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We see Trump and all the other representatives of the destructive tendencies of the populist right moving through the world as the problem, but like with many illnesses people are fighting the symptoms and not the causes.
One of the principles of Valid Action (1) says: ‘you will make your conflicts disappear when you understand them into their ultimate root, not when you want to resolve them’. What applies to individuals also applies to societies.
The movements which are fighting against the rise of the cruelty of anti-immigration, against the erosion of health care for all, against the developing pro-war mentality and against increases in military spending and the replacement of nuclear weapons are wonderful. Nothing like naked madness in power to wake up common sense. But this crazy moment has been many years/centuries in the making and is just the symptom. The roots are not in the individuals but in the system and the internal state of the peoples brought up within it.
A system that promotes competition instead of cooperation, vengeance instead of reconciliation, individualism instead of solidarity, material possessions instead of a search for meaning in life and a culture of celebrities instead of valuing each and every human being has created the monsters gaining power today, because there is a glaring contradiction between the human deepest aspirations and the parody concocted by the media and the forces they represent we call ‘reality’.
It is precisely those deepest aspirations that are waking up in front of the horror, but the system has a way of deviating things. Like the 60’s music that became thoroughly commercialised and the spiritual search that accompanied it that became another consumer’s product.
With so much experience of past failures the revolution growing in the hearts and minds of millions of people need not follow the same path. The tools of active nonviolence are more readily available today than at any other time, those for the transformation of the human being, elevating the level of consciousness and striving for internal unity, making coincide thought, feeling and action as well as treating others the way we would like to be treated can be easily and freely found.
We should not be deceived by their apparent simplicity as they are truly revolutionary in their application because they address the root causes of the present debacle. We may be inspired by some leaders who appeal to our best aspirations but a profound change in the system cannot take place unless we, ordinary people, commit ourselves to the same profound change inside.
As those promoting more inequality and violence become bolder and less concerned with appearing to be kind or even sane (something politicians tried hard in the past) more people will join the protest movements but without tools to develop an internal reference despair may lead to violence, and then the possibility of changing the system will be lost. This is the time to announce, share, promote and practice active nonviolence in all aspects of our lives in order to create an unstoppable current for the benefit of all human beings.
1. The Principles of Valid Action, by Silo, Collected Works, The Look Within Chapter XIII, www.silo.net