“The quarrel is between our masters, and us their men.” — Gregory, Romeo and Juliet.
After years of following politics closely we came to two vital realisations.
- The only person you can control is yourself. That’s it. You can’t control the president or his aides. You can’t control troop deployments or border policy. You can’t control the markets. Politically the only thing you can control is who you vote for and even that is from a very narrow list of options. Financially the only thing you can control is what you buy and what you attempt to sell. Even when selling you have very limited control, since the purchase is up to the buyer.
- No one really understands what’s going on. Even people who are very well educated, widely travelled and have experience in a number of different fields only really know the parts of the world which are relevant to them. Most people do not have in-depth knowledge about religion, even their own faith, or political ideologies, especially those they don’t follow. Normal people don’t have security clearance for classified information. Even many people in government don’t know what’s really taking place.
It was these two realizations which lead to the creation of Toke for Tolerance. Our festival will bring together people of faith over four days for prayer, discussion, text comparison and mediation. Marijuana will be used to break down inhibitions and enable the creation of a space of radical honesty.
If we can only control ourselves and don’t really understand the reality of what’s going on, then why should we allow ourselves to be led by established interests into conflict with one another? Instead why not meet and sit together as individuals, and talk. When we can see each other as fellow human travellers, and not as members of opposing sides in a political debate, we will be able to discuss calmly and effectively how to lower tension.
That’s why we want to bring together faith communities, in particular Muslims and Jews. These communities have many similarities but due to political allegiances can wind up in very vicious personal disputes with people from other faith groups, when no conflict need to have existed.
This isn’t about getting together to come up with a solution to Israel/Palestine or a plan to fix partisan deadlock in Washington. It’s about forming a strategy to stop those things – which are out of our hands and which we don’t really understand – from dividing us as individuals.
When we learn how to do that, maybe we can do anything.