On May 8, 2012 Veena Vasista wrote:|
I really valued ijourney's take on this Einstein piece - the first steer given in the seed questions for reflection, because this is the aspect of what Einstein is saying here that resonates with me the most: what we believe directs our behaviors, actions, creations. In my own work, I've grappled with the question 'What are my beliefs about human nature? After a long, challenging journey of about twenty years of conscious inquiry, I've landed with the belief that essentially says: the human spirit is intrinsically compassionate, collaborative and creative (I recently wrote about this: Our Direction is our Destination). Directed by this belief, I try to seek out and nourish the spirit in myself and in everyone around me. This belief is now a core component not just of my social change professional work, but of how I try to interact with people generally.
With the question 'Is the Universe Friendly?', the prompt for us to become aware of our fundamental beliefs, and the conclusion that 'God does not play dice with the universe', Einstein directs us to take responsibility for our creations. This idea front of mind, I cannot help but join up Einstein's conclusions with Gandhi's direction to 'Be the change you wish to see.' I'm increasingly getting the sense that we - social activists/changemakers - often let ourselves down by not digging deeply enough into our own beliefs and the corresponding behaviors and creations they are generating.
At the risk of perhaps repeating what Einstein's wisdom sets out above, I am inclined to observe that we easily forget the reality that if we are moving through the world thinking the world/universe is unfriendly, out to get us or simply doesn't care one way or the other - we are really thinking that our fellow human beings are unfriendly or uncaring. Believing this, we become defensive, afraid and aggressive. Driving change from this position - a position of fear, insecurity, doubt - takes us in circles - creates revolutions take us back to where we started. This is, after all, the danger of revolution - implicit in the word itself - which can refer to 'a turn that takes you back to its starting point.'
I would like us - social activists - to give more time, space, energy over to checking in with our beliefs - what they are and if/how they align with our actions and our visions for the world. Social activists are no different than anyone else - that is, we all harbor beliefs that aren't always serving us and others well. What does serve us well is to do the work that brings those beliefs into consciousness. Einstein and Gandhi both call out to us to be more self-aware and with that awareness take greater responsibility for our creations - which, speaking of coming full circle, also brings us back to last week's ijourney post: Response vs. Reaction.