I was raised in a deeply right-wing religious family. At first I took their worldview on, because what else is a child going to do? However, with experience and introspection I started to drift. I now jokingly say that “I’m Gandhi left not Che Guevara left”.
The drift wasn’t because I am smart. My whole family is very smart: inventors, scientists (science neither stops a person from being conservative or fundamentalist), university lecturers and researchers, and diplomats. The drift was because I am sensitive and I care.
If people are suffering, myself included, you cannot fully alleviate that suffering until you get at the heart of the problem. You have to be willing to stare the unvarnished truth in the face and go, “Okay, if that’s how things are what can we do?”
Let’s say you have been put into a cage with a group of other people, but the door has been left open. You have been told your whole life that you cannot escape that cage — by both those who put you there and those with whom you are sharing the cage. So long as you believe that, you won’t bother walking out the door. However, once you are willing to go beyond what people have told you and stare at each wall, eventually you may find a wall with an open door.
Of course once you find that door will you dare to walk out? To leave is to go out into the world where all the jailers live. To leave is to separate yourself from the people who have been your friends as you try to live within inhumane circumstances. Never having been in the larger world, it may be hard to imagine that the jailers are trapped by their need to keep you in a cage. They are in an invisible cage and outside of their world is another still larger world.
The first people to walk out into the largest world are going to be very lonely and possibly live a precarious existence. Most people aren’t brave enough to go travelling to new worlds. Nevertheless, some of us have to take that journey before anyone else can possibly follow.
The people who started in the cage understand what cagedness is like. Sometimes they are capable of speaking the language of the caged and draw the caged out with stories of a better world. The problems occur when you have new jailers seducing people into new cages, thereby creating staunch cynicism in the caged.
Cynicism doesn’t mean the largest world doesn’t exist. It just means someone has given up and doesn’t want to be reminded of failures. Just remember, as was said in Mythbusters: failure is always an option. The finding of truth has never and will never be a straight line.
The answer is to keep hoping, keep staring hard to find the truth, keep moving toward open doors, keep holding out hands to help others behind you in the journey, and keep encouraging them to hold out hands as well until in one vast daisy-chain we pull ourselves forward into peace. It is possible!