Manual Jesus and the Disinherited

Free download. Book file PDF easily for everyone and every device. You can download and read online Jesus and the Disinherited file PDF Book only if you are registered here. And also you can download or read online all Book PDF file that related with Jesus and the Disinherited book. Happy reading Jesus and the Disinherited Bookeveryone. Download file Free Book PDF Jesus and the Disinherited at Complete PDF Library. This Book have some digital formats such us :paperbook, ebook, kindle, epub, fb2 and another formats. Here is The CompletePDF Book Library. It's free to register here to get Book file PDF Jesus and the Disinherited Pocket Guide.
About Jesus and the Disinherited. In this classic theological treatise, the acclaimed theologian and religious leader Howard Thurman () demonstrates.
Table of contents



Hatred does not empower--it decays. Only through self-love and love of one another can God's justice prevail. Musty, and Pauli Murray; the first black dean at a white university; cofounder of the first interracially pastored, intercultural church in the United States; Howard Thurman was a man of penetrating foresight and astonishing charisma.

His vision of the world was one of a democratic camaraderie born of faith, and in light of today's global community, one of particular importance. It has its roots deep in the heart of the relations between the weak and the strong, between the controllers of environment and those who are con- trolled by it. When the basis of such fear is analyzed, it is clear that it arises out of the sense of isolation and helplessness in the face of the varied dimensions of violence to which the underprivileged are exposed. Violence, precipitate and stark, is the sire of the fear of such people.

It is spawned by the perpetual threat of violence everywhere. Of course, physical violence is the most obvious cause. But here, it is important to point out, a particular kind of physical violence or its counterpart is evidenced; it is violence that is devoid of the element of contest. It is what is feared by the rabbit that cannot ultimately escape the hounds.

One can almost see the desperation creep into the quivering, pulsing body of the frightened animal. It is one-sided violence. If two men equally matched, or even relatively matched, are in deadly combat, the violence is clear-cut though terrible; there is gross equality of advantage. But when the power and the tools of violence are on one side, the fact that there is no available and recognized protection from violence makes the resulting fear deeply terrifying. Any slight conflict, any alleged in- sult, any vague whim, any unrelated frustration, may bring down upon the head of the defenseless the full weight of naked physical violence.

Even in such a circumstance it is not the fear of death that is most often at work; it is the deep humiliation arising from dying without benefit of cause or purpose. No high end is served. There is no trumpet blast to stir the blood and to anesthetize the agony. Here there is no going down to the grave with a shout; it is merely being killed or being beaten in utter wrath or in- different sadism, without the dignity of being on the re- ceiving end of a premeditated act hammered out in the white heat of a transcendent moral passion.

3 thoughts on “Howard Thurman: Jesus and the Disinherited”

The whole ex- perience attacks the fundamental sense of self-respect and personal dignity, without which a man is no man. In such physical violence the contemptuous disregard for personhood is the fact that is degrading. If a man knows that he is the object of deliberately organized violence, in which care has been exercised to secure the most powerful and deadly weapon in order to destroy him, there may be something great and stimulating about his end.

Conceivably this is a lesson that may be learned from one interpretation of the slaying of the giant Goliath. The great Goliath, the symbol of the might and prowess of the Philistines, is equipped for battle, armor replete, sword and protectors in order. Then there is David, just a lad— perhaps in short shirt, possibly without even sandals. For him no armor, no 38 FEAR sword, no helmet— just a boy with a slingshot in his hand.

When the great Goliath beheld David, and the full weight of the drama broke upon him with force, it well might be literally true that under the tension growing out of a sense of outraged dignity he burst a blood vessel, resulting in apoplexy. Always back of the threat is the rumor or the fact that somewhere, under some similar circumstances violence was used.

That is all that is necessary. The threat becomes the effective instrument. There was a dog that lived at the end of my street in my home town. Every afternoon he came down the street by the house. I could always hear liim coming, giving a quick, sharp yelp in front of certain yards along the way.

The threat was sufficient to secure the reaction because, somewhere in the past, that particular motion had been identified with pain and injury. Such is the role of the threat of violence.

Jesus and the Disinherited - To Win Some

It is rooted in a past ex- perience, actual or reported, which tends to guarantee the present reaction of fear. The disinherited experience the disintegrating effect of contempt in some such fashion as did Goliath. There are few things more devastating than to have it burned into you that you do not count and that no provisions are made for the literal protection of your person.

