Friday, June 5, 2009

Push back and Obama in Egypt

I know that I've been critical of Pres. Obama but I just listened to his speech in Cairo, Egypt (today) and I have to admit that I agree with most of what he said (I still disagree with his domestic policies).

I remember my mom telling me once, "Ron, you've always been a peacemaker. Even when you were little, you would come home upset because the neighbors were treating their dog poorly." Yes, I'm a pacifist and I'm proud of it.

For those who prefer strength and force to the apparent weakness of pacifism, here's something to think about. I read once about a study done related to "pushing back". It involves two people. One person presses their fist lightly in the arm, chest or stomach of the second. The second person presses back with what they felt was the same force. Continue this back and forth and soon the two will be punching each other hard. (The study actually used sensitive digital sensors for this).

You can try this experiment with a friend, or if you are smart like me you try it with your two teenage sons so they can learn the lesson.

The point is that retaliation is always at least perceived as worse than the initial offense. This principle I thought was well addressed by Obama's speech writers.

A final word on pacifism: I think it shows tremendous strength to restrain oneself and to not overreact.


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