It takes courage to believe in something you can’t perceive. It requires vulnerability. Like walking in complete darkness with only the sound of someone else’s voice to guide you. For this you need faith.
A key aspect of the dominant paradigm in our society is empiricism; believing in things you can observe and measure. These are the things that are accepted as ‘fact’. Anything else is fiction, religion or some other form of spiritual mumbo jumbo.
So why do we keep believing? Why do we keep going as if things could get better? We can’t see it. We can’t prove it’s going to happen, yet we believe that it is possible, why else would we keep trying?
So many of us still have hope.
It is kept alive by our faith.
Faith in things we ourselves cannot touch, taste, smell, see, or hear.
Faith is not only for religion. I am not a religious person, however, I am spiritual and I have faith in an intelligence greater than me. I believe that there is something more that I am, at least as yet, unable to perceive. A force that has influence and effects I can barely fathom. And I have hope, that we can be guided by whatever means this intelligence has to communicate with us, for example, through the effects of climate change; global warming.
It is interesting though, to also reflect on all the things I can observe and perceive but have absolutely no faith in at all. I have no hope for the future of some aspects of society.
I do not hope that democracy is on the decline, I do not have faith in autocracy.
I do not hope that western society continues the path of destruction established by capitalist industrialists and rationalised by corporate clones. I do not have faith in administrative bureaucracy or existing power structures.
I do not hope that the rise of the empowered feminine is squashed by the crises unfolding around us. I do not have faith in the patriarchy.
My hopes are for a future of cooperation, collaboration and compassion. A thriving planet on which all inhabitants are free to live their best life. And while there is observable evidence for this occurring in pockets around the globe, we have not yet crossed the threshold of enshrining hope and faith for a better future within the policies, processes and other rituals of modern life on planet Earth.
Instead we hear and talk about ‘transformation’ as if it were a magic process for making everything better. Yet most have no understanding of what they are transforming into and can barely manage small amounts of positive change, never-mind the radical undertakings of actual transformation.
And this is because so, so many still do not believe in things they themselves cannot perceive.
They do not have hope for the future because they have lost faith in almost every aspect of their human lives. These people are immersed in corporate culture, disconnected from the natural processes of life, neurotically obsessed with power and profit, or simply too far in debt, too deeply lost in learned helplessness, to have hope for anything better for themselves or anyone else on the planet. Corporate clones, doing as they’re told. They can’t perceive hope, they have lost faith. They just keep going.
What else can they do? They need to pay their mortgage. They need to feed their kids.
This I understand.
These people feel stuck.
These people are enslaved.
But what of their managers? The C suite execs? Their bills are paid. But still most are unwilling to give up their status or inflated salaries, or any other observable, perceivable, tangible benefits they receive in order to demonstrate their faith in something other than money. If they have any hope for the future, they refuse to act on it. This is their privilege, afforded to them by the society that we share and allow. These people are addicted, their inflated egos terrified of everything they’re not.
And then let’s look higher. To the celebrity politicians, the international bureaucrats, the oligarchs, the tycoons and the billionaires, and all the other ‘fat cats’, who borrow money for tax breaks, who hide money in off shore accounts while millions of others literally starve to death. People who could rebuild and sustainably develop entire nations with the wealth they have personal control over. Yet they’d rather build rockets and sail yachts. Because they have no faith in anything other than their privileged position in society. They have lost hope for anything other than designer labels and 6 star resorts, the drugs of the wealthy consumer. The gods and goddesses of modern society. They hold the power. Just a few of them united could change the future of our planet, yet they live in the moment, numbed and stupefied by the observable, tangible stuff they immerse themselves within. They hope only for more.
They can’t see beyond their own tiny little stint of mortality.
Their minds a closed system of egotistical proportions.
As us Aussies would say, ‘a legend in their own lunchbox’.
They believe only in what they can touch and see. A lavish lifestyle, clinically sealed so as to remain uncontaminated by the realities of ongoing global crises.
And if they can’t see, feel or measure the consequences of their actions and choices, they’re not really happening, right? They live in a world where they look around and see everyone else striving for the same prizes. They are immersed in a culture that refuses to acknowledge different ways of being as legitimate. And they continue to push and force and manipulate the world to bend to their will, to work for them in order to maintain their delusional, faithless beliefs.
Like a tiny child who can’t yet understand that simply covering your own eyes doesn’t hide your whole body.
Empiricism: If I can’t see it, smell it, hear it, taste it, touch it, it’s not real.
It is only now, that people of all walks are affected by travel restrictions, food shortages and other supply disruptions, global warming and associated extreme weather events, by pandemics and now again by war, that we are seeing more people starting to believe. Now they can perceive the effects. The consequences of our collective actions. The consequences of allowing a small few, who believe only in their own contrived ways, to control us all.
‘Real power is achieved when the ruling class controls the material essentials of life, granting and withholding them from the masses as if they were privileges.‘~ George Orwell.
Faith is the key to hope.
Without it we can’t trust each other.
Without it we don’t dare to dream.
And dreaming takes courage.
Faith is not for the faint hearted.
However, when we are bold enough to listen to the stories of people different to us, we begin to understand. It gives us a chance to believe in something more than sprawling, new homes and airline lounges. Something more than ourselves.
When we resist the temptation to turn off a news story about cultures and people we have previously ignored, we start to consciously overcome the biases and blind-spots created by societal privilege.
When we acknowledge the pain and suffering our collective culture has caused others, we can start to act in ways to mitigate, minimise and prevent this harm. Waiting until we feel the pain ourselves is too late. By then it has come full circle. By then we are living our own karma. And without conscious disruption to this trauma loop, we too become stuck.
Instead, we must slow down and notice the consequences of our own choices, beyond those we experience ourselves. We need to become mindful of our actions, so that we might perceive our interdependence, the ripple effects, the ecosystem that sustains life. And in this, we might learn to perceive the numerous ways in which we can transcend our own limited being and experience.
In a sense, it is possible to cheat death if we set things in motion for future positive impact. Every one of us is capable of creating a beautiful legacy for others, even those we cannot yet perceive. We have the ability to do something now for our children’s, children’s children, to set our world on a path for a better future.
When we respect and honour the sovereignty of others, when we have faith that their beliefs and their values are right for them, and we believe in others and their stories and experiences, including those we ourselves can’t directly perceive, when we learn to trust others, then there is hope.
Hope that we can each live our lives,
Free of judgment,
Free of fear,
With love & light,
Simone B’Free x
With thanks to @lifeofrileypictures for the beautiful images.