‘The absence of a coherent political project, it is claimed, inhibits the development of a more radical paradigm in community work’, so said Cooke and Shaw in 1996 (1996, p.9). Since then, we have been through a long politics of partnership that has located everyone on the same side, a delusional tactic that has resulted in negating dialectical thought, colonising critical spaces and temporarily halting radical practice in a haze of managerialism, professionalism and the elevation of doing over thinking. Our focus has been blurred on the real issues at stake and left us as uncritical deliverers of policy, not really understanding why we are doing what we do anyway. We have lost our way (Pitchford and Henderson, 2008). At the same time, on a global level, escalating forces of neoliberal globalisation are steering us along a dangerous trajectory, with a free market principle based on a profit imperative systematically fragmenting people and planet. We are left with a world in crisis, a world of increasing social divisions and alarming environmental degradation. This is the radical challenge of our times, and my invitation is for you to join me in exploring just how straightforward it is to reclaim our radical agenda and to locate it in a more global political project for participatory democracy.
Yesterday I decided that I need to stop focusing on what is ‘wrong’ in our society – what destructive things people and corporations are doing. I realized that by doing so, I was behaving in a condescending way, excluding myself from those ‘wrongdoings’ by pointing my finger towards others. I realized that by focusing on the negative I was also fueling the negative and giving it space to be discussed, thus perpetuating it. Although it is essential to be aware of the issues and understand them, there is no use in talking about it excessively, nor in indulging in an egotistic “this is what they‘re doing wrong and I know better” attitude. If I know better, then I should be doing something about it instead of just talking away.
It comes down to action. Moving forward, I am focusing my energy not on talking about my awareness of systematic issues in our society, but the actions that I intend to take towards a better future. I want to fuel positivity and hope within people; collectively we absolutely can co-create the reality that we want. Those are the ideas that I want to exchange and develop with people through sharing our experiences and understandings of the world.
I stumbled across this video through the online course I am currently taking. It inspired my resolution to stop blaming people, to focus on identifying the barriers that we face in making changes in our system, and to act collectively to destroy those hurdles.
Have you ever been offended because of something someone else said? Or sad? Or felt judged by the look in their eyes? Maybe you’ve felt indignation within yourself just by the way they’ve behaved or interacted with other people. We go through it all. These feelings and impressions come to us from our learned behavioral patterns that protected us as children. Defense mechanisms.
Of course it’s easier to avoid those people altogether, but by doing so you are actually limiting yourself.
The principle of energy conservation is one of the most basic laws of our Universe. Nothing is ever created or destroyed; everything is flow. And it’s flowing in a certain direction. It doesn’t matter if it has a destination or not. The point is that Nature, flow, the Universe, God – with no regard for the barriers that language may pose in speaking of That/It/He/She – works with ultimate efficiency. It never wastes any energy whatsoever in its process of becoming.
Then how could anyone or anything be at the wrong place at the wrong time, let alone experience anything of no use?
Every. Single. Interaction.
Every. Single. Experience. That we’ve had up to this moment has made us into who we are at that point and will serve us in the future. Every person that we’ve met has been on our path to teach us something that will be essential for us to accomplish our mission.
There’s no need to avoid anything or anyone. It’s all there for a reason. We just need to have faith in the certainty that the Universe is perfect. We might not see all the pieces of it now, but it might all come together later. It might also not. We must have courage to face our faults and work with them. The Universe provides opportunities for us to practice that.