So we meet again. I was beginning to think that I was hanging up my blogging pen. (Which doesn't exist I compose these from a keyboard). I have been musing on a few things lately and I think they have coalesced into some sort of sense.
I tend to call friends to talk on my daily walks with the dog. I am very grateful for both the walks and the talks. They have kept me within sight of sanity the past year. During my talk walks, I've often batted a few ideas around. One of them has to do with ideas that we cling to during challenging times. Specifically living through our ideals. I used to think idealism was a good thing. I still think it may be in theory, but life is not theory, it is practice. Social media has become a pressure cooker for ideas and how they affect ourselves and those around us. The problem is that we have made ideas more important than people. I have done this too, and I am ashamed of how easy it is to fall into. The problem with living in a world of ideas is that they are abstract concepts, people are not. We need to be able to imagine and extrapolate, but far too often we treat others like set pieces in our ideas and we lash out when they don't follow the roles that complement our ideal imagining.
A particularly vulgar idea which has been dressed up in pretty party clothes is the idea of being 'chosen'. It pervades our literature, movies, and religions. Basically the idea that some people are chosen to do great things, chosen because they are inherently good. This trope works well in stories, not so much in real life. The people in history who made great changes did so because of their experiences and how those shaped them. They saw something that needed changing and 'chose' to do something about it. People not prophecies bring about change. To choose is more powerful than being chosen. The other side of this is the idea that changing the world is about being special and important. Which one of us hasn't secretly harbored fantasies of being beloved by many, being the hero, saving the world? The thing is saving the world is a group effort, and what does it even mean to save the world? Similar to the cries of people over the last year who wanted things to go back to normal, we have to ask, what is normal? Is normal desirable?
We all have a personal mythology even if we don't subscribe to any spiritual belief system. You can be a scientific materialist and you still have an inner mythology. It just looks different and uses more clinical sounding language. The chosen one become the genius innovator or visionary tech magnate. The thing is solutions and positive change don't always come from sources we recognize. Wealthy tech billionaire playboys are unlikely to have solutions to the world's pressing problems (sorry Tony Stark), because they don't tend to be as affected by those problems. Some of those problems they may have even created or worsened. People who step forth to make changes and confront injustices are most often those that have lived through them. They don't offer us shiny branded utopias. They take us a step forward. Just like us they have their faults. They have been broken and found a way to piece enough of themselves together to try and make sure that others don't go through the same pain.
Why am I telling you this? Well many of us are waiting for something to save us: a messiah, a leader, an inventor, or an overly idealized version of ourselves. The thing is none of those things will work. What will ultimately save us and preserve the world for our descendants is all of us working together to make things better. After all, what good is technology if we don't apply it in a way that helps everyone? What good is a vaccine if people won't take it to protect their community? What good is a code of laws if we don't demand justice?
How about you? Have you put your ideals above the lives of others? Have you judged yourself and others as not worthy because of falling short? Have you fallen into the trap of seeking a mythical savior either in yourself or in an external chosen one? If you have step back, look at how your ideals lead you to treat yourself and others. That should tell you all you need to know.
Peace and Blessings,