People of different levels of consciousness have different tastes and different understandings of the same subject, which is why no writing can please everyone, including this one. If you are highly opinionated and radical about the perceived high value of protesting, this blog post will be a waste of your time as it will not do anything for you, especially it will not validate your beliefs. However, if you are asking yourself whether you should join the protesters or why protesting is not effective as you hoped for, then you will get the answers and solutions here.
This post may be stepping on some toes, kicking off a spicy discussion, and raising all sorts of interesting questions about how loosely we can wear the garments of our various shifting and intersecting identities, and how difficult it can be to keep on moving through our sticking points into empathy, and what a gap there can be between our intentions and the effect we have on others.
We kept quiet for a long time, maintaining our neutrality, but now that things are getting out of hand in some regions of the world, escalating to a destructive degree, we feel like we should honestly examine the nature of the beast which has been unleashed.
The idea of moral superiority entertained by many protesters and the “holier than thou” secular mindfulness, brought to us by neoliberal elitist sociopaths and politicians, have been the source of many immoral, inhuman acts, including killing those perceived as morally inferior. Such morality leads to the cancel culture, exclusion, and division. Virtuology, on the other hand, advocates inclusion and unison, with a rehabilitating rather than punishing approach toward transgressors.
Before anything, to be crystal clear, our position about the protests is neutral. We are neither anti-protest nor pro-protest. The point of this post is to clarify many things surrounding this topic and hopefully get you to be neutral as well so that you could address any issue peacefully with creative rather than destructive power. If more people would spend less time being focused on problems and conspiracy theories and more time being focused on and creating a solution, all problems would be solved easier and quicker.
To find out if such well-meaning actions were a self-inflicted dose of futility or not, think about it a bit. Try to come up with any “anti” protest that has brought a positive change and you will come to realize that historians are right about it as, if you could find any, they are too few and far between. Don’t confuse the “anti” protest with the “pro” rally or march or campaign. Likewise, don’t be fooled, as many so-called “pro” demos are in fact “anti” protests. When you are pro something, there is no need to protest about it, is it? A protest is typically ‘against’ something or other, thus campaigning for something is better than protesting against the other.
From anti-globalization, anti-gun, anti-Chevron, and anti-Wall-street (Occupy) to anti-China pro-Tibet demos, Arab Spring, Greta Thunberg’s led climate rallies, and more recent anti-oppression movements that were all focused on problems rather than solutions, none of them have achieved anything substantial. A fancy, symbolic declaration here and there to convince the mob that something is being done but nothing else really changed for the people in terms of quality of life.
I am not even going to pretend not to see the hypocrisy of protesters (that is, frankly, a projection of my own hypocrisy). What I would really like to know is how those who wish others to change have changed themselves? Because, if you are protesting about pollution, for instance, then the question is what you yourself are doing about not polluting the Earth. Those clueless kids who got it wrong that pollution causes global warming (it does but only to 1%; Earth warming is more due to solar magnetic surface cycles), how many of them have actually stopped eating meat since the meat industry pollutes the planet the most? And how many anti-pollution protestors have stopped using cars and airplanes?
Everyone wants others to change their ways, but they don’t want to change their own ways about the same thing. How ridiculous is that! No wonder nothing changes. No wonder hypocrites have no power to change anything. Go ahead and take it personally. I sure did when friends at the Pro-Tibet rally gave me dirty looks and disapproving remarks for not joining the second time around (I got disillusioned after the first attempt). What do I know about Tibet to be the judge who is right or wrong about territorial claims! And did Tibetans show up for me and my folk when we needed support? No, they didn’t. I don’t have to be unsupportive as they were, but no judging on both sides, please.
The real reason why “anti” protests or movements were never and can never be successful is not just that they are led by hypocrites, minorities, or conspiracy theorists, or that they are problem-focused rather than solution-focused, or that they are nothing but a blame-game and a victimhood demonstration but because they are a violation of supreme universal and spiritual laws. The failure of protests has its roots in simple laws of nature and the laws of physics, in particular the law of nonresistance, which in physics is called Newton’s third law of motion. This law regulates that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. What that means is, the more you resist, the stronger the other side gets. What you resist, persists. So, by offering resistance, you are making the other side stronger.
As the folk saying goes, the strongest is the tree that the winds beat the most. Another one says, what does not kill them, makes them stronger. In other words, unless you kill your opponents, you make them stronger. And killing is, of course, never a solution as it brings more problems.
The proof that resistance builds strength, you can see in your own life on all levels. One such proof is in the gym. As you know, the more resistance you confront in form of weights or on the bike, the stronger your muscles get. Another proof is all your conflicts. Whenever someone attacked you, what did you do? Did you do what the attackers wanted you to do, did you stumble, or did you get more resourceful and stronger in defending yourself?
