Suddenly and without warning I am filled with a rage, eager to make a change not just in my life but also in the world. No, not rage, a fire. Rage will destroy us all but fire is cathartic. I’m twenty years old and am privileged enough to have a million doors opening up in front of me. My future is wide and welcoming, and the only thing limiting my potential is myself. The same is true for many, many of my peers. We’re all heading on up, to the administrative class. So why am I so filled with a sense of hopelessness? I look into the future but rather than seeing success and accolades I see only dread, my dread, glaring back at me. I’m not afraid of growing up, but I’m not a child anymore. Maybe I used to be helpless to stop our society’s destruction, but now I’m one of the causes. I don’t know if I can live this way.
I think down deep, in the pit of my being, at the epicenter of my morality there is something screaming at me. Not just me, everyone. An innate sense of right and wrong. Far be it from me to judge an individual, but I am not a moral relativist. And we all know, whether we want to say it or not. We can bury our guilt in the trappings of this world, in objects and money and happiness (yes, especially happiness), bury it to the point of silence, but still on occasion from the depth of some dark night we awake, shaking, feeling this primal knowledge clawing at our insides. And we know. Know that the life we are living is wrong. Know that the world we are living is wrong. Know that the society we are living in is sick, and we are the viruses.
I tell myself that fulfillment comes from survival. It doesn’t matter that the field I’m going into (banking) has no obvious social utility, because I’m going to be rich, and when I’m a millionaire I can help people. When I am a member of the 1% I can change the world, but until then I must fight and crush and tear apart any barrier, and disregard the shrieking in my stomach and the homeless man I silently pray won’t speak to me as I pass. And I tell myself that this is okay, because money is the solution. And I think this because from the time I was born, I was taught that it ultimately all came down to whether or not I could afford it. It’s a convincing lie, to be sure. Propagated by the very institution that benefits most from it. I’m old enough now to know it’s a lie. We all know it’s a lie. But it is the lie that our society is built on. If we destroy it everything topples over. We would have to rebuild. Better to live in an unfair world where there is a chance that you could be happy, than to risk the chance that you never can be.
Ask a person how they define personal success. Answers vary but will often include things like having a fulfilling career, or owning a house, or raising a loving family. Most people think within the confines of their own lives. Very few say personal success will be achieved when there is no longer anyone living in poverty. We think of survival in terms of the individual, which is counterintuitive. When we think of ourselves as islands, as oppose to cells, we are going against our survival instinct. Fundamentally, we want the species to survive. But these ambitions get clouded by greed and power lust. So that the only thing that matters is if my family unit and I are comfortable. I am not above this way of thinking. I’m guiltier of it than others. And my soul aches because of it. So now I feel I must change it.
The US government is ruinous. Capital Hill is owned by the big businesses. This is undeniable. I’m not even condemning the people who do it, because this set up is how the government works. If people weren’t being bought and sold and bribed then our system would cease to function. I’m going to vote in November, but this election is dust. Regardless of who gets voted in the system will remain the same. No one who is working in the government has the power to change it in any significant way, not as politicians. It’s broken beyond repair. And so it must be burnt to the ground. That’s our job.
Welcome to the Revolution.
When I was in 10th grade I took a course called Democracy in a Global Setting, and in it we discussed nonviolent resistance at length. At the time I treated it as little more than an easy elective concerning a topic I had only a middling interest in. And yet the days spent in that class stay with me, reminding me of why it is not okay to sit and pretend that everything is okay. At the time I didn’t understand the point of the course, but I get it now. People have power. When large groups of people get together to accomplish a common goal, there is no enemy that is too large. What’s more, you don’t have to resort to violence in order to take down your enemy. Humanity as a collective is so powerful, more powerful than a gun. Our greatest weapon is our ability to refuse. They could have a million guns but no one can take away your free will, not without your consent. Strength of will is our weapon of choice. Strength of will, and love. Because when you look into another person’s eyes you will always see yourself reflected back. You will see yourself in your enemy, and you will know that our revolution is a righteous one, and that we are fighting for something greater than ourselves. We will change society, and we will not raise a hand to do it.
The same cannot be said for the other side, but we cannot hate them for that. Guns are what they know, and we have all been trained to do as we are told. There will be martyrs. But there will always be more people than there are guns. And when the dust has settled, and we have won, the story of our revolution will be told not in blood, but in song.
Of course, it’s very easy for me to sit here and wax poetic, but without specifics, it’s just a feeling, and without actions it’s just an idea. Such things are coming, and soon. I think though, the first step to the Revolution succeeding is for people to start seeing themselves not as individuals, but as parts of a whole. May we will ourselves to this understanding.
We recognize that we were put on this earth not to take but to help, not to pillage but to grow, not to destroy but to create, and our enemies tremble. And so our work has already begun.