The Power of Coming Face to Face with One Person’s Humanity

  Dear Friends,

Thank you to Miki Kashtan for introducing me to the blog of Tom Atlee.

Please read all the way to the story at the end, and maybe, as I did, you will know before you get there what the last comment to the President will be. In our projects in the Mideast we see over and over how face to face contact with anyone you hold an enemy image of just might save lives, yours, theirs, your children’s.


Author: robertaindia

In the world with a peaceful heart

One thought on “The Power of Coming Face to Face with One Person’s Humanity”

  1. Dear Roberta,

    The idea posted by Tom Atlee was presented by a Gestalt therapist, Sue Mansfield, in her 1982 book called “The Gestalts of War.” She pointed out in that book how war had become more and more a remote thing (drones weren’t available then, but they are great examples) – people no longer fought hand to hand – horse to horse – but were shielded from the actual impact of their killing another person. She suggested that the president have a bodyguard that he would have to shoot in person before he ordered troops to war. She may have taken the idea from the article on Preventing Nuclear War by Roger Fischer which Tom has excerpted from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1981. When I read the book by Sue Mansfield, that thought has stayed with me for all these years, and I still have the book on my shelf in my office at Pace. Empathy decreases with personal distance, as Tom points out – and empathy for the other is what prevents violence. I believe it is why so many in our times (Rifkin and others) are writing about the importance of empathy. You and your colleagues are working to create empathy in one of the most difficult conflicts of our time – in Israel/Palestine, which I am totally grateful for!



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