Do you think that when you oppose, protest, attack, vilify, or do anything against someone that they will just sit there and cry? Of course not. They will do everything they can to defend themselves, to get allies and whatever to show that they are right and you wrong. In a way, you force them to get stronger. So, your efforts are counter-productive. You believe you are doing something great and noble when in fact you are doing the opposite.
There is truth in the phrase ‘No good deed goes unpunished’ as acts of kindness backfire on those who offer them. Let’s not forget the proverb, advocated by Charlotte Brontë, Lord Byron, Shakespeare in “Romeo and Juliet”, Søren Kierkegaard, Karl Marx, the movie “Highway to Hell”, etc.: the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Hitler’s intentions were also good for his folk when he orchestrated the uprising against the Jews and others. Historically, all the do-gooders in the world are troublemakers. Naïve people easily fall victim to the terror of do-gooders and their ideologies, as fighting for political correctness, they get manipulated into believing that it is ok to be offensive, humiliating, and even exert violence. Consider that, but not with your ego-driven mind. What’s your gut feeling telling you about it?
You’ve got to see it as it is. You might have excuses and justifications for your past cluelessness, but now that you are in the know, all vindications lose value. The sooner you embrace this law of nonresistance, the quicker you stop inflicting suffering upon yourself and others. More on Nonresistance on Wikipedia.
Nonresistance certainly does not mean that you should do nothing, be passive or go into any of the faulty modes such as apathy, bitterness, victim mentality, or anything like that. If you are sure that there is some destructive force prevailing in your community, there is a constructive, virtuous way to conquer it and surely it is not the way of destruction or hurting others, such as attacking them, vilifying them, criticizing them, shaming them, cursing them, being disrespectful, judgmental, antagonistic, and such.
Once you are familiar with the power of non-resistance, you will realize that it is unintelligent and barbaric to use weapons, even in self-defense (because whoever is attacking you will be thrown off by it), since we have intelligent and civilized means to find solutions. Being pro-gun is like saying the brute force is more powerful than intellect. On the surface, looking superficially and narrow-mindedly, one can conclude that sword is mightier than a pen, but anyone willing to inquire deeper would find out that history proves otherwise.
Words vs. Swords
The fact that people are using more pens than swords speaks for itself which of the two proved to be better. Also, the fact that generals don’t rule the world but those using pens is another proof.
Great writers create immortal literature. Name one gunman or warrior that achieved something great or lasting. Name one gunman or soldier that is mightier than, say, Shakespeare or Picasso. What would the world be like had William Shakespeare chosen the sword over the word?
No one needs to prove the power of the written word, as everyone is very well aware of it. The ancient Greek philosophies, the Vedas, the Bible, the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, the Declaration Of Independence, the Communist Manifesto, etc. – all these writings have had, and continue to have, the power to change the lives of individuals and society.
As Sun-Tzu wrote in “The Art of War”, battles are won before they are fought.
By virtue of pen, battles need not even be fought.
A pen can write and draw. It can write mighty poems, prose, articles, letters, music, movies, recipes, teachings, signatures, declarations, laws, history, and a check, to name a few. It can draw potent paintings, pictures, illustrations, cartoons, designs, etc.
Words and pictures are a more effective form of communication than weapons and violence.
Ideas have a broader impact than weapons. We have achieved with our “pen” or writings so much more than we could ever achieve by force or “sword”. In wrong hands, neither pen nor sword has any power.
Terrorists and others who prefer using force over intelligence should ask themselves what have they achieved with their violent terrorist attacks? The world has not changed to their beliefs and is more antagonistic towards them than before. If they have used their intelligence better, say, to create arts to propagate their message, they might have been able to convert a multitude to their beliefs.
An allegory might help to see how power doesn’t lie in physical but mental strength: who is mightier, lion or man? Sometimes it is one and sometimes it is the other, but all in all, men are mightier than lions due to the power of intelligence, otherwise we wouldn’t have lions caged in Zoos, or tamed in circuses and movies.
Primitive people believe that they need to fight evil with evil. How better are they then than those they fight against? They are then no better. If you concede the moral high ground to those you take as inferior, then they win – they brought you down to their level. Is that what you want?
Whenever you allow anyone to sink you to their level of indecency, it is your fault, not theirs. If you resort to destructive, indecent, improper, unethical, disrespectful, rude, judgmental, antagonistic behavior in the course of opposing or protesting against something or someone, then you are no better than them. If you use your high ideals as an excuse to take the lower moral ground, this is your choice and therefore your fault. If you go down to their level of impropriety and offensiveness, they are winning, not you. Do you not see that?
