People who hold out a vision of a world characterized by liberation sometimes upset us. Such a vision can remind us of our own expectations as young people and the disappointment and dismay we experienced as we let go of those expectations.
As young people, we held high expectations for our world. We expected to live in a world characterized by fairness, equity and justice. We expected to witness relationships, interactions, institutions and societies characterized by fairness, equity and justice. We were disappointed and dismayed to see so much injustice in the world around us. We were startled to witness a world permeated by vast differences in access to resources and quality of life.
When we expressed our expectations that people around us would intervene to make the world better, we were told that by those people nearest and dearest to us, our parents, teachers and faith leaders, that we were naïve and that as we became more “mature,” we would understand better why we must accept a world characterized by injustice. “That is how society has always been,” we were told, “and that is how it always will be.”
We learned to accommodate this view of society and accept an unjust society along with our inequitable relationships within that society as inescapable. We made the mental, emotional and intellectual adjustments necessary to live comfortably with ourselves in a society characterized by inequity and injustice. This assault on our integrity and sense of self was explained away by descriptions that made the targets of injustice responsible for that injustice.
When someone offers a vision of liberation, that a just and equitable world is possible and that we can create it in our lifetime with the resources that we have at our disposal, we respond in different ways. Sometimes we welcome the reminder and the challenge that a vision of liberation holds for us. Sometimes, this vision can upset the equilibrium that we created for ourselves when we abandoned that vision as young people. We made the mental, emotional and intellectual adjustments that we were told we had to make to live in societies characterized by injustice. Sometimes, the discomfort that ensues from having our equilibrium shaken causes us to lash back at the person who presents a vision of fairness, equity and justice. The reminder of the ideals and expectations that we abandoned as young people is sometimes painful to bear.
I invite each of us to imagine a world characterized by liberation.
I invite each of us to imagine liberation in our lifetime.
I invite each of us to imagine that we can help to make liberation happen.
Love for liberation