The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Tuesday 10 September 2019

Optimism, Responsibility, and Social Change

Oftentimes when I turn on the TV news I am confronted by what appears to be a world of increasing polarisation.  Factions and fractions seem to be displayed everywhere.

I hear women calling men out for their misogyny and sexual predation.

I listen to victims of colonisation decry white supremacy and racial abuse.

I watch demonstrators railing against the inaction of governments on climate change.

I could sink into the couch in a self-consuming wave of despair.  I could also be “shamed and blamed” into action.

I’ve done both.

Neither works.  Neither despair, nor shaming brings about social change.

However, acceptance and responsibility do.

I’m not talking about a complacent form of acceptance.  I mean accepting that something is real, that it happened.  It means recognising that I am part of a system that has given rise to sexism, racism, and climate change.

And that’s where responsibility comes in.  When I accept my part in those systems, I can accept my responsibility for contributing to (or at least benefiting from) those systems.

As a man I have benefited from the patriarchal system.  As a man of European heritage I have benefited from colonisation and the continuing racist system.

As an unthinking consumer I have contributed to the rise in carbon emissions.  I have benefited from the levels of “comfort” our consumerist system has created.

I have been a part of creating and maintaining those systems.

Despair and shame do not allow me to change, nor do they enable me to bring about social change on a systematic level.

My re-sponse-ability does.

When I recognise my part in the systems, when I recognise my responsibility, then I can make a choice.  I can choose to be re-sponsible.  And, when I take on those choices, my sense of optimism increases.  I am optimistic because I understand that my choices can make a difference.  That difference may be only slight, it may be huge (if we understand the Butterfly Effect).

I do not know if my choices make small differences or huge ones.  I don’t need to know.  I just need to know that I am taking responsibility for my choices and the consequences of those choices.

So, I can stop making sexist and racist jokes and can question others when I hear sexist or racist jokes being told.

I can make choices about the footprint I leave on this earth.  I can choose to ride my bike or walk the few kilometres to town, to the beach and bush, or to a climate change rally.  I can choose a meat-free diet.  I can choose to not take an international flight.

When I take responsibility for my choices I do so recognising that sexism, racism, and climate change exist.  I am not denying them, I am not wallowing in despair, and I am not feeling ashamed.

I am optimistic.

I am attempting to take responsibility.

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