Mahatma Gandhi was influenced by Tolstoy’s book “The Kingdom of God Is Within You”, which embodies the idea of Christ’s teachings of nonresistance during conflicts. Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus, Krishna, and all the other wise people were notable advocates of nonresistance, which is why it would be wise for you to also consider it. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told everyone not to resist evil and turn the other cheek. In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna criticizes the warrior Arjuna for his resistance to fight on the battlefield due to his adversaries being his friends and relatives, advising him to go on and fight. This is controversial outside the context. Context is key, as always. If you made it to the battlefield where is your duty to fight as a soldier, if you refuse to fight in that context, you are in a resisting mode. The view of death is also key because Krishna and Hindus know that there is no death (eternal life and reincarnation). By going with the flow, not resisting, we are surrendering to God’s will, allowing to be the instruments of the universal laws and karma being carried out. Non-resistance is the highest ideal because it implies the non-duality and highly potent virtues of surrender, faith, inner peace, and such.
Don’t follow the primitive leaders that resort to any such uncivilized means. If you succumb to Machiavellian views in which “the end justifies the means”, then you are no better than those you protest against, who also resort to any means to achieve their ideals. If a leader of a conspiracy theory is pointing only to problems, criticizing, blaming, raging, and such without giving any constructive solutions, but only destructive ones, while profiting from it, then beware of such flaw-driven, paranoid sociopaths who create a cult-like following on the basis of “them against us” scheme that they turn into “us against them” (as if this is more noble). They can be fascinating, charismatic, and bombarding you with convincing proofs of their theories, but so were also Hitler, bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Castro, Lenin, Stalin, and many other then-perceived-great-saviors and cult leaders. There are so-called proofs for anything, even for Earth being flat, but none of it justifies violence and vilifying others.
How do you know a right leader from a wrong one? How do you know anything? The human mind is not capable of telling truth from falsehood. How do you know whom to trust? How do you know if you are brainwashed, manipulated, or simply wrong? Both the establishment and the opposition use the same tactics to get you to side with them. How do you know when you are deceived or living in an illusion? If you don’t live in bliss, you live in illusion because well-being is humans’ natural state of being. You can recognize a good leader or guide by their virtue-driven rhetoric, explicitly calling for non-violence and respect on social media, contributing to the success of the campaign without any bloodshed.
Sure, some smooth operators play you with their sophistry, dazzle you with their sophisticated, academic, or grandiose eloquence, or maybe you are more drawn to the charismatics guru types who play on your desperate need to believe in something and belong to a group or cause, or maybe master manipulators won you over by playing on your fears, doubts, hopes and wishes. Whoever wins you over with some irresistible controversy and creates an us-versus-them dynamic is not going to lead you to anything good but will convince you that you are on a good path or doing something great for the whole community, when in fact you are being used as instruments in their agenda. Check your before and after condition to know the truth. Whoever uses heated, antagonistic lingo is leading you on. If their “truth” is really true, they would behave in the manner of wise-men, rather than angry, arrogant attention seeker and know-it-all. Think about it with your own head.
Where do you draw the line? It’s not always easy to discern whether your discomfort is personal, or if it’s reflecting a larger, systemic problem with protesting, so go with your gut feeling. If you find yourself among the crowds that are violently expressing their views, anger, hatred, or attacking others, voice an objection and walk away. Don’t tolerate it for the sake of the end goal because the end never justifies the negative means since there are always positive means available.
If you’re attending a rally or march addressing social ills as an act of solidarity, especially for a reason like, say, a dark-skinned person just got murdered by cops for no reason, you should avoid making it your personal mission to soothe or contain people’s rage. Apart from making you look like a douchebag, opposing your own crowd, aversion also deprives you and others of opportunities to learn. There is the right time and place for everything, as well as proper action. It is never proper to force anything. The time of crisis is a great opportunity for soul-searching and for men to seek solace in God.
This is how the mainstream wins. The establishment wins when they don’t resist but do as if they give in by giving the impression they comply – issuing some new legislation, declaration, or whatever – when in reality nothing really changes. In some cases, they might even give the protesters what they wanted but they compensate it by taking away something else so that nothing changes in the end. They keep on doing this until they wear you out. Like water – not resisting but finding new ways forward or transmuting into other forms.
Transmutation is founded on non-resistance. Rather than resist, water transmutes into the humid air, vapor steam, frost, snow, ice, as well as clouds, puddles, rivers, oceans, etc. Water is the only element on Earth that comes in three forms or states: liquid, gas, and solid, and easily changes from one state to another. The changes of the state include melting, sublimation, evaporation, freezing, condensation, and deposition. All changes of state involve the transfer of energy. The Sun provides the energy to power the water cycle. When water changes state, the total number of water particles remains the same – nothing is lost.
