On Saturday night, when several Occupy folk crow-barred open the front doors to City Hall, walls inside Oakland's City Hall were scrawled with graffiti, glass doors broken, electric wires cut, property removed. The scale model of the building -- the original architect's model over 100 years old -- was overturned and broken. Several even more fragile yet wildly imaginative sculptures in a children's art exhibit outside the Mayor's office were damaged, some seriously so. This exhibit featured art made of recycled materials and included a small sculpture dedicated to Occupy, yet nonetheless several pieces were over-turned and broken. At least one was destroyed. My personal favorite, the mermaid, her tail a mass of glistening DVD scales, now lists far to the left. Arms akimbo, she's hanging on.
Rather than thrashing about, smashing this, crashing that, the Occupiers might have benefited from stopping at the top of the stairs, standing still if only for a moment. They might have looked quietly at the art made by Oakland's kids, soaked themselves in the imagined worlds and dreams these kids had created from trash and then stood back (or stood near) and allowed themselves to occupy their minds, dream of new ways to solve old problems. Picked up their own trash and moved on.
Of course, capitalism may be correctly described as War on the People. We know that, but we also know that rarely is war ended with more war. Certainly we all see by now that violence does not subside when met with greater violence. Violence begets violence. At the risk of sounding pedantic and overly trite, I will state the obvious again. Creativity builds worlds. Destructive violence only destroys, kills, maims, leaving behind very little with which to build anew. Anyone who has wandered out of a war zone knows that.
I'm not an advocate of war, and I wonder about a group that seeks to wage war on themselves. Why do such harm to themselves and to others? I find it ironic -- and more than little sad -- that a protester charged with committing mayhem carries the name Ahimsa.
Ahimsa -- the awareness that all life is sacred and that we who walk this earth should do no harm to others or to ourselves. Gandhi showed us that If we can change ourselves, the tendencies in the world will also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him . . . So if we live every day in peace and with peace and by peace, perhaps we will have peace. If we do no harm, we can perhaps reconstruct our world as a world without violence.
Satyagraha. Nonviolence. Ahimsa. Do no harm. Walk in beauty. Walk in light.
Behind the fog, inside the smoke, is the light of peace, the grace of life.