Dr. Robert Enright, world-renowned forgiveness researcher and educator, has been selected by two of the nation’s premier blog sites to add his forgiveness expertise as a regular contributor.
1. Psychology Today is a New York City-based print magazine that will celebrate its 50th year of continuous publication in 2017. Its new blog site, according to the publication, is “devoted exclusively to everybody’s favorite subject: Ourselves.”
To make and keep their new blog site relevant, Psychology Today has gathered a group of renowned psychologists, academics, psychiatrists and writers to contribute their thoughts and ideas on what makes us tick. According to the website, “We’re a live stream of what’s happening in Psychology Today.”
The forgiveness blog section on Psychology Today’s website is called “The Forgiving Life”–which is also the title of one of the eight books Dr. Enright has written. Here are links to the first four blogs Dr. Enright has produced for the new site this month:
Dec. 7 – Forgiveness Saved My Life: Reflections from Prison
Dec. 16 – Afraid of Mingling with the Relatives This Holiday Season?
Dec. 17 – A New Approach to School Bullying: Eliminate Their Anger
Dec. 20 – Is It True That Forgiveness Is “Ridiculous“?
2. You’ve probably heard of Arianna Huffington, the 66-year-old digital media pioneer, bestselling author, and founder of The Huffington Post–the online news powerhouse that has spread its influence around the world in dramatic fashion. Oh, yes, and she is one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.”
Huffington stepped down in August as editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post (affectionately called HuffPost), which she founded in 2005 and sold to AOL six years later for $315 million, to concentrate full time on her new venture–Thrive Global. The new entity is partly based on her runaway bestselling 2014 book, Thrive, which defines a new math for success based on the variables of well-being, wisdom, wonder and generosity.
One of the entities under the Thrive Global umbrella is The Thrive Journal–an online blog site that the company says goes “beyond informing and entertaining to action. Our goal is to help you bring about changes in your life by giving you concrete, actionable tips laid out in five pathways: Calm, Joy, Purpose, Well-Being, and Productivity. These microsteps and tips are embedded in every piece of content we produce.”
Similar to the new blog site developed by Psychology Today, the Thrive Global blog site will feature a wide array of international wellness experts, psychologists, medical doctors and other professionals. Here are links to the first five blogs Dr. Enright has produced for Thrive Global:
Nov. 25 – Forgiveness and the Presidential Election of 2016: 7 Tips
Nov. 30 – Reflections from Prison: “Forgiveness Saved My Life”
Dec. 4 – Forgiveness, the Marathon, and the Inspired Work of Art
Dec. 8 – How Evil Works
Dec. 17 – Afraid of Mingling with the Relatives This Holiday Season? 4 Tips from Forgiveness Therapy
We can get so annoyed so easily. A traffic jam….and we are annoyed.
A colleague late for the meeting…..and we are annoyed.
A spouse who is taking too long in the changing room at the clothing store…..and we are annoyed.
Spend a little time with a homeless person and then ask yourself if the above three are big or minor annoyances. When I pass a homeless person, I can tell that he expects me to not see him. He thinks he is invisible.
He is not.
On one occasion, in leaving a restaurant with a good friend, there was a dear homeless person on the corner. It was a cold evening. He smiled. We gave him our “take out box” and he beamed. He laughed and with arms outstretched, he proclaimed, “God bless you.”
So amazing. He has nothing of material value….no home…..and he thinks he is invisible to the rest of the world.
We decided, after having traversed a block on making our way to the safety and warmth of our homes, to turn back and give him some money along with the food. He was eating, saw us coming, and with outstretched arms, welcomed us with a “God bless you.”
He seems to have no resentment in his heart…..even when outside….without a home…..in the cold of an early winter……even while seeing that others do not see him.
Note: We are filing this in the category of Famous People. The homeless are not invisible and we did not want this uncategorized post to become invisible.
I first met Rev. Tutu in March, 1995. Well, I did not exactly meet him….I met his voice. We were holding the first conference on person-to-person forgiveness ever held at any university in the world and we were doing so at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Rev. Tutu was kind enough to give the opening remarks by recorded audio to what now is an historical event–the first academic forgiveness conference.
I was immediately impressed with his warmth and wisdom. He talked of the African word ubuntu, of how we are all persons because of other persons. He urged us all to try to overcome the animosities that have wounded the world because of a lack of forgiveness. It was a challenge that is still with me, 19 years later.
Rev. Tutu recently has expanded his vision of stopping animosities worldwide by asking all of us to take the bold step of trying to learn to forgive as a global calling—for each of us—now—-for the good of humanity as well as for ourselves as we unburden from resentments that can pollute human interactions.
The new plan, announced recently by Desmond Tutu and his daughter Mpho Tutu, concerns the Tutu Global Forgiveness Challenge, a free online program starting May 4, 2014, designed to teach the world how to forgive.
