From the Healing the Heart of Democracy Discussion Guide // What forms of public suffering do you see or experience right now? Do you have a story about how suffering—personal or public—has been transformed into creativity instead of violence to self or others?
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We suffer from a widespread loss of jobs, homes, savings, and citizen confidence in our economic and political systems. We suffer from a fear of terrorism and the paranoia it produces. We suffer from a fragmentation of community that leaves us isolated from one another. We suffer, ironically, from our indifference to those among us who suffer. And we suffer as well from a hopeless sense that our personal and collective destinies are no longer in our hands. What shall we do with our suffering? That is one of the most fateful questions human beings must wrestle with. Sometimes suffering rises into anger that leads to murder or war; at other times it descends into despair that leads to quick or slow self-destruction. Violence is what we get when we do not know what else to do with our suffering. But when the human heart is open and allowed to work its alchemy, suffering can generate vitality instead of violence. (19)
Q. What forms of public suffering do you see or experience right now? Do you have a story about how suffering—personal or public—has been transformed into creativity instead of violence to self or others?
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