Saturday, June 30, 2012

Transform the world you say?

My comment on this excellent post.

Social Justice work supports a person's spiritual growth and transformation.

But thinking one can “save the world” or “transform the world” or even that one knows for darn sure they “stand on Love’s side” (which seems the UU way of saying God’s side) is a kind of hubris and egotism that I firmly believe impairs a person's spiritual growth.

 No way to grow Churches. No way to transform oneself. It is a slippery path towards isolation and self absorption.

  PS A self absorption that comes with the realization the world goes on changing in ways you don't foresee or probably much like. 

An insight gained from watching the left implode in the 70s.


JMP said...

They say that people who marry someone with the intent of changing them are in for some major disappointment, because you can't make another person change. I've always taken the same view about changing or saving the world. Good grief, if you can't change one person, how are you going to change 7 billion of them?

Your points about hubris and egotism is spot on. My experience in the fundamentalist/evangelical Christian church taught me that wanting to save the world largely means that you think you have the only correct solution, and everyone better agree and change accordingly. Things can turn ugly pretty quickly when people show their individuality and refuse to comply with your beliefs. I felt such relief when I realized, after leaving my Christian faith, that I wasn't responsible for saving the world. The world doesn't need to be saved; it's the wrong language.

"A self absorption that comes with the realization the world goes on changing in ways you don't foresee or probably much like."
We need to be flexible and fluid, in our own life and in how we interact with others. I believe this holds true for both the right and the left.

I work on formulating my own philosophy of life. I do believe in helping others, but in ways that actually help such as: volunteering at soup kitchens; assisting with clean up after a storm destroys a community; communicating with my representatives (especially local) about better ways to govern; etc. Ways of not helping? Marching in a demonstration; camping out in tents on public land and not showering for a week/month; joining an off-the-wall group who have dreams of their ideology sweeping the world; etc. The former are examples of hands-on assistance with visual results; the latter are wishful attempts to herd people in the direction of the pop psychology/politics of the "movement". Some might say that my focus on local and immediate needs is small minded, but I think that influencing and aiding those nearest to you spreads outward to others. As one community example spreads, it can be adapted as needed else where.

JMP said...

Oh, and I didn't become a UU to change the world either, to use Matt Kinsi's words. I simply wanted a place where I could be me, and formulate my aforementioned philosophy of life. I thought a UU church would be a safe place to work out my lifestyle without pressure. Now I'm not so certain.

Bill Baar said...

Thanks for the comments JMP. We're very much in agreement.