Do you get what I mean by that? Humans are not water but we are made mostly of water. The average percentage of water in a person’s body is around 60% if not more ( changes slightly with age, sex, and hydration levels; lungs 83%, heart 75–80%, brain 73%, muscles 70–79%). Therefore, advice to be non-resistant like water is not that inappropriate, as it may seem superficially looking. Rather than resist, we can change our own state and with it change our surroundings, including those that stand in the way of our well-being.
There are all kinds of ways to engender compassionate confrontation, genuinely express spiritual determination in the face of repression, and build inspiring alternatives toward a just and peaceful world. Whether we’re doing some great community service type work, writing, promoting virtues, raising consciousness, saying prayers, staging meditation vigils, leading chants on a megaphone, scaling lampposts for a banner drop, painting signs, passing out flyers, or coordinating accessibility and legal support, there are so many great ways to participate in collective, public actions. Personal choices for ethical alignment are one thing, but trying to fair-trade-purchase our way out of systemic oppression? Not gonna work.
There is no need to use guns because ARTS is a mightier weapon than ARMS. Primitive people use guns, force, and violence, whereas civilized people use arts, power, and diplomacy to win. If there is a country that rules the world, it does it through arts & culture, rather than through force. Arts is the only way to eventually win the hearts and minds of the other camp and open up the possibilities for reconciliation.
Arts is one of the highest forms of protest when it is virtue-driven rather than used in a derogatory manner (as means to vilify anyone, or for mocking, character assassination, or any other negative and destructive means). You don’t have to be an artist to engage. Anyone can do arts and, most importantly, anyone can disseminate arts and participate. Whether it is a song, poetry, graffiti, posters, comics, cartoons, painting, literary work, fashion statements, or anything else, it has power in the right hands.
All “successful” (not successful in terms of end goals) protests and revolutions had strong artistic props (images and anthems).
Art can be used effectively to communicate a protest message to a wider audience, garner public support, involve people in a movement, and avoid the police brutality that might often come in response to conventional protest methods. In repressive regimes, art can disguise the message in form of metaphors and allegories so that only insiders get it. Art and photography can also be used to publicize injustices suffered during protests and often serve as snapshots of a protest that can outlast the protest message.
Artivism (a portmanteau word combining art and activism) developed in recent years as antiwar and anti-globalization protests emerged and proliferated, with artivists using their artistic talents to fight against injustice and oppression. However, artists are activists since the dawn of time. All avant-garde, progressive art is a form of protest, which is why is impossible to single out the most exemplary ones, so we are going to just mention some, which might not be the best examples but serve the purpose here.
In the 1960s the songs of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and others protested racism, war, and the military-industrial complex, in an artistic tradition of political protest. Woodstock was one of the most famous music festivals of all time, held in 1969 as a hippie protest (Flower power) against the Vietnam War, or for peace. Sting composed songs for a variety of causes, displaying the virtue of compassion for victims, such as saving the rain-forest in Brazil, for widows against the Pinochet regime in Chile, a plea against the Cold War with compassion for the Russians, for homosexuals, refugees, etc. There are many arts of music that serve as a protest against the establishment, such as rock, punk, heavy metal, etc. that are not effective when they express resistance and ANTI sentiments instead of PRO proposals and virtues. Reggae music is an important means of transporting vital messages of the Rastafari movement, with the reggae musicians as the messengers and agents for change.
Dada artists rejected the logic, reason, and aestheticism of modern capitalist society, instead expressing nonsense, irrationality, and anti-bourgeois protest in their works. The art of the movement spanned visual, literary, and sound media, including collage, sound poetry, cut-up writing, and sculpture. Dadaist artists expressed their discontent toward violence, war, and nationalism, and maintained political affinities with radical left-wing and far-left politics. Many types of artists protest against capitalism, industrialization, and globalization, rejecting the artificially synthesized mass culture. The most well-known contemporary visual artivists are Ai Weiwei and Banksy.
Arts can be used for both constructive and destructive ends. Maybe one of the most sinister examples of the power of arts is the use of the artistic, graphic symbol of the red-white-black swastika (ancient symbol for good luck and well-being) designed by Hitler (who was an artist prior to going into politics) for the Nazi Party, which was insignia for the Aryan race protesting against Untermenschen (subhumans) such as Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, blacks, the physically and mentally disabled, Jehovah’s Witnesses, dissenting clergy, Slavic people, etc.
Another law that governs the universe and the outcome of protests is the law of causality, a.k.a. what you give is what you get. So, if you criticize others, you will get criticized. If you disrespect and shame others, you too will get disrespected and shamed. If you hate and curse others, you will get it back. Everything you put out comes back to you like a boomerang in one form or the other. This is why criticizing, vilifying and cursing others is foolish. Curses, like chickens, come home to roost. The same applies to blessings and praise, too, of course.
