I fell for it. Fell for a deep seated ideal that by working at a grassroots level, I would be part of helping effect political freedom for an occupied people. Namely, the Palestinian people.
I became rather involved, passionate and increasingly depressed about the discouraging facts on the ground in that region of the world.
This was furthered by the all-too-sobering awareness that that is just one of hundreds of politically distressed parts of the world. Yet I knew that my efforts to help remedy even just that one geographical region alone might not yield results in my lifetime, if ever.
And that's just one of them.
What about all the other hot spots in the world?
Coming to Grips With Futility
I began to realize that my approach was, if not completely futile, at the very least, doomed to be a slow and surface approach to helping a group of oppressed people gain their political freedom.
Caught in the Grasp of Ego
I define ego as that movement within a person that compels them to live first for themselves and their loved ones, value themselves above others and see themselves, their family, country, race, ethnicity, religion, ideas, etc., as superior to or more important than those of others. Mind you, it's important to note that this is very often unconscious.
The more deeply caught in the grasp of ego, the more blind one is to the fundamental truth that all beings are inherently equal.
If we all deeply recognized this truth, or even if most of us did, there would be no oppression in the world imposed by one group of people upon another.
So Now What?
For the one who has a genuine concern for bringing about political justice and freedom in the world but also recognizes that ego is ultimately at the root of all world-wide disturbance and oppression, what to do?
That becomes an individual path.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with working at the political or grassroots level, side-stepping the root cause (ego) and championing externally-imposed change. This certainly has its place, hard-won and flimsy as the results may be. For centuries, this is how political change has been gained.
But it's like that game of hit the mole on the head. As soon as you smack the mole's head into the hole, it pops up out of another hole. Hit it on the head again and then again it pops up someplace else, possibly back out the first hole. And on and on. In other words, the changes won are rather surface and superficial.
That becomes an individual path.
Under enough pressure, leaders and countries do eventually, begrudgingly, go through the external motions of change. But the mentality that allowed the oppression remains. Fear and distrust remain. While a conflict in a certain part of the world may end, ego still rules the world at large, and it's just a matter of time before more conflicts spring up elsewhere, if not in the very same part of the world.
With all our externally-imposed changes, how much has the world really changed?
Do we want to spend a lifetime working hard to fix one broken part of the world when the world, as a whole, continues to be rather broken?
Is there a way to engage freedom at a less surface level?
I, for one, find myself rather intrigued by this possibility. And so my focus has unexpectedly shifted.
The exploration now is into freedom itself. What is freedom? What does it take to become a free person? Beyond politically, internally. Lack of political freedom is simply symptomatic of a deeper problem. And that is a lack of inner freedom within the individuals that make up our societies and our world at large.
I do suspect that the individual path to freedom is most probably destined to be much slower in effecting world peace than even political or grassroots reform. Not only because it,
A world comprised of enough self-liberated people will naturally, reflexively, automatically, provide equality and freedom to all. There will be no need to demand that governments act justly, because they will already be doing so. They will be comprised of people who naturally, automatically, recognize the inherent equality in all and very simply act upon that.
Any externally imposed freedom will never be as complete as the naturally occurring freedom that results from self-realization. When this inner freedom has reached a critical mass in the world's population, no longer will any nation or people be capable of valuing itself above another nation or people. The result will be political freedom and equality for all. The result will be an end to resource theft. The result will be an end to war.