The speech "Humane Evolution" that I delivered at the 28th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on March 13, 2015:
Torture is a global epidemic. This viral practice has infected and defiled international culture to the extent that a mere quarantine simply will not suffice; what is needed is an aggressive purification, a relentless purge, a cleansing that is intolerant of corruption. The injustice system worldwide must be reformed. The ends do not justify the means. We cannot justify criminal means to fight crime; we cannot terrorize to fight terrorism. We cannot devalue human life in the name of preserving it.
Information and evidence gathered by unethical means may be admissible in a court of law, but is unacceptable in the Court of Life. The global power elite subscribe to an amoral philosophy that it is right to do wrong as long as one theorizes that good will come of the evil done. But what good can come of evil? It is never right to do wrong. They are only concerned with the consequences of their behavior, not whether their actions are right or wrong. Two wrongs do not make a right.
The spiritual bedrock of all enlightened beings, is not just the philosophy that one should always do what is right; it is also the philosophy that one should do what is right, right now; for the illuminated individual lives and acts in the present moment, and with the present moment alone is he concerned. When one acts righteously, one needn't concern oneself with the consequences of one's actions: doing the right thing is always the right thing to do.
Agencies, institutions, installations, and entities, inclusive of those clandestine, bureaucratic, military, and corporate almost unilaterally function from a consequentialist point of view, espousing a philosophy that denotes that their goals--professedly good--be accomplished by any means necessary, even if those means are themselves evil.
To torture and terrorize in the name of fighting terrorism and torture is the most ironic hypocrisy. When we succumb to utilizing the tactics and methodologies of opponents to peace in order to counter terror, what then separates us from those we oppose? What have we become? If we descend to their moral level, we become what we hate. And we also contribute to the becoming of those we oppose; torture radicalizes the radicals, to terrorize a person generate the terrorist; when we adopt the strategies of our enemies, we don't just hate them--we create them. Thus, we are faced with a vicious cycle: torture breeds terrorism, and terrorism breeds torture.
However, I am merely patronizing for the sake of argument by entertaining the idea that those who harm in order to help, really intend to help at all, but to maintain--and extend the boundaries of--an insidious imperial order: those fearful of losing power will do anything to retain it; those greedy for more power will do everything to attain it.
We, the people, are told that secrecy is justified by security, when, in fact, more often than not, it is truly a means by which to conceal unspeakable wrongdoings. Furthermore, as disturbing as the leaked reports of secret torture are, it can only be imagined what covert tortures are yet unknown to us; accordingly, it is insufficient that we solely scrutinize the heinous activities we know of; it is also our responsibility to investigate those acts which we are unaware of.
Militaries, intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies, and detention facilities must be held accountable. And they mustn't be merely forthcoming, but profoundly ethical; they must be more than translucent--they must be translucid.
Endless preoccupation with, scrutiny of, and debate over policies and politics is both futile and foolish; this has not worked so far, and will never work; these are matters of the mind, and we must get to the heart of the matter--which is the human heart.
In the course of human evolution, have we undergone humane evolution? Has there been spiritual evolution parallel to the development of our intellect? It is not enough that we be revolutionaries; we must be evolutionaries. I call not just for a global revolution--I call for a global evolution.
Copyright © Lydia Canaan 2017