“Anti” protests are never about being kind, respectful, loving, compassionate, or any other virtue. Mostly they are outlets to vent one’s anger, frustration, hatred, victimhood, bitterness, resentments, fears, worries, criticism, blame, aggression, irresponsibility, rivalry, and similar faults. Anything that is driven by faults is faulty, even if it is based on virtues.
Maybe you are different, but if you look around at your fellow protesters without any bias, you can’t help but notice that they are flawed. When flawed people protest again other flawed people, what does that say about the whole venture of protesting? Those you protest against may be flawed but so are you. “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at them,” said someone wise. The same goes for words because words can hurt as much as stones.
If you call yourself Christian, then by engaging in any “anti” protests, you are acting against your moral standards because Jesus Christ told you to turn the other cheek, didn’t he? He said, resist no evil, for he knew, in reality, there was no evil, therefore nothing to resist or protest against. No person and event are just bad, as everyone has their positive and negative features, due to the law of polarity. Seeing just one side in person is narrow-minded and wrong and leads to them acting badly even more. Just because we don’t agree with some people, it doesn’t mean that they are bad or wrong. Did Jesus protest against anyone? You have no right to call yourself Christian if you don’t follow Christ’s example. Resisting no evil and turning the other cheek doesn’t mean what you might think. Most superficial people interpret it wrongly, which is why they don’t follow Christ in that, even though they call themselves Christians. No matter what your interpretations of Christian teachings are, it is a sin or wrong to engage in anything disrespectful, judgmental, and hurtful to another human being, regardless of whether you agree with them or not. The impulse toward pseudo-martyrdom in Christian circles, wanting to sacrifice proudly for what you believe, may come from a noble source in you, but if it contains any dishonorable acts, then it is no longer noble but to the contrary. And let’s not forget the law of reaping and sowing, so, for instance, oppressing and demeaning women (patriarchy, inequality, witch hunts, etc.), children (pedophilia), LGBTQ community, pagans, “heretics,” and others must backfire if we all reap what we sow. No wonder Christians feel oppressed, but who is going to stop this cycle?
Jesus: “But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you and persecute you.”
If you call yourself Buddhist, then you too should not engage in any violent activities, whether violence is expressed physically or otherwise. Real Buddhists are non-confrontational, not judgmental, and don’t partake in nonviolence pissing contests. They reserve their energy for actually tackling systemic injustice. Not to mention the principle of karma, which is aligned with the principle of causality! If you really believe in karma and reincarnation or rebirth, then you know that if you are, for instance, oppressed, it is only because you too were an oppressor, in this life or a previous one. As karma represents a rhythmic return to harmony, you should pay your karmic debts with dignity and in peace, rather than resist it and repeat the cycle. Protesting is also a form of oppression if you press your agenda(s) and belief system onto others who don’t want it and cause any suffering to others, including the establishment.
I have to admit I share a vicarious thrill when cyber-attacks bring some corporate Goliath to its knees, even if only for a couple of hours. Nonetheless, I am as displeased when the rich suffer as I am when the poor do, so I take no pleasure in seeing anyone in distress or on their knees. Alas, both groups have their faults and need to be cut to size from time to time to correct their ways. Whether public shaming, cyber-attacks, and protests are the best way to go about it, I doubt it. A plausible consumers’ threat to boycott if the company doesn’t comply with their demands usually works, as executives are at the mercy of their customers, hence “the customer is the king”. And in the case of workers, a threat to strike is effective when they are focused on finding a solution, rather than on the problem.
Transforming the cyber pranks into effective political actions that can advance the goals of communities and humanity as a whole will most definitely require virtue-driven endeavor (as opposed to flaw-driven protests): building networks and relationships of trust and commitment among millions of people who, needing healthy food and decent jobs, make pressure on brands and governments to hold themselves to a higher standard. We do it by making choices about who we vote for, who we buy from and who we work for.
If a dominant group infringes upon the rights of a minority and the lawfully elected government issues repressive legislation aimed at curbing their rights, of course, the public doesn’t need to wait for years to express its objection. However, there are lawful and peaceful ways to go about it. Certainly, there is nothing wrong to take to the streets or to social media channels to express your opinions, as long as you maintain your decency. The best is to follow the golden rule: Treat others as you would like others to treat you – Do not treat others in ways that you would not like to be treated.
However, you can’t change some legislation by mere protesting. Laws are changed through complex legislative mechanisms. These things have protocols you need to follow, such as demonstrating huge public support through petitioning, campaigning, lobbying, advocacy, networking, and then writing letters to politicians, contacting the local legislators or policymakers to get them on board and navigate the technicalities of the legislative system, such as setting up an inquiry, securing a parliamentary debate on your issue, proposing an amendment to the bill in question or a new ballot, and rallying votes.
And if you can’t get through, there are always NGOs and associations you can turn to to make things happen, or partner with celebrities, willing to be a spokesperson for the movement, dedicating to the cause for years, rather than as a publicity stunt.
