling my own compulsion to say something, to push back against the tsunami of destructive and hate-filled declarations about who should do what to whom. I've been especially confused about this thin you describe, where speaking out against the massacre of one population results in assumptions that I am in favor of massacre on the other side. Making the statement that nobody should be massacred seems to be met with either accusations of being utterly unrealistic or somehow missing the point and being out of touch. This has been very confusing, but you have described it such that now it all makes sad-but-true sense. I just commented on another article a few minutes ago, with this quote, which seems to me appropriate here, too, as a compliment to what you have written:

"For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support." - Audrey Lorde

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The worst thing of that period after 9/11 is probably the fact that while we supposedly were hurting others to be safer, we kept being told we *weren't* safer, as witness the periodic "Orange Alerts" we'd get when our paranoia needed juicing.

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