Whether humans are making war against each other or war against Mother Earth, whether homicide or matricide, it is all about treating others as objects, not subjects. 

NowThis News covers the dire situation faced by animal shelters in Ukraine. Organizations helping include UAnimals, Happy Paw, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and International Organization for Animal Protection.

It is about controlling others with all our might and the might of our minds and industries and weaponry and armies and bombs and missiles and threats of nuclear weapons as well.  It is Patriarchy playing out to its logical conclusions which include Dualism; and Control; and Power-Over.

If war is an attempt to rupture all relations, as we spoke of in yesterday’s DM, then it is also about the following: Abolishing relationships; ending them; finishing them; terminating them; doing away with them; extinguishing them, obliterating them, annihilating them, demolishing them, devastating them, razing them, wiping them out, breaking them, spoiling them, trashing them, wrecking them, ruining them, crushing them, subduing them, demolishing them, overcoming and overthrowing them, wiping them out.

Bombs destroy a Ukrainian maternity and children’s hospital in a tactic recognized and described by veteran journalists as Russian ethnic cleansing. Video by CNN.

And this is what we see daily on our media and television screens going on in Ukraine.  We are all invited to see this wrecking party we call war up close and personal.

Can this reality cause humanity to wake up and say: “Enough!  War is obsolete.  We can put it behind us.  There is a different ‘war’ we must wage, the ‘war’ against climate change.” 

Earth’s suffering is our common enemy.  Let us direct our energies to that struggle and the struggles inside us that render wars possible.  That struggle can unite us.  To hell with our ideologies that lead us to demolishing all our relations.  Including our relations to Mother Earth. 

“Pale Blue Dot” – photographed by Voyager from about 3.7 billion miles, Earth appears as the bluish-white speck roughly halfway down the thin brown band to the right (Wikipedia)

Let us light a fire on behalf of loving Mother Earth and defending her.  Let us put aside wars of human vs human in favor of all humans opposing the death of Mother Earth as we know her.

Can the war in Ukraine be our last war of human against human?

Remember the photos from Voyager 1 where that satellite created by humans traveled beyond our solar system and on looking back photographed its journey.  What we see is a number of lights along the way and one is marked by scientists “Earth.”  Home.  Our common home.

We can unite to save our common home.  That is what eco-justice is all about.  Let our human-against-human wars go.  They are obsolete. 

We can do this, can’t we?


See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society;

Also see Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Refugees from the destroyed city of Irpin, Ukraine, flee to Kyiv. Photo by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. Wikimedia Commons.

Queries for Contemplation

Can humans learn from the Ukraine war that war of human against human is obsolete?  And that by focusing on the future of Mother Earth and bringing our powers for battle to bear collectively on climate change and ecocide, we can begin anew in our relationships with one another?


Recommended Reading

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God


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12 thoughts on “Ukraine: The War to End Wars?”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, Today you ask in our Query for Contemplation: “Can humans learn from the Ukraine war that war of human against human is obsolete?” They can, but the question is will they? “And that by focusing on the future of Mother Earth and bringing our powers for battle to bear collectively on climate change and ecocide, we can begin anew in our relationships with one another?” I believe that if we can unite around the questions of climate change and ecocide, we won’t have enough time to be messing with wars. If the earth is to be saved it will take all of us, we can’t afford to have any nation not on board with this…