You might think all this is exhausting and time-consuming but protests are, too, and ineffective, so if you are willing to engage in a cause, be smart about choosing how you involve.
Whatever the status quo is, there will always be opposition. Challenging the status quo is part of the dynamics of the law of polarity. If protesters get their way, in time, their opposition will get stronger and protest too, and the whole dynamics between the opposite fractions will carry on. There will be always a large group of voters that doesn’t get their way after the new election or outcome, so they will keep on finding faults with the current governing group, even construct mean conspiracy theories about it. Certain demographic groups, such as anarchists, libertarians, socialists, and others, have a long history of antagonism to authority per se, rejecting any authority for the sake of being against the rule, dominance, and control.
The differences of opinion should be expressed in a peaceful, respectful, truthful, and reasonable manner, rather than with aggressive, devious, and unethical behavior. Freedom of speech or expression comes with a duty to be respectful towards others and peaceful. Those who abuse their right to freedom by being disrespectful, ill-mannered, rude, vulgar, hurtful, discriminatory, homophobic, racist, hatemongers, troublemakers, and/or evil have no right to freedom of expression. While international law protects free speech, including when it is deeply offensive, to protect certain public interests or the rights of others, speech can be legitimately restricted under the same law – such as when it violates the rights of others, or, advocates hatred and incites discrimination or violence. Discretion of speech is a higher good than freedom of speech.
The theatrics of the majority and minority dichotomy is intertwined in the fabric of democracy. This push-and-pull game between the opposite sides is never going to stop, whether the current protesters win or not, which is why from an absolute perspective, it is pointless to engage in it. It is more constructive to let go, be neutral and raise consciousness, knowing that the reality is created from the inside out.
With so many people protesting against democratically elected governments, maybe it is time to reconsider whether democracy is all it is cracked up to be. In the name of democracy, many crimes have been committed and immoralities allowed. It is all good on paper, in theory, but like every other system and religion, in praxis, it gets tainted with human human ignorance, bias, narrow-mindedness, and mischief.
The worst is the illusion of democracy, as in pseudo-democracy and demoncracy. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe put it, “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free,” the same applies to democracy. You think you are making free choices, when in fact you are being manipulated from day one, so you can’t tell. Free will is an illusion. Unfortunately, the elected are not the ones who have the best solutions for the whole country, but those who are best at manipulating the public to vote for them.
The problem with democracy is not only the illusion of free will and democracy but also that most people don’t get what they want. First of all, all those masses, who voted for the opposition, have to live with the policies made by the others who won the election, which is not fair to them – their will is not done. And the multitude who voted for the elected party (due to manipulative campaigns), the majority of them end up getting disappointed with false promises and not much (or anything) being better for them. So, their will is also not done.
The vulnerability of democracy was noted by Socrates, the wisest philosopher of all times, who predicted that democracies eventually fall due to giving equal voice and votes to the nonintegrous and ignorant segment of the population. Historians point out that the average duration of a democracy is thus usually only two-to-three hundred years before the self-centered voters deplete the country of its resources and political erudition. This weakness of democracy is why Socrates and Aristotle recommended the oligarchic form of government (in which power rests with a small number of people; preferably the most sagacious and wise are the appointed rulers); otherwise, selfish rhetoric would eventually prevail and weaken the republic, progressively leading to its downfall.
By the way, Socrates gave perhaps the oldest recorded statement of nonresistance philosophy around 399 BC. He was sentenced to death by the Athenian democracy for teaching his students to question authority and think for themselves. Socrates accepted his fate on reasons of morality and justice, rather than accept help from his supporters to flee Athens and escape execution. Jesus Christ did the same centuries later.
When it comes to oligarchy, it already runs most aspects of our lives. Most influence people get from family, work, teachers, and religion, all of which are oligarchic rather than democratic. None of the companies anywhere in the world are democratic; they are all oligarchic. If democracy is such a great governing system, why businesses are not democratic?! Religious organizations are also not democratic but oligarchic. Families are also not democratic but oligarchic. Formal education is also not democratic but oligarchic – people don’t get to decide what their children will be taught at schools. Since most establishments are not democratic, we can not say we live in democratic societies, can we?
Over idealization of democracy as the “one size fits all” magical solution to the frail infrastructure of countries is not realistic. Blindsided by their infatuation with the ideals of democracy and waving the flag of freedom, global leaders repeatedly fail to grasp the underpinnings of their grave blindness and instead project blame on terrorists.
All problems are learning and evolving opportunities, rather than grounds for getting into conflicts. Embracing the universal truth – “as within, so without” (the outside world is a reflection of our inner world), bright people know that all problems, such as disease, poverty and disorder stem from karma and a blocked psyche, and that to fix any problem on the physical or material level one must fix it first on the psychological or spiritual level, as well as cleanse own karmic debt, get rid of bad karma. This is what virtues and Virtuology are for.
