Spirit Quest

Brutal competition illegal in ‘peaceable kingdom’
makes landfall in Montreal, some native reserves

By The Reverend Doctor Hanns F. Skoutajan

A new sport (?) is about to make its presence in Canada. It has made landfall in Montreal and on some native reserves. It is illegal in the “peaceable kingdom” except in Quebec.

Ultimate Fighting seems to be a combination of boxing without gloves, kickboxing and other weaponless martial arts. I have seen it on my computer in a program from the United States. To my untrained eyes it appears to be without rules, its object is to hurt and incapacitate your partner. Defenders of the sport claim that it is highly controlled and no more violent than boxing or hockey. Wow! 

In a Montreal arena it was welcomed by thousands who have come to watch two adult males sequestered in a cage beat the shit out of each other.

People in a U.S. audience, “fans” which stands for “fanatics,” have been seen to sport sweatshirts with the words “ VIOLENCE SOLVES EVERYTHING”: emblazoned on them. It has been said that we live in a violent world where “everything is fair in love and war.” Add “ sport”, to that.

A study of cosmology, the science that deals with how the cosmos came to be and where it seems to be going, reveals a very violent beginning. 13.7 billion years ago there was a Big Bang and where there was nothing, No Thing, no space, no time, except a “singularity”, a cosmos formed.  From that moment until today creation has been on a very violent path. See the pictures from the Hubble space telescope.

It almost makes me want to believe in the Biblical account of creation as it is found in the Book of Genesis. God magically created the heavens and the earth in only 6 days. When he regarded his handiwork, (he was a he) he rubbed his hands and announced that “it is very good.” No violence here. Violence came later when humans took the stage.

That rather benign beginning of everything has been pretty well discredited. Like it or not, our beginning was very violent and so will likely be its ending. 

Marq de Villiers in his most recent and fascinating book, Dangerous World: Natural Disasters, Manmade Catastrophes, And the Future of Human Survival (great bedtime reading) describes this violence at the beginning and how it reasserts itself all along the way.

Do we then just throw up our hands in horror and hopelessness and join the fight for survival of the fittest although we know that we can’t survive forever? De Villiers doesn’t. He writes: “This Earth is the only place we’ve got. This is already a cliche. We need to cherish it, and protect it. This is a cliche too. But how?”  Basic to that question is, I am afraid to say: political will.  It isn’t knowledge or resources, it is will. We have the wherewithall to end child poverty, AIDS, and hunger, but have we the will to do it?

While we are here lets make the best of it. According to the biblical account after God had created everything and judged it to be good he created humankind, placed them in a garden and told them to tend it, to be stewards of creation. Even if you don’t believe in Creationism, at least accept this imperative.

Our role is to be nonviolent. Violence does not solve everything indeed it creates more and more intractable problems. Violence begets violence. Faced with a tumultuous ending let’s not make life worse but in this interim period make existence as peaceful and productive as possible.

Sometimes it seems as though all humanity is locked in a cage to struggle  to subdue our neighbour with no holds barred. There are incidents on every continent of life in terror. Nor is this struggle only between humans but also with our environment, a savaging of earth and its resources.

At the end of the rounds of Ultimate Fighting, one combatant  emerges triumphant but not without wounds, bruises and blood. Our life must not be  to emulate that sport but to strive to overcome strife, to share our living space and resources, to practice the healing art of love.

While some maintain that violence lies not far below our skin, there is also a spirit of peace alive within.

That spirit is a’ movin’