Apparently Tolstoy once said:
"I sit on a man's back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means - except by getting off his back." It strikes me that this is like us every day! We join a march for climate change and and talk for all the world about the poor state of those in poverty, but we are not willing to do some of the most obvious things that could bring real reprieve. There was an article in the Guardian on the weekend about Plane Stupid. I admire them so much because they are willing to put their life on the line for justice. Where as many of us just can't seem to do the most simple things, that require sacrifice only of pleasure.
Loathe to use up two of my favorite quotes... Gandhi once said: "I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over his own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj (freedom) for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away."
For those serious about poverty... oppression.. injustice... we do need some kind of mechanism like this, don't we. Sad as it is. (Particularly for people of faith- we have such a strong Biblical mandate for encapsulating local and global love in each moment, yet it doesn't seem to be having much impact.) It seems just impossible for people to connect their strong leanings of head and heart towards radical action for social justice with simple, everyday activity. We need this talisman, a reminder, a measure for when we are faced with decisions.
Shall we fly to Switzerland for 2 weeks by the lake?