In modem power politics this is called a war of nerves. The underprivileged in any society are the victims of a perpetual war of nerves. The logic of the state of affairs is physical violence, but it need not fulfill itself in order to work its perfect havoc in the souls of the poor.

Fear, then, becomes the safety device with which the oppressed surround themselves in order to give some measure of protection from complete nervous collapse. How do they achieve this? In the first place, they make their bodies commit to memory ways of behaving that will tend to reduce their exposure to violence. Several years ago, when I was in India, I experienced precisely what is meant here.

It was on our first evening in the country that a friend came to visit and to give advice about certain precautions to be observed. Just before he left, a final caution was given about snakes. He advised that we should not walk around at night without a light, not go into an unlighted room at night. We should sleep with a flashlight under the pillow, so that if it were necessary to get up during the night, a circle of light could be thrown on the floor before stepping out of bed, lest we disturb the nocturnal rambling of some unsuspecting cobra.

I sat alone for some time after he left. During that period of concentration I was literally teaching my body how to behave, so that after that particular eve- ning it would be extremely difiicult for me to violate his expressed advice. My conditioning was so complete that, subsequently, my behavior was automatic. This is precisely what the weak do everywhere.

Through 40 FEAR bitter experience they have learned how to exercise extreme care, how to behave so as to reduce the threat of immediate danger from their environment. Fear thus becomes a form of life assurance, making possible the continuation of physical existence with a minimum of active violence. Children are taught how to behave in this same way. The children of the disinherited live a restricted childhood. From their earliest moments they are conditioned so as to reduce their exposure to violence. He teaches him to distinguish human scent, the kinds of exposure that may be deadly, what precise kind of behavior is relatively safe.

The stag is unwilling to leave Bambi until he is sure that the young deer has made his body commit to memory ways of behaving that will protect and safeguard his life. The threat of violence within a framework of well-nigh limitless power is a weapon by which the weak are held in check. Artificial limitations are placed upon them, re- stricting freedom of movement, of employment, and of participation in the common life.

These limitations are given formal or informal expression in general or specific policies of separateness or segregation. These policies tend to freeze the social status of the insecure. The threat of violence may be implemented not only by constituted authority but also by anyone acting in behalf of the established order.

The anticipation of possible violence makes it very difficult for any escape from the pattern to be effective. It is important to analyze the functioning of segregation that we may better understand the nature of the fear it engender. It is obvious that segregation can be established only between two groups that are unequal in power and control. Two groups that are relatively equal in power in a society may enter into a voluntary arrangement of sepa- rateness. Segregation can apply only to a relationship involving the weak and the strong. For it means that limita- tions are arbitrarily set up, which, in the course of time, tend to become fixed and to seem normal in governing the etiquette between the rwm groups.

A peculiar characteristic of segregation is the ability of the stronger to shuttle back and forth between the prescribed areas with complete im- munity and a kind of mutually tacit sanction; while the position of the weaker, on the other hand, is quite definitely fixed and frozen. A very simple illustration is the operation of Jim Crow travel in trains in the southern part of the United States.

On such a train the porter, when he is not in line of duty, may ride only in the Jim Crow coach— for the train porter is a Negro, But the members of the train crew who are not Negroes— the conductor, brakeman, baggageman— when they are not working, may ride either in the Jim Crow section or in any other section of the train. In the town in Florida in which I grew up as a boy it was a common 42 FEAR occurrence for white persons to attend our church sendees and share in the worship. But it was quite impossible for any of us to do the same in the white churches of the com- munity.

All over the world, wherever ghettos are found, the same basic elements appear— a fact which dramatizes the position of weakness and gives the widest possible range to the policing effect of fear generated by the threat of violence. Given segregation as a factor determining relations, the resources of the environment are made into instruments to enforce the artificial position. Most of the accepted social behavior-patterns assume segregation to be nonnal— if nor- mal, then correct; if correct, then moral; if moral, then religious.

Religion is thus made a defender and guarantor of the presumptions. God, for all practical purposes, is imaged as an elderly, benign white man, seated on a white throne, with bright, white light emanating from his coun- tenance. Angels are blonds and brunets suspended in the air around his throne to be his messengers and execute his purposes. Satan is viewed as being red with the glow of fire. But the imps, the messengers of the devil, are black.

