A post by Benjamin Riggs on the liberation that Occupy Wall Streets presents for an enlightened society.
“Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding. We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. And that will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
As a 29-year-old man with liberal leanings, I understand the tendency to take to the streets full of righteous anger. But I think it is so important to remember that we are at a crossroads: we have reached a place in our history as a species where the working class (99%) can no longer stand on the sideline and apathetically watch as the rich (1%) continue to deepen their pockets at the expense of the environment and everyone else.
The time has come to stop pretending that some do not have more than their fair share, while others struggle just to get by. However, our aim must not become to defeat or humiliate the rich. We must always seek their friendship and understanding. We must never forget that the end we seek is a society that is at peace with itself—an enlightened society.
Whether it is rich or poor, the 1% or the 99%, us and them are mere words that only describe relative, superficial distinctions within a single family. I am the 99% and the 1% — because the 99% and the 1% are nothing more than distinctions created by economists and politicians. I am the 100%. And so are you. So it’s time for us to move beyond the limitations of economic and political activism and reconnect with “the power of being in which we all participate.” There we will find the secret to revolution.
Which is? That it takes places within. That is where true freedom is to be found. Work with your own mind and you will discover Truth. Proclaim Truth and change the world. Try to change the political environment without working with your mind first, and you will impregnate the political system with your insanity. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the current condition of politics!
We are called to be representatives of Justice—not social justice, or economic justice, but Justice. The task is difficult, but difficult circumstances demand nothing more than patience and perseverance. We have to be willing to selflessly or lovingly proclaim Truth, and afforded others the necessary space and time to reconcile their own conscience with the uncompromising facts. The opposition is not the other person. Within the spacious atmosphere of Love the other person is revealed to be our brother or sister. The real obstacle is ignorance.
The only obstacle we face is ignorance—not their ignorance, but our ignorance. Ignorance here is like an internal blind-spot that enables superficial classifications like black and white, rich and poor, the 99% and the 1% to divide us as a people. Such distinctions are like lines on a map. When we turn inward and experience the humanity, from which we all emerge, it is like looking at earth from outer-space—there are no borders that divide us.
Since ignorance, not the other person, is the opposition there is no need to aggressively attack anyone, verbally or physically. The goal of an effective protest is to unravel the confusion that created and sustains the oppressive system. This is accomplished by revealing the contradictory nature of the stance taken by the legislating body, which, in a democracy, is an extension of the electorate. As the celebrated Catholic Theologian G.K. Chesterton wrote, “Contradiction is just truth standing on its head in order to get attention.”
The time has come to mute the incendiary rhetoric of news pundits. This cannot be accomplished with posters, petitions, or chants. It is a silent task. In silence, Truth proclaims the basic dignity of Humanity. This dignity is our inheritance as human beings. It is this thread of integrity that binds the human family in a way that is unimaginable. Everyone—the 99% and the 1%—without exception can tap into this quintessential intelligence, because it is who we as human beings actually are: the 100%.
Upon this ground true revolution can take place, because on this level we cease to be conservatives or liberals. There is only humanity and the unavoidable responsibility to acknowledge and respect this basic dignity in everyone. This is the enlightened potential of humanity that lays dormant in our society.
I am not saying that all of the Occupy Protesters should go home. But I am saying that they should sit down, where they are, together, and watch their own mind, because this where the situation they are protesting was created. In order to create a true revolution—a revolution inspired, not by the truth of the 99% or the 1%, but by Truth itself—we have to be the 100%. We have to come forth as complete people, comfortable not only with our own humanness, but the humanity of everyone around us, lest the protest end in violence or futility.
"The secret of revolution is that it takes places within. That is where true freedom is to be found." YES!
G. G. says
"Freedom, liberation, this must be the aim of man. To become free, to be liberated
from slavery: this is what a man ought to strive for when he becomes even a little
conscious of his position. There is nothing else for him, and nothing else is possible so
long as he remains a slave both inwardly and outwardly. But he cannot cease to be a
slave outwardly while he remains a slave inwardly. Therefore in order to become free,
man must gain inner freedom.
"The first reason for man's inner slavery is his ignorance, and above all, his ignorance of himself. Without self-knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave, and the plaything of the forces acting upon him.
"This is why in all ancient teachings the first demand at the beginning of the way to liberation was: 'Know thyself.'
Thank you for quoting teacher George Gurdjieff as recorded by P.D. Ouspensky in his book, "In Search of the Miraculous."
What a wonderful piece. Thank you.
Q-Eely Sun says
Hello my friend…after a lot of thought and consideration- I can agree "Which is? That it takes places within. That is where true freedom is to be found. Work with your own mind and you will discover Truth. Proclaim Truth and change the world. Try to change the political environment without working with your mind first, and you will impregnate the political system with your insanity. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the current condition of politics!" However, i have decide it is best from me do all i can to compete with, fight against, defeat-the OWS
Tom Menditto says
Greed, control, and the need for power come from fear….
Feelings of lack, feeling out of control, feeling insecure, feeling unloved, feeling hated, and feeling powerless….
The condition is a human one…not belonging to the 1% or 99%, but to all of us….
We will, in time, overcome it together as one human race and as one species
Loved the message…how can we spread it?
We can spread the message by telling people they are living life in the wrong way, and, like you have done here, provide examples of how people fail to overcome their faults, and then describe in detail how those failures come about.
Everyone loves a message like that!
Until then, might as well buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't. – Mark Twain
Even if you are in the minority of one, Truth is still Truth. – Gandhi
If we are ready to make the effort and unify our actions for the sake of truth then the impossible unfolds magically, first within our minds and then in our outward action. peace http://conscious-capitalism.blogspot.com
to be Honest says
A man is never more Truthful than when he acknowledges himself a Liar. – Mark Twain
WE Party Mentor says
Join Occupy Global (www.WEalloccupy.info) by signing the 3 petitions to promote 100% collective consciousness (www.WEare100percent.info) as a WE Party Peace Ambassador (volunteer online mentor) – See Deepak Chopra (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKyIrVsEpwU&feature=player_embedded)
While I support Benjamin’s emphasis on looking at our own minds, the move towards Buddhist quietism does not sit well with me. The notion that silence is inherently good or will result in transformation of structural inequality into enlightened utopia is simply wrong headed—and dangerous. That kind of silence is the silence of death or the automation-like Buddhist peacefulness that has become a trademark of many schools of American Buddhism. There are times to be quiet and times to make a whole heck of a lot of noise. Argument, anger, debate, even vociferously, must be part of the “enlightened potential of humanity.” And is a part of humanity that is in its own right necessary, beautiful and dare I say, enlightened. (whatever that may mean). I declare the path of spirited argument, abhorrence of authoritarianism and fascistic thinking in all of their forms. Please meditate loudly and remember that while the war against the imagination matters greatly, Truth may demand a decent anger channeled towards dismantling specific forms of structural inequality, where real people act willfully and brutally.