On changing the world

After a car ride in silence, I blurted out, “There’s much to be changed in the world. It’s the kind of change that needs an entire lifetime to take effect.” An entire lifetime — not just as a measure of time, but as a means, I meant.

“Noted. Set a calendar appointment with me once you start,” Kit said, punningly referring to last night’s conversation about e-mail acknowledgments.

My remark came from some musings on last night’s community class and Andrews’ Building A Better World (among other things, what I found impressive about the book was the fact that here was an Australian making references to Freire, Palmer, Ghandi, and… Rabindranath Tagore).

Perhaps what we need more of is to see the humanity in being a human being, rather than merely seeing societal roles to be fulfilled. Because when we see each other as actual human beings, only then can we see how dehumanizing the system that we have in place is, with all of its injustice and oppression — you don’t notice it because it exists very subtly, but it’s there — pervasive, ubiquitous.

And once you see it, it would be impossible to not be compelled to do something. It comes to a point when my inaction is injustice in itself. My inaction participates in and even perpetuates the injustice and oppression.

So what do we do? How do we change such a world bound by oppressive and unjust bureaucratic, consumeristic, individualistic systems? Perhaps indeed, through communities — testamental communities for one, who fight the system with non-violent resistance. Or even, more fundamentally, through communities that regard each other as actual human beings — seeing the humanity in their being human, which is as much ours as theirs. Communities that regard each other as neighbors — neighbors in a human sense, or even, in a Gospel sense. So that people deeply, truly, genuinely care for each other and  look after each other.

And at the end of the day, everyone has what everyone has.


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