The implications of such a view are simply fantastic in the intensity of their tragedy. Doomed on earth to a fixed and unremitting status of inferiority, of which segregation is symbolic, and at the same time cut off from the hope that the Creator intended it otherwise, those who are thus victimized are stripped of all social protection.

Under such circumstances there is but a step from being despised to despising oneself. The fear that segregation inspires among the weak in turn breeds fear among the strong and the dominant. This fear insulates the conscience against a sense of wrongdoing in carrying out a policy of segregation.


  • Related Articles.
  • Full text of "Jesus And The Disinherited".
  • Navigation menu.
  • Jesus and the Disinherited.

For it counsels that if there were no segregation, there would be no protection against invasion of the home, the church, the school. This fear perpetuates the Jewish ghettos in Western civilization, the restrictive covenants in California and other states, the Chinatowns, the Little Tokyos, and the Street of the Un- touchables in Hindu iands. Jews have been all the more easily trapped by it because of the deep historical conviction that they are a chosen people.

This conviction and its underscoring in the unique ethical insights of the prophets have tended to make all those who were not a part of Israel feel in some sense as if they were spiritual outcasts. The conscious and unconscious reaction inspired by this sense of being on the outside is a fertile seedbed for anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is a confession of a deep sense of inferiority and moral insecurity.

A Hindu government did what years of British rule failed to do. Perhaps this is as it should be. Jesus was intimately acquainted with this problem from the inside. Jesus knew all of this. His days were nurtured in great hostilities Focused upon his kind, the sons of Israel There was no moment in all his yeaK When he was free. Fear becomes acute, in the form of panic or rage, only at the moment when what has been threat becomes actual violence; but the mere anticipation of such an encounter is overwhelming simply because the odds are basically uneven.

This fact is important to hold in mind.

Howard Thurman: Jesus and the Disinherited

The disadvantaged man knows that in any conflict he must deal not only with the particular individual involved bur also with the entire group, then or later. Even recourse to the arbitration of law tends to be avoided becau. The result is the dodging of all encounters. The effect is nothing short of disaster in the organism; for, studies show, fear actually causes chem- ical changes in the body, affecting the blood stream and the muscular reactions, preparing the body either for fight or for flight. If he is a man, he stands in the presence of his woman as not a man.

While it may be true that many have not had such experiences, yet each stands in candidacy for such an experience. It is clear, then, that this fear, which served originally as a safety device, a kind of protective mechanism for the weak, finally becomes death for the self. The power that saves turns executioner. Within the walls of separateness death keeps watch. There are some who defer this death by yielding all claim to personal significance beyond the little world in which they live.

In the absence of all hope ambition dies, and the very self is weakened, corroded. There remains only the elemental will to live and to accept life on the terms that are available. There is a profound measure of resourcefulness in all life, a resourcefulness that is guaranteed by the underlying aliveness of life itself.

The crucial question, then, is this: Is there any help to be found in the religion of Jesus that can be of value here? It is utterly beside the point to examine here what the religion of Jesus suggests to those who would be helpful to the disinherited. That is ever in the nature of special pleading. Obviously, if the strong put forth a great redemptive effort to change the social, political, and economic arrange- ments in which they seem to find their basic security, the 46 FEAR whole picmre would be altered.

But this is apart from my thesis. Again the crucial question: Is there any help to be found for the disinherited in the religion of Jesus? Did Jesus deal with this kind of fear? If so, how did he do it? It is not merely, What did he say? An analysis of the teaching of Jesus reveals that there is much that deals with the problems created by fear. After his temptation in the wilderness Jesus appeared in the synagogue and was asked to read the lesson.

He chose to read from the prophet Isaiah the words which he declared as his fulfillment: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me. And he closed the book. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. In the Song of Mary w'-e find words which anticipate the same declaration of Jesus: He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?

Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. In the great expression of affirmation and faith found in the Sermon on the Mount there appears in clearest outline the basis of his positive answer to the awful fact of fear and its twin sons of thunder-anxiety and despair: Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.

Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: Are ye not much better than they? Mffiich of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, WTat shall we eat? Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteous- ness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take there- fore no thought for the morrow: Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. The core of the analysis of Jesus is that man is a child of God, the God of life that sustains all of nature and guarantees all the intricacies of the life-process itself.

