Thoreau said, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” Since Sept. 11 we have been engaged in a deadly battle with the enemy. Our successful pursuit of this battle is hampered by our inability to know who “we” are, as well as our inability to identify “the enemy.”

“We,” are all the people of the world. “The enemy” is fear, the fear of losing those things that are dearest to us; fear of losing our lives, our health, our families, friends, homes, our children and our toys. We are afraid someone will beat us up and take our stuff.

We live in a world of abundance. It is not the absence of resources that brings the fear of poverty, but rather a poverty of the soul that blinds us to all that is provided to us. All we have to do is share. All we have to do is know there is no “us”and “them.” There is just “we.”

Since the dawn of the human race people have wondered at, and been awestruck by the bounty and miracles of this earth. Somehow along the way we got the idea that these miracles were fully understood and, if not of our own making, then certainly within our control. This is a little like the rooster who thinks, because he crows each morning, the sun comes up.

We often mistake the victims of the enemy for the enemy itself. Terrorists of every stripe are the products of fear. The question is not how we stop dangerous and damaged people from wreaking havoc on the world. The question is: How do we stop producing dangerous and damaged people?

The answers are love, respect, appreciation, faith, sharing.

The source of answers? Belief in a higher power, spiritual awareness, community, art, philosophy, education.

The inspectors could tell us that there might not be weapons in Iraq. Or, they may tell us that there are weapons in Iraq. All a damaged victim of fear needs is a box cutter.

David Jenckes, Farmington

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