Hopeful Thinking: Keals so good
I love creative elimination shows. There are so many of them out there. Home design challenges crafting, baking, metalwork, glass blowing, upcycling reclaimed objects, even tattoos.
I truly enjoy seeing how the contestants’ skills fare against both one another and the clock. Of course the artisans’ individual stories help further make for good television as we develop an emotional attachment between the contestants and ourselves as viewers.
Recently, I was watching the series “Forged in Fire” about blacksmiths forging their own versions of ancient weaponry when I became curious about something that show participant and weapons specialist Doug Marcaida says after he tests each weapon for lethality.
If the weapon is sufficiently made, he proclaims the contestant’s success by stating, “It will KEAL.”
As someone who often watches television with the subtitles on in order to catch some of the nuances of speaking and terminology, I was made curious by the obvious acronym of the all-capitalized word appearing at the bottom of my screen.
One would think he would be telling them that the weapons “will kill“ if they were made successfully. What does the word KEAL mean?
I found out that Marcaida’s personal experience with martial arts and the concept of death crafted in him an ideology that turns the notion of death combat into one of firm self-defense.
“It’s not about how many you hurt, it’s about how many you protect,” Marciada believes. KEAL means “keep everyone alive.”
Not only is that cute and quippy, it also represents a profound new movement within our human society to consider reframing our experience and words toward ones that are affirming rather than destructive.
A sword is still a sword. It has the same potential to kill, maim, and destroy. but the philosophy behind its use is a radical departure. And one which far better educates the wielder of such weapons toward how he or she might apply its lethality. To save, preserve, and protect, rather than to kill.
That’s not to say that a killing might not take place in the process of preserving life, but it reduces the likelihood that a death must occur in order for the innocent to be protected. In its way, it is seeking to end cycles of violence.
In what other ways might we reframe our thinking with regard to the words we use? How might we reconsider our concepts and methodologies in a way that gently helps bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice?
Medicine is one thing that comes to mind. Nearly all medicine in the U.S. is practiced with its profitability based on a fee for treatment of people’s illness. But some pilot programs have already shown that making the profitability based on people’s wellness instead saves both money, and lives.
It makes it so that doctors are being rewarded for keeping people out of the hospital rather than encouraging them to enter it. Even the most well-intentioned medical professionals are subliminally and subconsciously compelled to create revenue, which is, by and large, accomplished through the treatment of illness and the fees paid for it.
When doctors are incentivized toward patient wellness and improvement in health rather than for illness, they are able to better respond to patients in ways which don’t require them to bill for every service. Patients can contact their doctors by email or phone and not necessarily have to come into the clinic at all.
The methods, figures, and statistics on the success of this model are out there. Look them up.
Where else could we do this? What other ways could we incentivize the health of our human society where we currently react only to trauma or tragedy?
How can we make peace more profitable than war? How might we turn the old world on its head in order to truly see ourselves in the eyes of our neighbor?
Only our boundless creativity and inherent compassion will answer these questions. And the more we seek to embody them, the better our world shall become.
Wil Darcangelo, M.Div, is a Unitarian Universalist minister at the First Parish of Fitchburg and the First Church of Lancaster. Email email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok @wildarcangelo. His blog, Hopeful Thinking, can be found at www.hopefulthinkingworld.blogspot.com.