January 6 Witnessing and Watching

In concluding my posting on  the Euvaldi/Buffalo tragedies I  said there was a difference between witnessing and watching.  ‘ Witnessing’ is a slightly damaged word.  In some religious contexts it means conforming through personal testimony to an external authority or belief system.  In the Sense of Good context I mean witnessing as an act of undefended vulnerability to the  intentionally focused reality of your body’s perceptions be they visual, auditory, aural,  olfactory or the result of any other sensory input.  Witnessing in this deep penetrating way is not the default setting for our bodies.  Watching is default.  We watch the news, movies, people on the sidewalk, and in the the subway.  When we watch our established defenses are in place to filter out  what threatens or makes us uncomfortable.  As watchers we can always blink or look away.  I know how to fast forward any device to avoid a scene in a movie or video that I suspect will haunt my dreams.  Witnessing is not watching.  Witnessing takes courage and a high level moral commitment.  The world’s propaganda is built on the too often correct  assumption that a population of people will deliberately avoid their moral responsibilities of witnessing the critical events around them and will default to the passive watching of events. Lies thrive under watching eyes but burn away under the witness. 

The January 6 Hearings are a deliberate attempt to provide our country with a means to witness and respond to what happened that day.  I honestly had to ‘back into’ the hearings.  My profession required I witness to the degree possible what was going on around me, in my community, and politically. I set a habit of witnessing events to better serve  the constituency with and for whom I worked.  After 35 years of that public service I cannot shake that gear when I turn on the news, open the computer or read the newspaper.  I write these posts to get the events out of my body, but not off my mind.  At the very least, one would think the death of five policers officers resulting from the carnage of that day would have galvanized a nation that is committed to democratic institutions and the rule of law. But we are a nation that has a significant portion of our population frozen into a posture of passive watching supported by networks of propaganda and denial.  One network boycotted and prevented the very concept of witnessing the January 6 event by blocking out the first round of January 6 hearings.  The “hear no evil, see no evil , speak no  evil’  of the three mystic apes can be seen as both a middle path precept  as well as are a moral warning against a deliberate blindness.  Truth calls for a witness while propaganda calls for willing collaborators. 

The tragedies of Euvaldi and Buffalo as well as the mass shootings that have occurred since those two events, tell us that we have a moral issue in our culture.  That all these deaths could be so quickly reduced to collateral damage to the 2nd amendment points directly to the difference between watching and witnessing.  A witnessing of these events,  be they the mass shootings or the January 6 events points to the need for a radical and immediate response of the public.  Sitting by and  letting this malevolent energy run unimpeded seems grossly immoral.

The reason The Good Decision points to both your body’s Sense of Good along with your minds Sense of Good is based on the absolute necessity that in the democratic system citizens become vulnerable as well as responsive to the events around them.  As for the passive watchers of this world, passivity can be culpability. In some matters doing nothing is doing harm.

2 thoughts on “January 6 Witnessing and Watching

  1. The content of this scholarly article is so on point that any printed edition not in red capital letters feels like an understatement.
    Witnessing our world requires removing all blinders, filters, such as biases and ego-protective overlays read into someone else’s
    expression of viewpoint. This is true maturity and one of the grandest and uncommon achievements by humanity.
    The company of those in this limited group are a hedge against the mainstream insanity of current life.


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