No Permanent Enemies
NO PERMANENT ENEMIES, NO PERMANENT ALLIES. ONLY PERMANENT INTERESTS.
[Ed.: blog post from 2014 now thoroughly revised]
I googled it recently: “NO PERMANENT ENEMIES. NO PERMANENT ALLIES. ONLY PERMANENT INTERESTS.” It’s attributed to all kinds of people, and not strictly the provenance where I found it. It was not one of the 12 Rules for Radicals. With so many sources, let’s call it Worldly Wisdom 101.
It baffled me and teased me nevertheless. I couldn’t quite buy it. Doesn’t the New Message show me that relationships are permanent, the only true and permanent accomplishment from this life? The first part, “NO PERMANENT ENEMIES,” yes.
NO PERMANENT ENEMIES
There are no true enemies in life, for all war and conflict are born of confusion…. in Knowledge all are your friends. You recognize each person to be at whatever stage of development he or she is currently engaged.–Steps to Knowledge, Step 288
This–no permanent enemies–is easier to grasp than NO PERMANENT ALLIES. The simplicity of that resolution in Step 288:
Enemies Are Only Friends Who Have Not Learned To Join.
This is a hopeful and redemptive message, but what about the second part: NO PERMANENT ALLIES?
NO PERMANENT ALLIES
It is true, isn’t it. Relationships are based on what you can do together.
The aligned interest comes first.
ONLY PERMANENT INTERESTS.
You have a primary relationship with God, and you experience this relationship primarily through the deeper intelligence that God has placed within you, a deeper mind within you called Knowledge. This is your most primary relationship and responsibility. It is not a relationship with a set of beliefs or with an institution. It is not necessarily a relationship with an ideology or with one religion particularly. It is really, in its purest sense, your relationship with God.
People hold this relationship to be quite secondary—secondary to their families, secondary to their personal interests, secondary to often political or cultural associations, secondary to their national identity or their cultural identity or heritage and so forth. But, really, this relationship is the most primary relationship, and it is your primary responsibility, or ability to respond, to this relationship.
God speaks to you through Knowledge. That is the well of your conscience. It is not a social conscience, a conscience that has been instigated or influenced to make you behave and believe according to the dictates or the values of a particular culture. It is a far deeper conscience. It is inherent in your being. It is the foundation of your awareness. It is this that tells you what is right and what is wrong, fundamentally, and provides the foundation for your ethical understanding of life and your participation with others. –The First Commitment (September 25, 2008)