Coming to Terms with the Ubiquitousness of Oppression

 

The more I know of the history of human civilization, the less I believe that there will ever be a utopia on earth where/when humanity lives together in peace without war, violence, poverty or oppression of any kind.

 

Regardless of what system is conceived and developed, there will always be many individuals who are concerned only for themselves and/or their family and friends, and who wish to have as much money and/or power as they can accumulate, regardless of the effect on the lives of others.

 

While men have been in a position to do much more harm to others than women over the past several millennia, plenty of women have also shown their indifference to the suffering of others in the ways that they have lived their lives, how they earned and spent their money, who they voted for, etc.

 

While Europeans and European-Americans have managed to take over most of the world, in every continent throughout history and today people of every “race” have warred and conquered neighbors, set themselves up in powerful positions and oppressed those less powerful.

 

Just as many people, both rich and poor, have shown themselves capable of compassion and self-sacrifice, so have many people, both rich and poor, shown themselves capable of corruption, greed and violence towards those more vulnerable than themselves.

 

Most religions probably originated with the intent to get people to behave better toward each other.  Unfortunately, instead replacing people’s greed, fear and violence with compassion, many religions just added hypocrisy to the mix, along with a misguided phobia of sexuality and diversity.  Many are the wars and injustices done in the name of religion throughout history and still today.

 

I wish I could believe that there was some movement or some system that held real promise for creating a world driven by kindness, compassion, sharing, and a real commitment to meeting the needs of all people and of sustaining life on earth.

 

But what seems to me to be a more realistic appraisal is that the best we can do is try to make things better here and there, in this way and that, in a particular time and place, for who ever is affected.  This may be by doing work that benefits others, or working to lessen oppression in whatever ways we can.

 

But there is no end to it.  Humanity being what it is, ending wars, feeding the hungry, reducing violence, spreading the wealth, exposing the truth, protecting the vulnerable, diminishing suffering, etc is a never-ending task.  Individuals may take needed breaks, but the work is never done.

 

To come to terms with this seeming fact, one must learn to cherish the process and “small” rewards of compassionate living, and release attachment to a hoped-for universal outcome, that will, in all probability, never take place.

 

 



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