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We Don’t Choose Our Enemies, They Choose Us. Arturo Pérez-Reverte

The Gospels state that “Love will conquer”, and therefore that love is stronger than anything else, and that it can conquer hatred and all the baseness of the world. To be so powerful, this love must be divine, and after all, we’re only human. So what can we do if someone has designated us as their enemy? Can we really escape a brutal, confrontational outcome?

Friendship Is A Mutual Choice, Unlike Enmity

We can’t be everyone’s friend, because that implies consent. However, we can, if we so wish, become everyone’s enemy. By dint of willpower and malice, anyone can sow hatred and fear in people’s hearts. On the face of it, Arturo Pérez-Reverte would be right: we are doomed to become the enemy of those who have designated us as such. Is there any way to avoid falling into this trap?

Enmity Has No Place In A Society

The very principle of a society is the collaboration of its members, in order to redirect any tension onto outsiders (foreign countries, for example). This is why acts of enmity (aggression, theft, etc.) are normally severely punished when they take place within a society, and generally lead to the ostracization or exclusion of the perpetrators.

An enemy who has chosen us wishes to bring us down to his level. He wants to make fear, hatred or aversion our daily life. In a state governed by the rule of law, there is in principle no room for vengeance. Nevertheless, where the state fails, the logic of vendetta sets in. Revenge is no more and no less than a way of settling conflicts in geographical eras where the law does not apply. If the state cannot defend us, and someone wishes to be our enemy, then we cannot shirk our duty to act accordingly to deter future attacks.

It All Depends On Your Level Of Awareness

The Gospels are not wrong in principle: love triumphs over all because it is the fruit of a level of consciousness based not on strength but on power. Love is independent of the object loved, but proceeds from the subject from which that love emanates. Not being totally divine, there are limits to our love. However, by constant effort, whether through prayer or various purifications, we can raise our consciousness and see the friend behind the apparent enemy.

Think And Act Like Jesus And Other Great Masters

A person takes us for an enemy because he sees only the superficial part of who we are (our religion, our race, our nation, our culture etc.). These elements, while constitutive of our identity, cannot by themselves sum up who we really are. They conceal a much deeper and more complete identity, divine in essence. An act of enmity towards us is an attempt to lower our consciousness in order to fall back into logics of identity. When people attack us, they want to make us forget our divine dimension, to call us back to animal reflexes. It’s important to defend oneself, to preserve one’s physical and moral integrity, which can give rise to acts of coercion or demonstrations of force, without losing our noble and sublime dimension.

We Don’t Choose Our Friends, They Choose Us

Behind every enemy lies a potential friend. It seems naive to put it this way. Of course, there are unforgivable acts of enmity that can never lead to friendship. Nevertheless, if the enemy is mistaken and open to recognizing our nobler dimension and forgetting the masks we wear, then there is potentially room for enemies to turn out to be true friends. The history of the world is in constant repetition, and those who win are those who manage to influence people’s hearts and minds. For love to win, millions of hearts must not sink into sad passions, and must manage to maintain a high level of goodness. This is a very difficult effort to achieve when surrounded by enmity, but it’s also under these conditions that the quality of one’s soul is tested.

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