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What kind of conversations can truly produce change in society?

Conversations are the most powerful tool to bring change in society. In a civil society, it is the only acceptable tool.  It is true, we have to make an assumption about a society being civil in the first place.  Aside from a limited personal experience and association, a very cursory reflection on the whole of human society shows that being civil is possible.  However, to remain civil is truly a difficult thing for human society as a whole.  After a point, there is only a pretense.  Once the secrets of society are exposed to its members and those beyond it, this civility resembles nothing more than hypocrisy.  The longer the pretense carries on, the more the disappointment honest ones are bound to feel.  There is a desire for change, but violence can never be an acceptable instrument for it.  Truly, violence does not bring social change; it only performs a butchering of society and damages its members.  One must hope in conversations as the means for change, till there is no more reason for hope.

We can today come to the realistic realization that change is a personal matter.  This has always been true.  It is beyond the power of any person to change another.  And if it is impossible for one person to change even one other person, how and why would the thought of changing an entire society ever appeal to someone?  Those who are determined to be a certain way, live a certain way, can at best be temporarily dissuaded from their course.  As long as a desire or a belief resides in a person’s heart, he or she will keep going back to it.  Unless that core desire or belief is changed, there is no real change – in a person, or in a society.

The conversation that gives hope

What is the point of a conversation?  Is it to point out some evil?  Is it to offer some criticism?  Is it to express some dissatisfaction and complain about something amiss?  All these are valid in their own place and time.  However, for a change to truly have the reason for being pursued, the fundamental requirement has always been and will always be hope.

Arousing hope in others is dependent upon a truly unique combination of factors.  There have to be:

  1. Evidence for the legitimacy of hope
  2. Continuity of strength to overcome challenges
  3. A personal belief in the worth of the pursuit

What human beings have been able to accomplish in the years since the start of the Industrial Revolution is unsurpassed.  Those accomplishments are material, and the result has been prosperity for some while impoverishment and exploitation of the many have continued.  This cannot be used as an example of justice, progress, happiness, and satisfaction.  The spiritual need for hope and equality have remained.

The conversation today that gives hope to people is the one that can bring social change.  It would have to have the same power and promise as such significant conversations of the past.  When Arjuna was convinced by Lord Krishna to pick up his weapons in the battle of Kurukshetra, it was on the basis of a hope.  When the apostle Peter was encouraged by Jesus to follow him, it was on the basis of hope.  When someone decides to be a chemist, physicist, or a pharmacist, it is also one the basis of hope.  All these actions are on the basis of hope!  And yet, we are in the time when we see the failure of all these causes of hope.

Wars have been fought, without the benefit of lasting peace and justice at the end.  The news about God’s Kingdom has been proclaimed, but there are found terrible sinners and evildoers among the proclaimers.  Chemistry with pharmacy and physics found temporary solutions, and also became progenitors of eugenics and nuclear weaponry.  The true failure is that of human beings.  This failure is not of knowledge alone, it is also of the ones who use and abuse this knowledge through an utter lack of wisdom.  It is a failure of humans.

Is it okay to rest one’s hope on human beings?

Resting hope on human beings is preparation for disappointment.  Whatever solutions we will find, those will be temporary and with their own set of harms.  This is simply evident fact!

Still, there is the reason to have hope.  However, this hope is not about finding solutions; it is about care, love, and kindness.  Perfect solutions are beyond us, even if we can imagine them.  Oh yes, we can imagine perfect solutions, but never can we produce them!  The final realization that humans will find to be of benefit is this: Even if the failure and corruption of the collective human society are inevitable, there is still hope in contentment, in simplicity, and in love.  If we are to rest our hope on humans, then the sharing of these things will be the cause for hope.  If we fail even in this regard, we do not deserve to have any hope at all.  Our selfishness and greed will bring the end we are deserving of!

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