  2. Avatar

    I applaud your optimistic and hopeful perspective on what u think the focus of humankind ought to be, and feel it can be. But I do think it’s excessively optimistic, and not consistent with the biblical perspective on spiritually unredeemed, unregenerated human nature, which comprises the vast majority of earth’s population at any given time in its history. Despite the truth in your cogent point that “war is obsolete,” do u not think that after all these centuries of bloody battling, that leaders of nations would have got it by now? Hardly. It’s a bit late in the game for that — especially with climate change. Left to itself, faith in humankind as a whole is not something God has, save for a remnant. That’s why Christ has to come again, to put an end to the altogether human tendency to destroy sacred things. Ordinary citizens of every country don’t want wars, or want to create them. It’s those who rise to power who do, and the powers of darkness are never more active or concentrated than in those who seek their own political, ambitious, and material gain who rule the world, and always have. Biblical history declares as much, as do our history books. Solomon was correct, “there is nothing new under the sun.” The only thing new in the world is the history that you don’t know. Says here, and in the Word, that the kind of global redemption you’re looking for will not come without direct divine intervention. Pray that it comes quickly. However, I do believe there will be more tribulation to come.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Joe, I think the problem of your assessment of Matthew’s meditation for today is that you do not understand Creation Spirituality (which is what Matthew and I are all about).
      1. You say, ” I do think it’s excessively optimistic, and not consistent with the biblical perspective on spiritually unredeemed, unregenerated human nature” which suggests a belief in Original Sin, While Matthew teaches “Original Blessing.”
      2. You say, ” Left to itself, faith in humankind as a whole is not something God has, save for a remnant. That’s why Christ has to come again…” which shows you do not understand the eschatology that he teaches in THE COMING OF THE COMSIC CHRIST.
      3. You say, “Solomon was correct, ‘there is nothing new under the sun.’ The only thing new in the world is the history that you don’t know.” I beg to differ, I studied with Matthew in my doctoral studies and I can say without apology, Matthew is an amazing historian of Church history and has translated the works of a number of religious figures throughout history, such as, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Aquinas and others.
      4. And finally I must say that when you say, “the kind of global redemption you’re looking for will not come without direct divine intervention. Pray that it comes quickly. However, I do believe there will be more tribulation to come.” From your words here I would guess you are a conservative Christian of some kind–especially with your belief in a literal Second Coming of Christ and the idea of the tribulation. If so I think you will be frustrated that what Matthew says does not agree with you…

  3. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    As an empath, I was deeply pained hearing the heart wrenching news of the bombing of the maternity/children’s hospital… along with the news of the likely leakage of radiation from the nuclear plant in Ukraine. I wept from a deep place within my soul and the only prayer I was able to utter was “Oh God.”

    Through the tears and the sorrowful pain, Spirit reminded me of an ancient wisdom teaching that says out of chaos, comes completion… and that after completion there is a new beginning… which begins with a new focus, taking on substance and form. I’d like to believe that out of the chaos of ages upon ages of war, that humanity has learnt that it is indeed neccessary to completely bring an end to All war that leads to death, the utter destruction of All life and the existence of this on Earth. I’d like to believe that LOVE is stronger than all the principalities and powers of war.

    Spirit then used the horrifying images that I had been exposed to, to open my heart to seeing something else. Like the pregnant mothers, fleeing from the rubble of wars destruction, seeking safe refuge, that I too can choose to protect the new egg… seeded, with the possibility of a new beginning gestating within our one shared soul womb… the hope of seeing LOVE… unfolding, evolving and emerging within humanity. I can choose as one of the many midwives, to focus on being and living (which believing means)… on becoming the substance and form of this LOVE… within ALL my relationships… determined to understand this LOVE that gives and births new life… imaging myself and hopefully reflecting, mirroring, and expressing this to others… no matter how imperfectly.

    Though there be ardous birthing pains within this unfolding, evolving and emerging new birth of becoming and being ONED WITH the true nature and essence of this LOVE… I can choose to breathe into this new life… to tend to, to nurture, to care for this inherent goodness already within me, others and the all and the everything of creation… focusing on giving substance and form to this, from within… within ALL my relationships.

    This I can choose to do, again and again daily… no matter how many times I may stumble and fall… not alone, but also in the community of others whom are choosing to do the same… carrying and picking each other up… pressing on and moving forward… crossing over the bridge of the chaos of completion… into the flowing river of new beginnings… one step at a time, one day at a time.

