Be a candle! Chase away the darkness …
Anyone observing humanity will note that humans have GREAT potential. This sounds like a positive trait until we look more closely at this potential. Humans have a great capacity to create. We have a limitless imagination, which allows us to constantly break beyond limits that were previously considered inviolate. This is a good thing. However we have an equal capacity to destroy, with the same backing of that limitless imagination.
Our potential can be quite dangerous.
Having potential and converting that potential to something of practical value are two different things. Physically, potential is how much work is needed to achieve a specific goal, but until that work is applied, the goal remains nothing more than a possibility. This applies to the human condition as well; we have great potential both for the good and the not so good, but unless we put the work in that potential will never really mean anything to ourselves and our world. If, and how, we use our potential is a matter of choice. We each have to decide if we are WILLING to do the best we can do. We also have the choice of HOW we use our abilities. Until we make those choices, our potential will remain in the realm of the imagination.
The HOW choice is often the most difficult one, especially when it comes to who benefits. This is the issue that really divides us. On one side we have those who think that all our actions should ultimately benefit ourselves … the rest of humanity … and even the world … be damned. The flip side of this is those who believe that the needs of the many far surpass the needs of the few or the one, and that should guide our actions. The ongoing conflict in our world is a direct result of these deferring extremes.
Unfortunately, those who lean towards selfishness tend to run the show for one simple reason … they are willing to do what is necessary to achieve their goals. To such people, compassion is a weakness. Those who work for the many are driven by compassion, which means there are actions they simply will not take for success. How can someone who has moral limits actually stop someone who will do anything that meets their needs?
That is the uphill battle that those who seek a compassionate world continually face. Sometimes the climb can seem so difficult as to be not worth the effort.
I don’t have a specific answer to the above question. The dark turn humanity has taken in recent years damaged my own resolve. I failed to live up to my OWN potential of late, which does no one any good. How do we fight for compassion when those who have none are in charge; when a majority of people WILLINGLY let such people make choices for them because it is so much easier than actually making their own choices? Thus this project, and others I have started, aimlessly drifted.
Until I was reminded that the only way to FIND a solution is to focus on finding solutions. If we focus on the problem we will never get anywhere. Not doing anything is as good as admitting defeat. The heartless will always win if the compassionate simply roll over and let them. If we want the world to become a more compassionate one, we have to continually remind people WHAT compassion is. But we have to also remind OURSELVES that being compassionate does NOT mean letting others with no limits do as they will. Oppression can only exist if the oppressed let it. The same applies to tyrannical rule. We have to recognize that sometimes we must do what is necessary ourselves. Hoping someone who has no compassion will suddenly come into it if we ask enough times is nothing more than naiveté. We have to recognize that SOMETIMES we may have to do things that we do not like to get anywhere. But we also need to remember such choices should always be a LAST resort.
That said, there are a few things we can focus on:
- Cooperation – the best chance to overcome selfish individuals who have a strong power base is COOPERATION. They only have a strong power base because others support them. Therefore we have to support each other in opposition. If we create a larger and stronger compassion based community than change WILL happen.
- Do what you can do – when we constantly find the ‘bad’ guy winning, it is easy to feel that our efforts are wasted, so why bother. The simple truth is that nothing can be achieved if not at least ATTEMPTED. Don’t focus on what we can not do, but rather on what we CAN do.
- Be flexible – don’t lock on one path. If one thing does not seem to work, maybe we need to approach it from a different angle. Don’t give up. Just rethink.
- Educate, don’t pontificate – the only way to teach someone who does not want to be taught is to demonstrate. Don’t try to convince someone who does not want to be convinced. Just show them they are wrong. Either they will open their eyes, or they will suffer the consequences of their own willful blindness. Either way, don’t waste your energy on them.
When darkness threatens, a single candle will provide light. A single candle can also light other candles. If enough candles are lit, the darkness will no longer be there.