I am beginning to put a little more confidence in ancient sayings, commonly called proverbs, adages or generally labelled as “wisdom literature”. One saying that recently was thrust into my conscience was “There is nothing new under the sun”. Popular interpretations of this adage run along the lines of “everything that is happening has happened before”, “new inventions are not unprecedented”, etc. This line of thinking was probably behind the sage’s saying “All is vanity”, but in the modern age people like to think that they are pioneering in every field of human endeavour. Nothing could be further from the truth. Humans are waxing worse and worse, even while claiming to be activists for the nobler ideals.
Development is technlogy are questionable as new with regular discoveries of ancient cultures and their truly fantastic inventions. Did ancient man have flying machines and powered vehicles? The jury is still out.
The moral ills and debates about evil are certainly not new. Did ancient man have debates about imperialism, capitalism, homosexuality, clean water for all, protection of the vulnerable (widows, orphans, foreigners, old and young women and girls)? It is hard not to notice that there certainly were more than debates. Destruction has visited many cultures over the millenia and those cultures that have not addressed these issues are paying the price with mounting unrest and calls for reform.
Where are today’s activists for the perennial concverns of human survival and progress? They are locked in clique-ish caucuses, conspiring against the masses, denying their colleagues what they fight for most valiantly for themselves. They sneak and hide to pile up evidence to convict their closest allies. They unleash increasingly vicious attacks on ther fellowman. They see the world through the tinted glasses of their ancestors without a thought of taking the gains to the next level. They claim to have the right to first place in everything and refuse to acknowledge their equals. Such is the world of activism.
Whole nations are in the grip of unspeakable vanity and atricities. Recently the Canadian people voted into power a party whose leader was twice found in contempt of parliament. The Israeli PM goes to Washington to ridicule the US government’s call for a just resolution of the Palestrinian Problem. So-called Islamic states are mired in 13 centuries of religious revision of ancient wisdom while their people cry for the one thing that every hiuman has the right to: freedom. Who is applauding today’s actors and activists?
It seems that activism has become focused on a club mentality, where monetary gain has trumped service. Activists regularly circle the wagons and array themselves to deny others a chance to achieve and contribute. To fit in with today’s activists, one has to simply admire and commend the activist who have been on the scene for decades or face exclusion and harassment.
There is no maxim or constitution that has ever transformed human attitudes. In fact creeds, and vision statements are usually a cover for dastardly endeavours. People can recite or read their mottos and creeds, and these types of activist have failed to make a lasting dent on their communities. The use of sound bytes is equally futile. This generation needs to be be re-educated on what the real gains of our forebears have been, and then to commit to furthering the cause in the widest sense possible.
We have reached the river of no return. Every day, lies are being exposed with absolutely certainty. Many activists are “walking dead”, holding forth nothing more than mob-rule, bullying and twisted rhetoric. Today’s activism needs a life: life rooted in reality, and aimed at a new reality. Would it be too much to ask if activism is not something more than tribal, religious, racial, political and patriotic self-aggrandizement? Let us ask the corporate organizations – churches, synagogues, mosques, unions, and political parties – the answer will invariably reveal a lost and lifeless activism.