  4. Avatar

    War of any sort is the destruction of all, not only the “enemy”. So let’s come up with a new way of rising to the existential Climate (and interconnected) Crises- without falling into another War analogy. What metaphor will fit better?

  5. Avatar
    Monica K Olinger

    I am attempting to articulate a response to today’s message, Matthew, I know that personally, some of the most painful situations I have had to face and allowed myself to feel, brought me to a more meaningful and nourishing life. Maybe the collective consciousness of many humans seeing this rupture of so much we know is good and sacred and feeling the pain collectively can open our hearts. Maybe this can bring us to a unity where we know wars in all dimensions must end. It is a paradox, for sure in the linear way of thinking, but it may be the truth that truly spiritual teachings have been saying and most of us haven’t been awakened to yet, but maybe NOW may be the time we humans are ready for transformation in a way once unimaginable.
    Thank you, Matthew, for your part and those whose writings you share with us. It has been a gift to me and I sense others may also be moved.

  6. Avatar

    For the past several years, my dominant emotion has been fury. The rape of Ukraine has not mitigated it. I am little able to look at the fruits of humanity and entertain even a ghost of hope that it is interested in a change of course.
    We are applying for grants from humanitarian organizations to be able to host Ukranian refugees.
    But what of the refugees in this country — we pass hundreds of homeless people existing in the most brutal conditions every time we go to buy groceries. What of the maternity patients in this country, denied medical care for pregnancy complications by laws passed by fundamentalist misogynists—using the outrageous claim of protecting “life” ! ! ! When they turn from signing *that* law to protecting gun violence! Political interests insist on entrenching poverty and denial of medical care and food to people they consider unworthy—and *churches* are helping them! And (warning! trite phrase ahead) *we the people* have virtually nothing to say about these policies because the only *people* who matter to lawmakers are wealthy corporate interests.
    Like others in this post my prayers can only be “Mercy. Please.” As suggested in your books, I read and study and think about my own responsibility and try to honor it as much as possible, but my heart never stops hurting because of the influence of the powerful—the rich and the clergy—in fomenting division, hatred, misogyny, racism, and wars.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Olive, I wholeheartedly agree with everything you say, but “the rich and clergy”–I’ve been a minister for over 35 years and believe me, I’m not anywhere rich! Lol

  7. Avatar

    Matthew, I hope and pray that you are right. For the past few years, we have been subjected to the plagues of totalitarianism at home and abroad, the pandemic, and now a war, and those on top of the longstanding crisis of climate change. There have been lesson after lesson that should teach us that we are indeed all one and that the only wars should be spiritual ones against the plagues.

    But WW I was the war to end all wars, WW II was to save the world for democracy—and yet, as you point out, there is the irony of war creating community of various sorts–NATO, the UN, the state of Israel, after WW II, to name a few. And there have also been great medical advantages from every war and social changes such as better benefits for veterans, and after Viet Nam, the Americans for Disability Act fueled by veterans.

    When I was in college, many decades ago, two women spoke at various times: Eleanor Roosevelt, who was impressive even as an old lady, and a woman who survived the Holocaust. The latter’s only message was that we must not let it happen again. And yet, genocide after genocide plagued the 20th century and still goes on today in Ukraine, and elsewhere. Ukraine is simply the latest heart breaking example. Martin Buber’s “I and Thou” explained the unexplainable–how can these atrocities happen over and over again–as Matthew says, because we objectify the other so that we can rationalize hating and destroying them. There are so many good and loving people, and I pray that our world can be tipped toward paying attention to what matters. At the same time, I have been asking God every day, “How can you continue to love us and to forgive us?”

    By the way, the three books that most moved me along the spiritual path are Buber’s, Matthew’s “Original Blessing”, and William James’ “The Varieties of Religious Experience”. These naturally led to many others over the decades. Thank you, Mathew. Take care of yourself. This awful war is taking a visible toll on you. Bless you.

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