A recent conversation got me thinking about change and how we can best facilitate it. The conversation started by discussing the age-old Stones vs. Beatles battle… about how that discussion could, forty years ago and still today, dramatically cause great divisions. It moved (naturally) on from there to the polarization in our western societies between what sometimes seems to be a strong, fundamentalist, conservative approach in many facets of politics and leadership in contrast with the anti-establishment, power-fighting, “off-the-gridders” who are battling every day for belief systems. The conversation was about the folks in between these two… factions… and how lost they can feel when they can’t trust the government, don’t have the time or energy to fight the pharmaceutical companies, insurance corporations and big banks, but also can’t sit idly by watching ineffectual leadership roll over the population.
My concern is that the anti-establishment groups, those who fight the power, have become almost knee-jerk in their battle stance and, with the help of social media, have begun to alienate those who are trying to find a way to jump on board. I am INUNDATED on a regular basis on Facebook with protest rallies, anti-government war cries, environmental disaster petitions, letter-writing calls to action and general demands for consensus on how absolutely crappy everything is, to the point that I don’t even look very closely anymore at what many of my friends know is important. They want me to be involved. I want to be involved, but I’ve been so beaten down with information and demands for action, that I’ve nearly shut off completely. This isn’t working.
Someone I love dearly has written a book. That’s about all the specifics I can give at this point, but I can tell you that this book has only charged this particular thought-path to an even greater extent. This book is a war cry in the form of a small, innocuous novel about ping-pong… well, it’s not REALLY about ping-pong, but you’ll find out more about that later. This book has awakened an old sense in me. It demonstrates the grass-roots, intensely human methods behind rising up against corruption and misguided abuse of power. It is about conversation and action and all of what we’ve been trained to believe are the greatest costs of all.
We have stopped prioritizing our lives by quality and freedom and begun to qualify this existence by THINGS… things that keep us busy, keep us hurting, keep us distracted. We worry too much about our jobs. We are terrified of losing THINGS. We are petrified at the idea of losing money, stuff, status, and we’ve stopped being brave. This is what has happened to the people in the middle – the “slaves” as some call us. We want to fight, but we’re not willing to lose. We want justice, but not at the cost of our jobs, or our cars. We want to win freedom, but not at the expense of remaining friendly polite and obeying the rules.
It will be a slow change, if at all, but I believe in the slow awakening. I believe that we are slowly peeling back the layers… and the wool. It’s fascinating to watch the polarization and to see the many human ways that we respond to intimidation. It’s glorious to be alive at a time that will define human existence and I’m glad for the conversations. Let’s keep having them.