The 30-day program is based on a systematic process of forgiving that the Tutus present in their new book, The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Healing Our World.
We have seen how Rev. Tutu guided the Truth and Reconciliation Commission with such compassion as he absorbed a country’s intense pain borne out of grave injustice. We have read his book, No Future without Forgiveness. He has lived forgiveness. He has embodied it. We can’t wait for his global initiative. We hope you take a look and benefit from a man and his daughter who have known suffering.
Friedrich Nietzsche in the 19th century popularized a view of the world that he called the Will to Power. His was a response to the emerging Darwinist view of evolution that there is a Will to Survive by all living things, not deliberately conscious (because, for example, blades of grass or turtles do not consciously reflect on such a will to survive). For Nietzsche, the Will to Survive was not, well, powerful enough to explain how living organisms and systems work. Grasses do not only struggle to live, but to expand territory by pushing out other living forms for a larger habitat. Thus, even grass has the Will to Power, to control or even to (again unconsciously) dominate.
Viktor Frankl, a psychoanalytic psychologist, imprisoned in concentration camps during World War II, had a direct response to Nietzsche by saying that the primary human force is the Will to Meaning, a will to make sense out of life and particularly out of suffering. Finding meaning, not a specific meaning common to all people, but finding a meaning itself has the survival value. As people think of life as meaningless, then they die. Yet, this contentless Will to Meaning has a contradiction in it. It cannot be opposing Nietzsche’s Will to Power if, in finding meaning, one person’s meaning for life is to gain more influence over another. In other words, Frankl’s deliberately contentless theme of the Will to Meaning must accommodate the content in some people’s minds that the Will to Power is their own personal meaning to life. It is the way the world works, at least as some people try to make meaning out of a cruel world. Yet, Frankl’s view, I think, is a developmentally more sophisticated worldview because it makes room for much more than the brutish vying for dominance and control in the world.
Jesus Christ, in contrast to Nietzsche and Frankl, has a different worldview. It is the Will to Love. Others, of course, have said this, too, but we must be scholarly here and give credit to the original proclamations. This Will to Love consciously repudiates the need to dominate, to seek power. Even if Nietzsche is correct that the Will to Power typifies the untrained, under-developed will of humanity, Christ’s challenge is to overcome that. Nietzsche, in other words, takes what is and mistakenly presumes that this is what ought to be. Frankl, in contrast, takes what is (we are presuming for now that the Will to Power is a natural tendency in humans) and is showing us that we can fill in the blank with other, perhaps better content when we ask, “What is the meaning of life and suffering for me?” Christ, in contrast to Frankl, and in common with Nietzsche, commits to one particular content—in this case, love—as the central Will for humanity.
It seems to me that we have a developmental progression here in terms of a greater fulfillment of humanity, the fulfillment of who we are as persons. We start in the mire of a Will to Power and can do great damage if we stay there, and if the world stays there. The Will to Meaning is a transition in that it takes us out of the inevitability of seeking power. The Will to Love, which honors the life of all, is the highest of these world views. Why? Because it is the only one of the three that is intimately concerned about all life. If humanity will survive, our questing after the Will to Power is a dangerous path because in its conscious, extreme form, it destroys others so that one’s own domain can expand.
To those like Nietzsche who think that love and the equality of persons is a weakened view of humanity, my response is this: How are you distorting the moral virtue of love? How are you misunderstanding it? To love is to help with the survival of all others, not to destroy for one’s own survival, dominance, and control. In the seeking of others’ betterment, one finds vitality and joy and gives the freedom to others to do the same. The Will to Love is the only assurance of survival and the thriving of all, including the self.
Which of these world views will you bring to others today?
We are aware that Nelson Mandela was a controversial figure in this life. He admitted to 156 acts of violence as a young man. Apparently, his view was to counteract oppression and violence with violence.
Yet, people change, sometimes toward bitterness and despair, other times toward a greater vision that we are all in this together. Mr. Mandela seems to have transformed in prison to seeing the humanity in all with the one exception of the unborn. Yes, he had a flaw there in not seeing deeply enough into the humanity of the most vulnerable.
It is for his stand against the evils of apartheid, a stand that ultimately became non-violent, that we say thank you. Thank you, Mr. Mandela, for your unwavering vision and amazing courage. You guided a nation in transition away from violence. It could have been very different.
One case in point: he invited his jailer to an honored place for the Presidential Inaugural Address.
He showed by his actions that forgiveness is the way back for South Africa.
As another case in point: How many reprisals against apartheid happened after he was elected? People listened.
“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” –Nelson Mandela.
He did not always see clearly, but he matured to see that political violence is no solution at all.
Rest in peace.