*How It Should Be

It’s difficult to make the move from how things are to how they should be, whether individually or collectively. As John Jost of The Situationist summarizes from his research:

Whether because of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, social class, gender, or sexual orientation or because of policies and programs that privilege some at the expense of others, or even because of historical accidents, genetic disparities, or the fickleness of fate, certain social systems serve the interests of some stakeholders better than others. Yet historical and social scientific evidence shows that most of the time the majority of people – regardless of their own social class or position – accept and even defend the legitimacy of their social and economic systems and manage to maintain a “belief in a just world.”

I’m not big on revolutions, and revolutions have bewildered me in the way that people turn to violence to overthrow the very violence they hate. But I now wonder if it takes such a force of will to move past the defense of things as they are, that the energy of such a movement is either generated or generates revolutionary fervour.

It is a similar phenomenon to the addict who has to hit bottom before making a change, or the person whose life reaches a crisis point before a willingness to leave a miserable situation or get counselling.

Surely there are better ways to overcome inertia and defensiveness. I’d like to find out what those are. As our world faces economic and environmental challenges, I think that finding those better ways is vital. Any ideas? Research? Successful and peaceful examples?

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6 responses

  1. and any ideas on how to explain it all to a 5 y.o.

  2. Five year olds don’t have to learn it all at age five. They need to know about their corner of the world and their family’s rules to make it a good corner. I talked to my children about homelessness at that age. The talk included some reasons (mental illness, poverty) but mainly emphasized our responsibility to help others less fortunate than we are.

  3. Oh gosh, you ask the most thought-provoking questions, LN. I had a feeling, just the other day, of despair. Of just paddling through life, not shaping it. All I can ever do is affect the tiny world around me—my friends, my garden, my home, my devotion to minimalism, right eating, no materialism. I should be able to do more.

    1. Beth, you don’t know how much you affect. That’s the hard thing. We’re driven to outcomes, to envy (at least I am tonight) people who do the large because that seems more worthwhile. Maybe it’s a defense, because otherwise we’d look at what is really large, geological time or star-time and feel way too small to bear. But there’s another way. Not that I’m on it right this moment, but I know of it. And the other way is to be a part of–and, in being a part of, doing what you’re doing in your corner of the world is just right. And if we can join hands, then we can feel what is already the truth, which is that every part is a part of the light and so infinite.

  4. unless, of course, they see the magazines in the grocery with pictures of wars and riots and start asking questions… not that this has happened to me :)

    1. What questions do you get from your children?

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