Sometimes the easiest thing to do appears to be and can be the hardest. Saying something out loud, something that might be controversial, call people to look hard at themselves, take responsibility, oh yes above all else, take responsibility; for their actions, their words, their motives and how they connect with all others on this planet.
Being alive every moment, every breathe is a gift, many are not afforded.
We are all, every single one of us, surrounded by death, destruction, forces beyond (is it?) your control, in yourself, in the community and around the globe.
How we all respond to that will be uniquely our own, tainted by conditioning, knowledge and belief systems.
How many times have we read stories about the truth, more recently this year of a young student shot http://video.today.msnbc.msn.com/today/49414153#49414153 for speaking out about the truth, a girl wanting to have an education; yet for many other places in the world would be more concerned about what she is doing this weekend, what clothes to wear or guy to meet (yes that is a tongue-in-cheek generalisation for the sensitive ones), not standing up for human rights, for the right of women and human beings to voice the truth.
The world is a jellybean jar of different colours, tastes & reactions. Each to their own. No one forces you to watch a program or read an article, if you don't like it, don't watch or read it.
Some only looking through one lens may find comfort in only believing one truth, their truth. Many human beings due to personality and beliefs need to find security in a well defined concrete answer, one that resonates with how they perceive the world to be.
There have been so many before us, particularly those of us in Australia have the luxury of riding on the backs of those who have done their best to wipe the stain from the soil of our country; or there are those who continue to believe we somehow earned our right to be here 'the white way is the right way' belief system; I'm still trying to understand the logic of that one. Ignorance is not bliss, it's just ignorance, yet I guess its comfortable.
As Buddha is quoted as saying "the greatest impurity is ignorance. Free yourself. Be pure".
I wrote a blog this week, I was basically airing a few thoughts I had regarding two journal articles I was asked to compare in relation to a paper for a post graduate course I'm studying at present. I am a passionate writer, I own that! I pour my thoughts in, mix them about and I push people to challenge themselves, to think outside the square. If I offend, you could try to see it as a priviledge to have been offended, I have stirred something in you that was stagnate, maybe you could learn a thing or two. Those of you who commented, smiled & laughed, thank you for being there all these years, for being able to gain the meaning of Margaret Mead's words when she said "never doubt that small group of people can change the world, indeed it's the only thing that ever has". Being comfortable won't advance the human race.
I have been told over the years I am many things, even dogmatic. Which is rather ironic considering the person who made the statement had never seen me in person, had just commenced a 5 minute conversation on the phone and we had never spoken previously; yet they read a letter in which I disputed an unjustified claim/statement which the scientific evidence/empirical data just does not support, they just "believed" it to be so. In other words anyone who doesn't see their way is obviously wrong :) The rather amusing thing is, I don't have to agree with what I write, I put my hand in the jellybean jar and I wave it around, I don't have any favourites or dislikes. I however like my little soapbox and I am incredibly grateful for the breathe that pumps through my veins, my nervous system and charges the neurons to question, to think and to share those thoughts, to be a change, to make a difference, rather than grab a free ride.
What is it that makes people grip onto their beliefs with two hands that creates a flood of ignorance through their veins? Is it genetics or conditioning in arrogance; anyone whose thoughts may be different to theirs is obviously wrong! In that case wouldn't we all be wrong :)
I don't pretend to be you, or you, or you. How could you possibly have walked in my shoes, shared the same smells of death and believe me, reading about it and smelling it, how when the blood drains from the body, it changes the brain in different ways. Watch all the movies & read all the stories you like, believe me their is a reason our sense of smell is one of our earliest and most sensitive capacities.
How could you know violence from a tv? From reading the paper? & heaven (or some God whom ever she is) forgive me if I make light of your insignificant complaints as on my radar it just doesn't rate.
How can one person hold the truth? One religion? One politician? One teacher, one parent, one friend? They can't and that is the truth.
Ever tried having a philosophical debate about what constitutes the truth with a philosopher? Take your armour and a sword and maybe a few snacks, you'll be in for the long haul.
So what is the truth and why should we speak it?
Better still what kind of world and lives would we have without any truth?
Have you ever noticed how willingly people are to try a new car, a new recipe, a new outfit, a new job, a new house even, yet try asking them about changing their mind, about thinking outside the square, about changing the one thing they don't need to spend money or go anywhere or need friends or family to help them do. THINK! Try asking them (some I might add) to learn about a different religion, a different culture. In today's world of access to the world wide library web I am still shocked by racist attitudes and stereotyping when facts, reality is right there at your finger tips.
What absence from the world would there be without the presence of those before us to point us along a different path, to ask questions, to seek compassion, understanding and challenge ignorance.
"One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying." - Joan of Arc
A woman overwhelmed with compassion and conviction, some may say she was insane claiming to hear voices calling her to a cause greater purpose, at 17yrs of age, leading an Army. Was she right? Is war an answer to the truth. I'm not challenging that blog here today. Yet to surrender to the ordinary when we are each gifted with extraordinary purpose?
As early as 384BC Plato's student Aristotle changed the face of inquiry. At a time of Alexander the Great he learned independent thinking, to challenge what the mind can conceive was a path to the truth, his truth and answers to the most difficult questions of his time. He went on to find answers to previously believed unsolveable questions and to forge a path for intellectual and scientific inquiry, that man (& woman!) had the capacity for enlightenment, if only they seek self inquiry, human goodness derived from rational thought!
Even French chemist and biologist Louis Pasteur was considerd mediocre. As challenging as it is to be 'different', humanity is grateful someone took him seriously.