Some of the virtues to cultivate in the context of protests are honor, dignity, respectfulness, decency, considerateness, diplomacy, tactfulness, sensibleness, thoughtfulness, benignity, kindness, responsibility, compassion, peacefulness, calmness, gratitude, faith, hope, optimism, altruism, forgiveness, acceptance, fearfulness, etc., as well as creativity, wisdom, mindfulness, resourcefulness, willingness, flexibility, openness, neutrality, modesty, helpfulness, etc. to find the kind of solutions that work for all.
How grand it is to stay calm and be compassionate when others expect you to be upset! Anyone can get upset, but it takes brilliant people to rise above the circumstances, have faith in the universal laws, and perceive order in apparent disorder.
From a peaceful protest being hijacked by opportunists with questionable motives, radicals, extremists, anarchists, libertarians, socialists, looters, agent provocateurs, engaging in violence and vandalism as well as distorting the message, to overreacting vigilantes and armed right-wing militia, along with the usual media misrepresentations and manipulations of the opponents, who don’t take the attacks sitting down. As usual, intruders will infiltrate to taint the movement and alienate sympathizers by slipping in inaccurate slogans and using disruptive “take-over” maneuvers.
And on top of all, even if the issue gets somehow solved, consider Murphy’s 13th Law, too: Every solution breeds new problems.
All things considered, you might get into the protesting fueled with your idealism, but it needs to be balanced with realism. No reason to be pessimistic because where there is a will, there is a way, an effective way. Evolution is given. Nothing stands in its way; only, it can’t be forced.
Don’t get me wrong. All of this talk about the futility of the “anti” protests is not meant to discourage anyone from following the path they believe is the best for them and/or their community, but to encourage all those among you who don’t feel like participating in protests to stay home and rather do something more constructive about it. What is good for some, might be bad for others. Don’t follow the herd just because you were talked into it or because you feel bad for not joining the crowd in showing what you stand for.
There are much better ways to show what you stand for than protesting. How about proposing the alternative, the better way of running the country, or planet?! So, this is meant to encourage you and empower you to be authentic and creative rather than just take the path of less resistance by just resisting with others.
Whatever you do, don’t get dragged into a heated conversation because not only that it doesn’t bring anything, but it causes both of you to get agitated and lower your level of consciousness which is disadvantageous on many levels. Both of you might get some satisfaction out of it but it is short-lived and destructive rather than constructive. If you feel like you need to criticize some apparent evildoers, make it constructive rather than shaming or hurting them. Not because they deserve it, because you are a kind and respectful person. You are kind and respectful because you are kind and respectful by nature, not because others make you so. It is in instances like these that you show what you are made of, what your real character is.
I’d love to unpack this a bit. Any forms of duality are just the two sides of the same coin, and for me, the sides don’t matter but the coin. I don’t take sides. I don’t do it because I see the positive and negative qualities in both sides and because in my experience oneness is the answer and solution and medicine and and and. Neutrality is a virtue, one that is aligned with the universal laws, the golden mean, and the Middle Way.
This “them against us” or vice versa attitude shared by the majority is not mine. I don’t protest because, in the spirit of oneness, I see a part of me in everyone and everything – in the evildoers, the hypocrites as well as in the righteous. It is beneath my dignity to protest, complain, shout or do anything against anyone. Duality thinking comes from ego and leads to suffering, whereas non-duality thinking takes us beyond the world of appearances into the sphere of essence, absolutes, and freedom from suffering (caused by division, separation, disunion, disconnection, conflicts, and such). Contrasts are there, but we don’t need to cling to one or the other – that is what non-duality is all about.
I also don’t protest because there is nothing to protest, as my reality is just fine, since it is determined by me, not by others, as I take full responsibility for my life. How about you? I could live under Hitler and still be fine because I am at peace with myself and the whole world. I have no reason to fear anyone since I give no one the power over me. As already mentioned, being like water – not resisting but finding new ways forward, we have more power.
I could be killed and I have no problem with it because I believe in eternal life and reincarnation. Death is not an issue for me because it is not the end, as I believe in eternal life and know that like energy, life cannot be destroyed; it can only change form. I also know (as taught in Bible, Quran, Vedic astrology and many other teachings, including by scientists and philosophers) that everyone’s exact time of death is set at birth, so there is no one, not even a virus to blame. In fact, there is no death, or death is not the end, as people who had near-death experiences testify (it is a transition from one state or plane to another, or it’s an entry into a higher state of consciousness or of being). My husband had not one but five near-death experiences.
