Fear – The Root of Violence
The following is the 20th chapter in, “AWARENESS: A de Mellow Spirituality Conference in His Own Words” by Fr. Anthony de Mello, S.J. edited by J. Francis Stroud, S.J., Copyright © 1990 by the DeMello Stroud Spirituality Center.
“Some say that there are only two things in the world: God and fear; love and fear are the only two things. There’s only one evil in the world, fear. There’s only one good in the world, love. It’s sometimes called by other names. It’s sometimes called happiness or freedom or peace or joy or God or whatever. But the label doesn’t really matter. And there’s not a single evil in the world that you cannot trace to fear. Not one.
“Ignorance and fear, ignorance caused by fear, that’s where all the evil comes from, that’s where your violence comes from. The person who is truly nonviolent, who is incapable of violence, is the person who is fearless. It’s only when you’re afraid that you become angry. Think of the last time you were angry. Go ahead. Think of the last time you were angry and search for the fear behind it. What were you afraid of losing? What were you afraid would be taken from you? That’s where the anger comes from. Think of an angry person, maybe someone you’re afraid of. Can you see how frightened he or she is? He’s really frightened, he really is. She’s really frightened or she wouldn’t be angry. Ultimately, there are only two things, love and fear.
“In this retreat I’d rather leave it like this, unstructured and moving from one thing to another and returning to themes again and again, because that’s the way to really grasp what I’m saying. If it doesn’t hit you the first time, it might the second time, and what doesn’t hit one person might hit another. I’ve got different themes, but they are all about the same thing. Call it awareness, call it love, call it spirituality or freedom or awakening or whatever. It really is the same thing.”