It is an exquisite fall day; a plenitude of sunshine dances with a wind of change. The temperature is mild, and the door of my workplace is open to the invigorating autumn air. The day is at once energizing and peaceful. It is a welcome hiatus. However, the winds of change still blow, and beyond this present moment in this present spot, changes are struggling to be born.
The specific changes are myriad. Some are moderate, some radical. Some bring new perspectives, while others are firmer and deeper manifestations of the what currently exists. Often, the nascent changes are accompanied by struggle, by protest or resistance. Resistance is a double-edged technique. It raises awareness and stops the smooth, unhindered progress of the status quo. Resistance also tends to create or attract more of what is being resisted.
That is not to say that resistance and protest are useless for remediating injustice or stopping undesired action. On the contrary, voices need to be raised, marches made, demonstrations documented. The light of awareness needs to be cast upon injustice or on that which can no longer serve, pulling these things out of the underground of silence, where they can continue unnoticed and unhindered.
The catch is that the momentum of protest, even strong protest, eventually runs its course and dissipates, as does a storm. The awareness raised sinks back into the anonymity of silence, and the status quo continues. The injustice can weather the storm. Protest can also raise resistance against the protest itself, with a resultant vortex of oppositions that circle, going nowhere.
Protest is a highly effective short term tactic. It is effective when it is followed by its long term sibling, creativity. It is not enough to protest what is not desired. Another, more viable way, a way which serves all of those involved, must be bought forth to replace that which is no longer useful. The winds of change may blow in the idea, but it needs to progress into a more stable and grounded form. True creativity constructs a working model, a blueprint and a prototype, to demonstrate that which is desired. It then expands the model, bit by bit. As the quote attributed to Gandhi says, “Be the change you wish to see.”
Whether the change we wish to see is a more equitable arrangement of household chores, a more human-centered workplace, the cessation of fossil fuels piped across our land, a technology that respects and includes the Earth, the equitable sharing of wealth, a cooperative and sustainable lifestyle, or any of a myriad of changes, we need to create, along with others of like mind. The vision of what we desire must precede us. Protest can raise awareness, but for a change to be born and flourish, it must also be lived.
Let us live our visions of justice, love, peace, sustainability, the fruitfulness of the Earth, and the well-being of our fellow travelers upon our planet. Let us in that way create what we wish to see.