Wow! That’s a simple but overwhelming powerful message!
And it could be done!
Excellent sentiment. Pity we don’t have that long.
One always has to start somewhere – imagine the difference if only 1% of children were taught to meditate! Nothing would ever change if people considered the enormity of the challenge.
I do hear what you’re saying: the problem is that most people are not even aware of the enormity of the challenges facing us. Education is being stifled by ideologues who don’t want such challenges to even be considered.
There is very little point starting anywhere if one cannot get to where one needs to be from where one currently is.
You are absolutely right on one level, P, and totally wrong on another level.It’s insane to think that one person or a small group of people can make a difference in the enormous challenges we face in the world today. It was equally insane of MLK, or Ghandi, or the suffragettes, or the abolitionists or (fill in the blank) to think they could make a difference in the systemic injustice and sexism/racism/(fill in the blank). And yet that’s exactly what they did, against all odds. It’s crazy but it’s true – think about all the heroic stories we hold up in our culture – whether it’s David & Goliath, or Lord of the Rings, Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, or even The Hunger Games – the heroes are always up against insurmountable challenges, and things always seem very very bleak before the hero(es) win. Now, there’s no guarantee that we, collectively, as humanity will be able to successfully navigate through this bleak time in history. But those of us who are aware of what we are up against have to guard against despairing because of (1) the enormity of the task and (2)the fact that our numbers are small. Remember, as Frodo and his friends climbed towards Mordor, most of the hobbits are still back in the shire, blissfully unaware of the peril they are in.
While I applaud you for your continued optimism, the difference in our case is this: a great many hobbits in the Shire have been misled into fighting for Sauron; Frodo and Sam lie dying on the plain of Gorgoroth; the One Ring is clasped firmly in Gollum’s grubby mitt as he heads towards his master with the precious.
Sadly, we never hear those tales of the hero with a thousand faces when he doesn’t win.
I hear what you are saying, P. I would disagree that my approach is “optimistic”; in fact I would echo what I heard said once from an activist with many years under his belt. In response to our current crises, he stated that he was not optimistic but he was hopeful – because, as Rebecca Solnit says, “hope is the axe you break down the door with in an emergency”. That we are here on planet Earth at all is a miracle – the odds are stacked against us being here at all, and yet here we are, living and breathing and walking about on this “3rd rock from the sun”. As Nelson Mandela says (and he should know, because he was part of this kind of change) “it always seems impossible until it’s done”.
I can’t recommend Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone’s book “Active Hope: How to Face The Mess We’re In Without Going Crazy” highly enough, P. It begins with acknowledging the very very difficult realities of our time, and then goes on to “see this as the starting point of an amazing journey that strengthens us and deepens our aliveness. The purpose of this journey is to find, offer, and receive the gift of Active Hope….Active Hope is a practice. Like tai chi or gardening, it is something we DO rather than something we HAVE. It is a process we can apply to any situation, and it involves 3 key steps. First, we take a clear view of reality; second, we identify what we hope for in terms of the direction we’d like things to move in or the values we’d like to see expressed; and third, we take steps to move ourselves or our situation in that direction. Since Active Hope doesn’t require optimism, we can apply it even in areas where we feel hopeless. The guiding impetus is intention; we choose what we aim to bring about, act for, or express. Rather than weighing our chances and proceeding only when we feel hopeful, we focus on our intention and let it be our guide.”
The “Great Turning” we are experiencing is too important to miss out on because one assumes the outcome is a foregone conclusion! Indeed, as long as we’re breathing, there’s hope!
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