Often, people want to help. They want to see things change. However, the structures of their lives and worldview create barriers to engaging in sustainable activism. The television schedule itself can be grueling, not to mention work, children, and shopping. There is just so much to do!
Trying to figure out how to make sense of the knot of grief/fear/anger/worry in the pit of one’s stomach is not easy to do, because at a certain point of facing the truth of one’s heart it becomes necessary to question the integrity and viability of constructed reality. The culture of misinformation has led many people to be almost entirely oblivious that there is a problem or terribly confused about what the problem is.
“What am I giving up and why am I giving it up?”
These are the sort of questions that can cause the world as we know it to slip a little, to cause a rift in which a tiny seed of dissonance begins to unfurl.
“How can I go on living like this? How can I not live like this? What am I doing? What has happened to the world?”
It is no wonder that people go to such lengths to distract themselves, to numb themselves, to try so hard to find comfort and to find safety.
These tendencies can dissuade us from activism, can exhaust and confuse us. Seeing the world from the perspective of an activist (any sort of activist) requires that we see the world differently than perhaps we had before. The shift from feeling helpless and overwhelmed to feeling empowered with strategic clarity and coherent understanding of the forces at work within our lives in the world is nothing short of a transformative re-orientation of conscious understanding.
Such things are not for the faint of heart. It takes enormous bravery to imagine a different world, a different life.
Many people do not realize that simply by changing themselves, they are changing the world. When we see the world differently we move about in it differently, communicating with new words, seeing new relationships, beginning to grasp the impact that our interactions with person and resource have on the outcome of a day, a week, a life, the world. We make different choices.
It is not easy to change your life.
At some point, most people deeply and sincerely want to save the world. In childhood, this often takes the form of imagined super-heroics with awesome powers and stealth identity. For some children, it is the feeling of nighttime at the kitchen table, writing a letter that the teacher assigned you to write and suddenly hoping that the president will read your words and, noticing how carefully you spaced your lines, decide to stop the wars and save the oceans.
At what point in the process of human psychosocial development do we stop believing that it is possible to change the world? What happens to those of us who cannot and/or will not stop believing it is possibly to change the world?