I have been involved in lots of groups. In all of these groups there have been people who insist that just about whatever we are trying to get done….simply cannot be done.
Among these people there are a subset who actually get angry at the idea that we are going to do something. Some are so adamant that this thing cannot be done that they actually start to attack the people who say it can be done, who have worked hard to plan this thing, prepared for this thing, and are asking/telling (in a work venue) other people to help do this thing.
They do this…in some if not most cases….because they feel hopeless and powerless.
And asking someone to do something that they feel helpless to do or powerless to do is VERY upsetting to most people. They have been told all of theor lives that they are hopeless, powerless and in many cases, worthless. To challenge them to go beyond that conditioning is running right into a wall of belief that has been built since the earliest days of childhood.
Which brings us to politics …and blogging.
Nowhere…nowhere in our lives do we as a People feel as hopeless or as powerless as we do when we address the political realm. We have had that helplessness and powerlessness hammered into our consciousness since birth. “You can’t fight City Hall” is just one of the powerful and obvious rhetorical bludgeons used to keep people from participating…and particularly participating Loudly…in politics.
Bad education, (hell they don’t even teach civics in High School anymore) various forms of voter suppression, a comfortingly dishonest news media and a slew of cultural messages from the movies and particularly the teevee shows that make up the circus side of the ages old bread and circuses strategy of politics that USED TO allow those in power to do what they wish without the spotlight of their pesky citizens/consumers being shined upon them all have produced a feeling of apathy and hopelessness and powerlessness that is precisely what allows our political system to be indemnified from the scrutiny participation by We, The People.
We have been told repeatedly, resoundingly and continuously throughout our lives that we are powerless, and we believe it.
And so we settle into our specifically engineered little lives, going to work everyday to produce the tax revenue that allows our government to kill and torture our Brothers and Sisters, pick up some unhealthy prepackaged Corporate food product on the way home to our little ticky tacky boxes, to sit in front of the teevee and let the very Corporations that are using us as revenue generating units program our minds some more….
Into thinking we are powerless to change their world.
And when someone dares to tell ‘us’ that we are NOT powerless, that change is possible, that we don’t have to accept their world as it is, a certain percentage of people get very, VERY scared. Because of what that means.
It means that there IS something we can do, that change is possible, that the comforting life that we have been sold as being “normal” is to some degree or another…at an end.
That WE have to take responsibility and become something more than consumers, that we have to become citizens. Citizens who shape their own world. Citizens who are not docile, not polite, not…..tranquil. In short, if we admit we have power…..we have to USE that power.
And what could be more scary, after a lifetime of being ordered and programmed not to use our individual power than to be faced with someone who is not only using theirs…but is insisting that YOU use yours.
There is, again to a certain percentage of humans, just nothing more scary than the thought of not just change…but of taking responsibility for that change.
They have been told that Others are the Authority. They have been programmed since the first time they heard the word NO! in a loud voice to obey authority, the have been taught that they cannot “fight The Law” and win….they have not only been programmed to do this…but they have bought into it, bought into the system….
Morpheus: The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.
In their quest to remain powerless, they will attack anyone who tells them they are not. They will attempt to shout down those calling for change and if that is not successful they will attack them. Because….
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
And so those of us who are working to change the world have to expect that attack, expect to be shouted down, expect to meet a fierce and unthinking resistance from those who think that they are powerless. From those who refuse to ask…why not?
“There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”
Perhaps our largest and most difficult task is to convince people that they are NOT powerless or helpless.
Or perhaps our task is to find a way to make change by going around the percentage of people who are so benumbed by the system that thye will fight change and those who wish to bring it to this sad and sorry world…to find those other citizens who DO want to fight.
Because with 7 billion people on the planet there are a LOT of them out there.
In China, the old joke goes…even if you are a one in a million guy there are still a thousand of you.
Or perhaps the challenge is to band enough one in a million guys together and SHOW THEM that they are NOT helpless by leading through example.
Perhaps it is that ONLY by seeing others use their own power, will those who THINK they are powerless dare to use theirs.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”