Quote:If activists integrated Self-Work as part of their transformative process, not only would they be more effective and healthier (physically, psychologically, and spiritually), but their impact on society would move beyond minor accommodations to a deeper paradigm shift. Due to this deficiency of self-work, many “well intentioned” activists, swept away by their righteous anger in the “revolutionist mindset” become just as aggressive and as the aggressors they vehemently oppose. Violence is all too often met with violence as police brutality is met with rioting (an understandable yet self-defeating reaction), and “in-fighting” by activists against other well-intentioned activists exacerbates our challenges just simply having a difference of opinion. This hyper-aggression only serves to perpetuate violence which could otherwise be resolved with responsible self-awareness, compassion, critical thinking, and a broader perspective. This is the obstacle humanity has yet to overcome, and, as the saying goes, “When people do not learn their lessons, history repeats itself.”
There are many people speaking out about the atrocities and injustices of the world, and oftentimes it comes with a lot of finger-pointing and hostility. Understandable. Who wouldn’t be upset? The problems of the world often seem insurmountable and sometimes the weight of life wears down even the best of us. As important as honoring our healthy boundaries and anger is, dwelling in anger causes us to miss out on the richness of higher understanding.
It’s important to keep in mind that the moment we demonize or vilify those who disagree with us or do things differently, we commit an act of violence by severing an opportunity to learn and find loving empathy and compassion to resolve conflict. We cannot hold on to spite and vengeance, for the problems of the world are too enormous, and hostility, no matter how small, simply creates more violence. We must become more mindful, understanding, and conscious in our behavior if we are to ask others to do the same.
Time shows us that even in the most dark of circumstances, there is understanding and love to be found, within and without, for all things serve a purpose in objective reality. As difficult as it can be to come to terms with, all moments of life are like lessons in the school of Earth. It is rightfully natural to be angry, afraid, sad, and defensive, passively or aggressively, but for the sake of transformation and growth, we must not stop there.
Justice is neither avoidance or vengeance; it is taking responsibility by utilizing the opportunity to see things clearly through gaining knowledge, healing, and, ultimately, understanding and finding forgiveness by seeing the greater context, which ultimately leads to compassion. With communication comes new perspective. With new perspective comes new understanding. With understanding comes connection. With connection comes love. And in the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
If we, as activists, ever want to realistically live in a world wherein people are well-educated, empathic, and responsible enough to be sovereign and easily resolve (or avoid altogether) social injustices, we must embody the very maturity and virtue we ask from others. We must strive to be a living example of the principles and ideals we uphold.
– Humberto Braga
"We check and repress the divinity that stirs within us, to fall down and worship the divinity that is dead without us."
-- Henry David Thoreau, 1851
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