And, I could be forced to be injected with some chemicals and this would be no problem for me because I can block the adverse effects and even flush it out of my system, as anyone can. For those who fear a vaccine, it will indeed be harmful to them, due to the reverse placebo or nocebo effect (negative expectations are powerful and pervasive in clinical practice).
I know my powers; do you know yours? They are the same, whoever you are. That is my point. We are all the same, regardless of appearances. It is the essence that matters. This human essence connects us. From that standpoint, protesting against others and harming them along the way is essentially an act against oneself.
The underlying motive of the protesters, the elephant in the room no one wants to see, is their fear. They play the blame-game because they have all sorts of fears, existential fears. And they have them because they believe others have the power to create their reality. They don’t take responsibility for their life. They have no faith in the power of God and are not aware of their own powers, which if not embraced and controlled can be destructive rather than constructive. Only by taking full responsibility for your choices and their consequences will you ever break free from the constant cycle of victimhood and the blame-game.
Fear is a misused imagination and inverted faith. Fear is faith in evil, instead of good. In other words, if you fear the bad guys, you believe in them being evil and having power over you; you only see their bad side and not the good side, which is narrow-minded. Jesus said: “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” To be fearless, you don’t need courage but faith. You must substitute faith for fear, otherwise, you will keep being stuck in fear, victimhood, and the blame-game that leads to your ruin. No one is doing it to you; you are doing it to yourself by the choices you are making. Have faith in your powers to design your reality regardless of others and, above all, have faith in God who is in charge, whether you like it or not how things are. Don’t hand the power over your life to no one because others are meant to look out for themselves first.
Another underlying, incognito motive of the protesters is ignorance. They believe they know what or who the cause of their suffering is or of the climate change or every other problem, but they are wrong as causality is not linear and there are many causes, starting from oneself (as within, so without). They are also ignorant of the Higher Power and the universal laws that govern the world. All is well with the world for those who believe in almighty God.
By protesting, you are saying your life, your reality, is determined by others, not you. Surely, it appears that way on the surface. On the surface. You don’t want to hear it, but your reality is all your doing, on levels you don’t understand. Causality is multidimensional and not linear; it less clear-cut than you think. There are wheels within wheels within wheels in the causation game, and if you are not at the wheel of your life, who is to blame? This is not to blame you for anything but to empower you because you can turn anything around once you take responsibility for your life and embrace your superpowers, your virtues.
Sure enough, there are enough negativities in the world to strikes a sour note with you, but if you are not aware of the Law of Polarity, then this is all you see: good and evil. Looking from your perspective, you are right to get sour at this or that, but you should know that your perception is limited by your perspective, by not seeing the big picture. Humans are narrow-minded by nature. This has both positive and negative sides. The catch is to transcend the narrow-mindedness, the duality thinking. For that, you need to raise your consciousness, which is done with virtues. We call it virtufication.
You can go through life by playing the blame-game, looking at what divides us and continue to get upset with others, or you can embrace your virtues, such as unconditional joy, love, peace, compassion, gratitude, faith, hope, honor, altruism, forgiveness, acceptance, wisdom, etc. and opt for well-being. It is your choice.
It might seem you are making choices with protesting and many other things, however, more often than not we are just pawns in a game that is larger than us. It takes an extraordinary influence to sway out of delusion and illusion. This may be that call for you. Or maybe not.
When you go with the flow, know that there is not just one flow. Protesting is not the only game in town, you know. Kicking and screaming is far from an ideal way to solve things. There are many other smarter things you can do to achieve your end goals, ones that don’t involve harming, blaming, and vilifying others.
Instead of doing something constructive, you might need to join the protesters to learn from your mistakes, to be a pawn in the agitators’ game. No change should be forced, though. You can’t just fix everything with brute force and ignorance. Sometimes you need to use some finesse. You need to put your best foot forward if you want things to really change. I guess it’s true, the squeaky wheel gets the grease so you might need to speak up to be heard. But, is squeaking the best you can do to achieve your goals?
In matters of social justice, it takes a village to set the wheels in motion. It is a numbers game but the numbers can go both ways, so make sure you are with the right crowd, going in the right (intended) direction. If you don’t want to be just a cog in the machine anymore, protesting is not the best way to go about it. What is? Raising consciousness or virtufication.
All is well with the world.
All is well with the world for those whose level of consciousness is high enough to be able to perceive non-duality, the positive side of negative events, and vice versa, and so be at peace with themselves and with the whole world.
In closing, we’re nothing without a sense of humor about ourselves, right? I might come across as being anti-protest with this, which kind of defies the theme here, does it?! But how am I to illustrate the point that being anti-anything is not the answer?! My being anti the anti is not the answer either, is it?! Of course, I see hypocrites among the protesters only because I am one of them deep down. So, rather than ridicule me about this, humor me, please.
Natalija (von Talidari)