This idea— that God is mindful of the individual— is of tremendous import in dealing with fear as a disease. In this world the socially disadvantaged man is constantly given a negative answer to the most important personal questions upon which mental health depends: If a man feels that he does not belong in the way in which it is perfectly normal for other people to belong, then he develops a deep sense of insecurity. It is quite possible for a man to have no sense of personal inferiority as such, but at the same time to be dogged by a sense of social inferiority.

I have seen it happen again and again. When I was a youngster, this was drilled into me by my grandmother. The idea was gwen to her by a certain slave minister who, on occasion, held secret religious meet- ings tvith his fellow slaves. How everything in me quivered with the pulsing tremor of raw energy when, in her recital, she would come to the triumphant climax of the minister: You— you are not slaves.

This alone is not enough, but without it, nothing else is of value. The first task is to get the self immunized against the most radical results of the threat of vdoience. When this is accomplished, relaxation takes the place of the churning fear. The indi- vidual now feels that he counts, that he belongs. He senses the confirmation of his roots, and even death becomes a little thing. The youth had lost their sense of belonging. They did not count; there was no center of hope for their marginal egos.

According to my friend, Hitler told them: He stabilized the ego of the German youth, and put it within their power to overcome their sense of inferiority. It is true that in the hands of a man like Hitler, power is ex- ploited and turned to ends which make for havoc and misery; but this should not cause us to ignore the basic soundness of the theory upon which he operated. It lifts that mere man to a place of pre-eminence that belongs to God and to God alone.

He who fears is literally delivered to destruction.

See a Problem?

To the child of God, a scale of values becomes available by which men are measured and their true significance de- termined. Even the threat of violence, with the possibility of death that it carries, is recognized for what it is— merely the threat of violence with a death potential.

Such a man recognizes that death cannot possibly be the worst thing in the world. There are some things that are worse than death. In a conversa- tion with me Lincoln Steffens once said that he was sure he could rear a child who was a member of a minority group or who was a habitue of a ghetto so as to immunize him against the corroding effects of such limitations. A man is never great in general, but he may be great as to something in particular.

During the first few days of my sojourn, I was completely disorganized. I was nervous, tended to be inarticulate, generally confused, and ill at ease. I had either to get a hold on myself or bring my visit abruptly to an end. One morning while shaving it occurred to me that despite my profound limitations of knowledge in physics and mathe- matics, I knew infinitely more about politics than did my host.

At breakfast I found my tongue and my dignity, and the basis of equality between us was at once restored. My host was a great man as to his particular field of natural science, while I was competent in the field of contemporary 52 FEAR politics and affairs. This awareness gave me my per- spective. All of the inner conflicts and frustrations growing out of limitations of opportunity become dramatically focused here. Even though a man is convinced of his infinite worth as a child of God, this may not in itself give him the op- portunity for self-realization and fulfillment that his spirit demands.

Even though he may no longer feel himself threatened by violence, the fact remains that for him doors often are closed. There are vocational opportunities that are denied him. It is obvious that the individual must reckon with the external facts of his environment, especially those that constrict his freedom. There is something more to be said about the inner equipment growing out of the great affinnation of Jesus that a man is a child of God. He no longer views his equipment through the darkened lenses of those who are largely responsible for his social predica- ment.

He can think of himself w'ith some measure of de- tachment from the shackles of his immediate w'orld. If he equips himself in terms of training in this mood, his real ability is brought into play. He will post- pone defeat imtil defeat itself closes in upon him. The interesting foct is that defeat may not close in upon him. Curious indeed is tlie notion that plays hide-and-seek with human life: The psychological effect on the individual of the con- viction that he is a child of God gives a note of integrity to whatever he does.

It provides character in the sense of sure knowledge and effective performance. After all, this is what we mean by character when applied to ability in action. What is most crucial about the doctor, so far as the sick man is concerned, is, Can he practice medicine?

Now, what we are discussing has profound bearing upon the kind of assurance and guidance that should be given to children 'wffio seem destined to develop a sense of defeat and frustration. The doom of the children is the greatest tragedy of the disinherited. They are robbed of much of the careless rapture and spontaneous joy of merely being dive. Through their environment they are plunged into the midst of overwhelming pressures for which there can be no possible preparation. So many tender, joyous things m them are nipped and killed without their even knowing FEAR the true nature of their loss.

