Embracing altruism beyond pessimism
Posted by engagemn
By Omar Alansari-Kreger, Engage Minnesota
The reality is that it only takes a relatively minor concentration of altruism to effectuate a world of difference.
It’s all too normal to feel like the smallest person in the world after watching the evening news. No matter what resource we use to obtain knowledge about the outside world, we often walk away with a sick feeling in our stomachs. That is especially true of a world overridden with unprecedented strife and hardship. To the average lower middle-class citizen, there is a million dollar question that runs through the mind: do I have the power to change anything? We often rebuke the world by dismissing it outright. When a concerned citizen gives up on the prospect of a better world, hope is replaced by shallow pessimisms. The fact of the matter is that no price can be paid to the experiential pain and suffering of the human condition. The rationalization of an atrocity is often weighted in its material cost. It is naively presumed that the only resource required is a bottomless void of money to make anything possible. The reality is that resources alone do not effectuate changes in an otherwise adverse world; that is especially true of money.
Often when big money is introduced to great social causes, they have the tendency of veering off from their original purpose only to become morbidly corrupt. Ideas elevate our aspirations to greater heights never thought to be conceivable which is why they are invaluable to human development. That explains why a resilient mind must develop a unique relationship with its creative imagination; without it, the reality becomes impersonally banal which makes us susceptibly complacent with giving up on our hopes and desires for a better world. What can one person, without any significant resources or connections, do to make a change? One crisis that comes to mind is the ongoing strife that has engulfed the whole of the Muslim and underdeveloped worlds. We now live at a time where it is possible to gain information as it unfolds. The atrocities are so real they seem surreal to us simultaneously which leaves the mind disillusioned.
The trauma of shock and awe details the events of a rude and harsh awakening. Once we know the reality there is no turning back and that entertains a proposition of fear to many. No matter how hard we try, no degree of isolation cancels out the unforgiving nature of atrocity. It will remain with us until we address it as organized bodies united behind causes of affirmative altruistic action. The reality is that it only takes a relatively minor concentration of altruism to effectuate a world of difference. Before embarking on the turning point of a new epoch, there is a simple question that comes to mind which anyone can answer: what can we do to make a change with the resources and capabilities we have? A true revolution is established at the communal level; if the ideals of the revolution alienate everyday people each revolutionary stipulation will inevitably fail to gain significant traction.
With that in mind, we are pressed with another existential question? What is a revolution and how does a person become a revolutionary? The ends of a revolution do not stop with protests, placards, and activities of social disruption, on the contrary, the best way to achieve a revolution is through the adoption of a new mental paradigm. The revolution for the mind is by far the greatest revolution of all which reminds us that all things revolutionary are once again based on ideas. Each act made in the name of revolution should have a designated purpose otherwise the ends of a revolution will fail to achieve any practical application. Tactics of social disruption alienate others and ultimately fail to encourage a general discourse of perspectives in hopes of reaching a reasoned consensus. It seems that from time-to-time it becomes pertinent to remind ourselves of one simple reality: a revolution is defined by its works which overshadows it’s the integrity of its activities. Is social activism a precursor to an impending revolution fomenting in the hearts and minds of its people? Thus, we can reasonably conclude that revolution is achieved through the works and sacrifices of social activists.
Yet, in the end, intentionality is something that will make or break us; it is a science of insular proportions which influences which action is taken when we achieve an appropriate state of mind. Masked gunmen that brandish their assault rifles only to terrorize their defenseless victims excites the emotions for human reasons. It is all too normal to feel frustratingly distraught with the mindlessness of atrocity because of the high hopes we reserve for humanity. Therefore, to achieve a revolutionary paradigm shift, what are we prepared to sacrifice within the realm of our own world to make a reality of difference? The solution could be as simple as organizing a local indoor 5k at a community recreation center for refugees of the Syrian Civil War. The assembly of a simple aid package addressed to a major refugee camp along the Turkish border details another possible solution.
Writing petitions, letters to politicians, and facilitating regular charity drives at schools or community centers entertains endless possibilities that await the eager energies of social activists everywhere. One certainty that transcends any social situation is there will always be a need for humanitarian activists which guarantees each and every activist permanent job security, but can we stay true to its objectives? The greatest revolutionary turning point arrives in the form of an extrapolated sense of altruistic purpose.
The moment we can impartially observe our relationship with reality without any self-obsessions delivers the moment we truly achieve a state of altruism; the likes of which are as extraordinary as they are revolutionary.
Omar Alansari-Kreger, of Minneapolis, is a Muslim-American, a writer and a social activist.
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