Laws and science depend on the truth, religion and philosphers debate it; which truth is it: Subjective, objective, relative or absolute? What you believe to be true...is it? or is it just your understanding based on your knowledge and experience to date! Do you seek the truth? Question it and seek more? or content with sitting on a truth that is more relative rather than dance ahead to the rhythm of the footsteps of our greatest leaders, our 'crazy ones' who have pushed the boundaries in order of us to live a better life.
Oscar Wilde once said "If you want to tell the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you". What do you think he mean't by that? Is that telling the truth, using your voice, your words, your thoughts to share a different way of knowing not only is risky, it can be life threatening. That some, so protective of their ignorance would rather hurt you than understand you.
No matter what you have to say or do in life there will always be someone wanting to challenge your version of the truth & so they should. What makes speaking the truth problematic for many is the isolation, torture and pain which many suffer in order to take their truth to a wider audience, to create change, to move the human race forward. It's a risk and at times a burden. The only way to survive it is to connect with other liked minded persons, to surround yourself with people who not only seek the truth, seek other ways of knowing, understanding the human capacity, who are constantly evolving as individuals, they desire it.
Have you ever wondered about where we would be if we never progressed? If at one time in history someone with enough power (or force?) said "right listen here, we are OK just the way we are, now no one is to seek alternatives, no answers to disease, no better ways to educate, to learn, to understand, to save the planet".
When we look at the statistics on the burden of disease on this amazing planet we fight, strive and live for, http://www.aihw.gov.au/burden-of-disease/ and the evidence to support the majority of the world's disease is preventable what does this say about human intelligence, about how we process, accept or tolerate any truth. Stress is still both a direct and indirect leading cause of disease and death and who causes the stress? We do.
Do people seek out better ways of living, balancing the budget, raising children, learn how to be kind, compassionate and practice what they preach or take it for granted. Happy to say there is a growing shift in the vibrational ripple of lateral thinkers doing their best and when it isn't enough seeking another way. One can only dream and continue to put your foot in the water to keep the ripple going.
I surprised myself this week in removing something I had written with absolute no intention for it to be directed at any one person. Do you have any idea of how many people I know in my small circle, let alone throughout life? I write to raise the level of consciousness, to challenge thinking, to motivate people to step outside the square for a moment. I am touched as much by the young east German guard on my train from Austria as I am from listening to Arch Bishop Tutu speak at a freedom rally in the day when Nelson Mandela was still incarcerated. I didn't grow up in the same house my whole life; on the year I turned 31, I worked out I had moved 31 times. I've known incredibly wealthy people and incredibly poor people, suffering and elation. You are not the centre of my universe. That would be the person I come home to in my meditations, each morning as I salute the sun. If you need to know what motivates me to be outspoken and at times controversial, I made a promise to my son, I would never be quiet about something which is intrinsically wrong, which causes people to suffer, which harms children, I will never take life for granted whilst children every day are dying, that I will be grateful for every single opportunity life has to offer, for all the opportunities many people never have the chance to try. I will use my talents, I will open my mind and grow. I will not lay down and stagnate in a pool of pus and let others look after me. It is just not in my genetic makeup.
As well as the fact that my usual approach, when I write, is if they don't like it, they can always get back into the box they came from. Yet when personal attacks are made, mud is thrown, sometimes it catches you in the eye and you are blinded for a moment what you set out to do (surprise surprise, writers have feelings too!), to share another way of seeing a truth, to grow, to live, to change, to be a seed of change, to contribute and never take for granted every single experience we are afforded. If you want to silence a writer, then don't speak. Challenge adds fuel, it stimulates discussion, it pushes the truth out there faster and further.
In our time alone, let alone history, we have lost great many people doing their best at doing better, to push a little harder, question when it appears all the answers have been given. "When we know better, you do better" Maya Angelou, is that so hard to comprehend? I've never researched or even Googled it and running out of time this morning, yet I often wonder when I read truly amazing accounts of survival, of leaders is it true that those who have the greatest capacity to give are those who have lost the most? Is it true that those who complain the most have the greatest amount to be grateful for, have never really known real, touch your hand suffering? So would neuroscientist or even behaviourists be true in hypothesising that brain which wires with ignorance, has failed to learn from the types of environmental stimulus which not only delivers advertisty, it creates resilience?
This year Grant Oyston, Founder Invisible Children and the person beyond KONY 2012 took the violence of the LRA to the wider world, that sharing the truth would promote discussion, raise awareness and bring an end to the atrocities in Central Affrica. http://invisiblechildren.com/
Mr Oyston stated in a response letter to his critics "fight propaganda with the fair pursuit of balanced truths, not with propaganda of your own"; if you are going to wage a war of attacks against someone elses truths at least make it honest and fair, at least have a balanced view to support your argument, why smear mud on something you know nothing about, let alone experienced.
Sometimes at the art gallery I would find myself drawn to a painting; to some it would seem child like, even unworthy of hanging in such a reputable location, let alone its price tag; yet few ever stop to imagine the mind of a person who could create so much from so little.
If the cure for ignorance is truly to question, is the truth is out there and we need only not seek it, yet allow others to seek it for us as well. Then at least be grateful for those who dare to be 'the crazy ones' those who are 'different', who stand up, speak up and say what has to be said, against the masses. The ones who sacrifice fitting it, for standing out, who give up the luxury of freedom to be scrutinised, to carry the burden of their own scars, those of many when they don't even know their names. Maybe even a thank you could be warranted, as you except the changes to improve your life, the freedom to say something or do nothing, the truth they dare to seek as you relax in the comfort of your armchair.
Thank you to all those who speak the truth, seek the truth and create change in the world. Thank you for daring to be different.