The normal for them is the abnormal. Youth is a time of soaring hopes, when dreams are given first wings and, as reconnoitering birds, csplore unknown landscapes. Again and again a man full of years is merely the corroboration of the dreams of his youth. The sense of fancy growing out of the sense of fact— which makes ail healthy personalities and gives a touch of romance and glory to all of life— first appears as the unrestrained imaginings of youth.

But the child of the disinherited is likely to live a heavy life. A ceiling is placed on his dreaming by the counsel of despair coming from his elders, whom e. If, on the other hand, the elders understand in their owm experiences and lives the tremendous insight of Jesus, it is possible for them to share their enthusiasm wdth their children. This is the qualitative overtone springing from the depths of religious insight, and it is contagious.

It will put into the hands of the child the key for unlocking the door of lus hopes. It must never be forgotten that human beings can be condi- tioned in favor of the positive as well as the negative. A great and central assurance will cause parents to condition their children to high endeavor and great aspiring, and these in turn will put the child out of the immediate, claw- ing reaches of the tense or the sustained negations of his environment. I have seen it happen. The charge that such thinking is merely rationalizing cannot be made with easy or accepted grace by the man of basic advantage.

The awareness that a man is a child of the God of religion, who is at one and the same time the God of life, creates a profound faith in life that nothing can destroy. Nothing less than a great daring in the face of over- whelming odds can achieve the imier security in which fear cannot possibly survive.

It is true that a man cannot be serene unless he possesses something about which to be serene. Here we reach the high-water mark of prophetic religion, and it is of the essence of the religion of Jesus of Nazareth. Of course God cares for the grass of the field, which lives a day and is no more, or the sparrow that falls unnoticed by the wayside. He also holds the stars in their appointed places, leaves his mark in every living thing.

And he cares for me! To be assured of this becomes the answer to the threat of violence— yea, to violence itself. To the degree to which a man knows this, he is unconquer- able from withm and without. For a long time I did not see the giant in the sky because I was not permitted to remain up after sun- down. My chums had seen it and had told me perfectly amazing things about it. One night I was awakened by my mother, who told me to dress quickly and come with her out into the backyard to see the comet.

I shall never forget it if I live forever. Finally, after seemed to me what an interminable time interval, I found my speech. Many things have I seen since that night. Here are the faith and the awareness that over- come fear and transform it into the power to strive, to achieve, and not to yield. Through the ages, at all stages of sentient activity, the weak have survived by fooling the strong.

TIte techniques of deception seem to be a part of the nervous-reflex action of the organism. The cuttlefish, when attacked, will release some of the fluid from his sepia bag, making the water aU around him murky; in the midst of the cloudy water he confuses his attacker and makes his escape. Almost any hunter of birds has seen the mother simulate a broken w'ing so as to attract attention to herself and thereby save the life of her young.

As a boy I have seen the shadow of the hawk on the grassy meadow where I lay resting underneath a shade tree. Consider the behavior of the birds a few feet away as they see the shadow. I have seen them take little feet full of dried grass or leaves, turn an easy half somersault, and play dead. All little children well know this technique. They know that they cannot cope with the parental will on equal terms. Until the teacher catches on, it is a favorite device of students. It is an ancient device that a man-dominated social order has forced upon women, even down to latest times. Olive Schreiner spent much of her energy attacking this form of deception by which the moral life of women was bound.

Much of the constant agitation for an equal-rights amend- ment to the Constitution grows out of recognition of the morally degrading aspects of deception and dishonesty that enter into the relationship between men and women. If he had, he uxmld not have lasted very long, and the result would have iieen a great loss to his people and a tightening of the bonds that held them. He would have been executed as a revo- lutionary in short order and all religious freedom would have been curtailed.

Jesus And The Disinherited

What did the prophet do? He resorted to a form of deception. He put words in the mouth of an old king of Tyre that did not come from him at all, but from Nebuchadrezzar.

#oneminute inspiration “Jesus and the Disinherited”

In a certain southern city a blind Negro had been killed by a policeman. Feeling ran very high. The Negroes were not permitted to have any kind of eulogy or sermon at the funeral sendee. There was fear of rioting. Nevertheless, the funeral was held, with policemen very much in evi- dence. There was no sermon, but there was a central prayer. In the prayer the minister told God all that he would have said to the people had he not been under vcty rigid surveillance.

The officers could do nothing, for the minister was not addressing the people; he was talking to his God. But it is the old, old method by which the weak have survived through the years. The setting is veiy dra- matic. On the other hand, the slave knew that he too was ijoing to heaven. God cannot possiliiy be divided in this way. I am having my hell now.

