Saturday, 19 January 2013

How do we bring about Social Change?

Direct Action Campaigns focus on achieving a particular goal. When that is achieved they have 'won'.  Other groups focus on self development as the key - 'Be the change you want to see in the world'. While one focusses on lack, and the feelings of scarcity and fear that arise from that, the other focusses on abundance, and the feelings of generosity and love that arise from that.

These two are not opposed to each other, they can be complimentary, and co-exist in the same group or individual, but groups and individuals tend to emphasise one to the exclusion of the other. Holding both together requires a consciousness which does not refrain from taking sides, but recognises that every side is only a partial expression of the truth. For example, it is easy to see that 'scarcity' is a manufactured condition without which capitalism could not function. Zaman  But it is also a reality with which people have to contend, albeit relative to the social standards within the society where they are living. Blaming the system rather than individual greed for society's ills, may be a way of exonerating individuals, as pressured to act in a certain way within a certain context; whereas acknowledging individuals as having choice for which they are always responsible, sees them as creators of the system, not just cogs in a wheel. Both are true in a limited way.

These different interpretations will engender different approaches to trying to bring about social change. When the paradox of these two is held, and we come into the NOW, a place where conceptual reality loses its grasp, we can tune in to a harmony with what is which releases its dynamic potential for change in line with its evolutionary growth. Trusting this potential does not imply non-action, but a deep acceptance of what is, which sees the change already implicit in what exists. This change is not inevitable. It relies on our efforts as the agents of that evolutionary potential to bring it about.

The realm of consciousness is the place where these potentialities meet with the innovative technologies and the personal aspirations which have the power to motivate change. In that realm differences of opinion and identifications which divide people and groups and prevent them from taking united action, can be seen as the paradox of different perspectives which have limited truth. Any description in words will inevitably be limited and partial since reality resides in the experience which cannot be fully transcribed. Words are like a signpost directing towards the experience. Truth itself exists in the moment of reality we call Now, which requires letting go of the concepts with which we understand and encapsulate reality. The experience of that moment brings with it a feeling of well-being which overrides any circumstantial pain, and contributes to healing. The Hindi saying about enlightenment 'Truth is the Consciousness of Bliss' expresses this. This may take years of practice and a lifetime of devotion, or can happen as a sudden awakening.

I believe that the role of this other dimension (spiritual?) in bringing about social change needs to be fully recognised in order to realise the power of r)evolutionary change as our power. Praying to god for help is akin to making demands from government. In both we are victims of powers that are beyond us. In the experience of that consciousness we can find the freedom to co-create a human society in harmony with the natural world, with its ability to provide abundance for all.

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