The problems we face cannot be resolved at the same level of mind at which we created them.
…[H]e who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality, and will never, therefore, make any progress.
Anwar Sadat, In Search of Identity
El respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz.
When things like the Paris Charlie Hebdo killings or 9/11 happen, the world takes a look at the events. Thinks. Asks.
First question: Who? Investigators are quick to give us an answer: this or that terrorist, criminal, or underground organization.
Second question: Why?
Those responsible for some reason are full of hate. Or for some reason want to take over this part of the world. Or for some reason they feel the need to destroy. One thing is for sure: these persons were free to come and go, free to assemble, free to access information, free to plan, free to think and free to express.
In our haste to blame we point a finger at the only certain thing, disregarding a whole array of complex and profound reasons. We conclude that these things could happen because of freedom.
Finally the third question arises: How? How Can We Stop This From Happening Again?
And curious enough someone comes up with an answer so fast that some of us wonder if it hadn’t been prepared beforehand. The solution is given as inevitable, and in its naïve simplicity it quenches fear-struck citizens’ thirst for immediate action and shallow politicians’ thirst for a claim to fame. The solution is to increase control, build higher walls, tighten the grip, increase the ranks and budgets of police, military, and intelligence. The solution is to limit liberty.
Indeed, those responsible for the events in Paris were free to come and go, assemble, access information, plan, think and express.
Weren’t also the Wright Brothers, Martin Luther, Siddhartha Gautama, Voltaire, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Gutenberg, Mahatma Gandhi, Marie Curie, and millions of other famous and not-so-famous individuals who have worked for the advancement of mankind, at least at some point in their lives, free to come and go, assemble, access information, plan, think and express? Wasn’t our world made a better place largely because of people being allowed to come, go, assemble, access information, plan, think and express?
Today, as every time that a similar event has taken place, part of the world advocates that at least some individuals not be allowed to come, go, assemble, access information, plan, think and express. Yes, in a perfect world, authorities would be able to single out each and every one of these individuals; in a perfect world, the process of finding these individuals would not harm other innocent and constructive human beings. But the world is not perfect and there is a growing belief that the antidote for violence should be violating the liberties that are a foundation of our society, exactly the ones we find in Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité and in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Some call it ironic that Charlie Hebdo was advocating freedom of speech in the form of satire, and that now to vindicate them freedom is at risk; I call it simply adding insult to injury.