When I die, I shall have my heaven. When he dies, he will have his hell. I got shoes, You got shoes. Then, looking up to the big house where the master lived, he said: Instances could be multiplied from all over the world, and from as far back in human history as records have been kept. It is an old, old defense of the weak against the strong.

For it raises the issue of honesty, integrity, and the con. If so, where does one draw the line? Is there a fine distinction between literal honesty and hone. Or is truthtelling largely a matter of timing? Arc there times when to tell the truth is to be false to the truth that is in you? These questions and many related ones will not be downed.

For the dis- inherited they have to do with the very heart of suirnval. It may be argued that a man who places so high a price upon physical e. The physical existence of a man makes of him the custodian, the keeper, of the fragment of life which is his. He lives constantly under the necessity to have life fulfill itself. With reference to the question of deception the disinherited are faced with three basic akematwes. His word has no value anyway. In any con- test he is defeated before he starts. He cannot meet his opponent on equal terms, because there is no basis of equality that exists between the weak and the strong.

There can be no question of honesty in dealing with each other, for there is no sense of community. Such a mood takes for granted a facile in- sincerity. The fact is, in any great struggle between groups in which the major control of the situation is on one side, the ethical question tends to become merely academic.

The advantaged group assumes that they are going to be fooled, if it is possible; there is no e. They know that every conceivable device will be used to render ineffective the advantage which they have inherited in their position as the strong. The pattern of deception by which the weak are deprived of their civic, economic, political, and social rights without its appearing that they are so deprived is a matter of continuous and tragic amazement.

The pattern of deception by which the w'eak circumvent the strong and manage to secure some of their political, economic, and social rights is a matter of continuous degradation. A vast conspiracy of silence covers all these maneuvers as the groups come into contact with each other, and the question of morality is not permitted to invade it. It is a simple fact of psychology that if a man calLs a lie the truth, he tampers dangerously with his value judgments. Jesus called attention to that fact in one of his most revealing utterances.

His mother, in an attempt to excuse him from the harsh judgment of his enemies, said that he M as a little out of his mind— not terribly crazy, but just a little off-balance. Jesus, hearing the dis- cussion, said that these men did not talk good sense: That is to say, if a man continues to call a good thing bad, he will eventually lose his sense of moral distinctions. Is this always the result? May not the underprivileged do with deception as it relates to his soul what the human body does with tubercle bacilli?

The body seems unable to destroy the bacilli, so nature builds a prison for them, walls them in with a thick fibrosis so that their toxin cannot escape from the lungs into the blood stream. Is deception a comparable technique of survwal, the fibrosis that protects the life from poison in its total outlook or in its other rela- tions.

The penalty of deception is to become a deception, with all sense of moral discrimination vitiated. A man who lies habitually becomes a lie, and it is increasingly impossible for him to know when he is lying and when he is not. In other words, the moral mercury of life is reduced to zero. Shakespeare has immortalized this aspect of character in his drama of Macbeth. Macbeth has a high sense of destiny, which is deeply underscored by the testimony of the witches.

This is communicated to his wife, who takes it to head and to heart. By a series of liquidations their friends disappear and their enemies multiply, until Macbeth is king and his wife is queen. Then fatal things begin happening to them. Lady Macbeth walks in her sleep, trying in vain to wash blood from her hands. But the blood is not on her hands; it is on her soul. Macbeth becomes a victim of terrible visions and he cries: Macbeth does murder sleep! She should have died hereafter; There would have been a time for such a word.

Out, out, brief candle! His place in the world shaped the emphasis of his writings. Thurman brilliantly speaks to both oppressor and oppressed through the central sections of his book. He explains fear, deception and hate as natural outcomes, while simultaneously pastoring his disinherited readers into freedom. As I read and re-read these chapters, I thought of friends who are Kurds — members of a homeless nation. I held in my mind the state of women around the world and the quiet desperation of many women I know personally.

I thought of the Black Lives Matter movement in the U. There are too many insights for me to do them justice, so let me leave you with several quotes from Mr. Thurman, with a few of my thoughts thrown in. He also holds the stars in their appointed places, leaves his mark in every living thing. And he cares for me!

To be assured of this becomes the answer to the threat of violence — yea, to violence itself. Oh the political commentary I could insert after this comment!