Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What will your role be?

Leslie's dedicated to global causes and not having kids. Emily focuses on agriculture. Becky has the Marxist politics all worked out, although I am well aware she's not going to be a politician. 

Many of the people I am meeting here, not necessarily all or limited to those listed above, have strong beliefs, tenets that are so intrinsic in who they are that may prevent them from ever being able to embrace someone else's point of view. It's amazing the conviction because its so enabling to envision a cause that you can work toward, that you believe is truly right, and sacrifice so much in order to see it through without being swayed to change your mind or your focus.

I don't have that - I mean there are things I care about, obviously- I'm an environmental studies major because I care about the environment and I'm a psychology major because I care about people, but within those disciplines, I am constantly weighing pros and cons of every decision and every action, attempting to get a look at the overall picture, trying to see every angle and every side of every issue and never isolate one from the other. The cause I am most passionate about is open-mindedness- I believe in the power of education, not necessarily through a classroom, but by just talking to everyone you can, to get a better understanding of where everyone comes from and the stories behind their beliefs. This makes me very ineffective in some ways, because I can never see myself really insisting on changing someone else's philosophies, although I hope to contribute to their own education by sharing my own stories and morals. Politics obviously not my scene because I have no way of wrapping my head around and reconciling every single person's beliefs and agendas well enough to stay as open-minded as I want to be. In local, grassroots situations, I can handle taking into consideration all sides of the issue, and truly coming to the most beneficial consensus for all parties involved. That's where I'm effective, but I'm not enacting change on a huge scale like some of my friends. I can't even enact change on an individual level sometimes, because I never feel like it's my place to make people change their behaviors according to my beliefs because I think they're more correct and more beneficial for the world at whole. What if I'm wrong?

I feel wishy-washy and like a sell-out and I am constantly playing devil's advocate in conversations such as the above. Here's one, Emily and I have dubbed "radical drain." So everyone hates the system so much that's the cause of all this oppression and corruption- I'm so there, it sucks. But what happens when you "screw the system," isolate yourself from it, and fight against it, as so many of my generation of progressives are doing? You leave all of the conservatives who love the system as it is to run it and you're still getting nothing done. However, as soon as you try to work with the system in order to change it, you have a slew of criticisms from your seemingly like-minded friends for selling out, copping out, and giving in to the big bad man at the top. Do I have an answer to this crisis of conscious that young people go through daily? No. But I understand it and I deeply get both sides.

So this is my crisis of conscious. Is it beneficial to have such an open- mind and be accepting of all viewpoints or should I be trying to formulate more concrete tenets that I will carry throughout my work always? For me, the latter is a way of selling out to the former. 

1 comment:

  1. hey I was in the CIEE program last semester. I enjoy reading your blog and posts like this one with analysis, thinking about the world and development issues.