I am thinking much about change these days, about how it is both something we resist and something we cannot stop. Our world is always on the move, requiring us to move with it. It is the very nature of life to change. Seasons come and seasons go, cultures adapt to new information, new members and if we as people of the world remain in the past, we will be left behind. Oh, we might not feel like we’re being left behind, but we are. Spouting off about the old days, how things are in chaos right now across the globe and it wasn’t that way when I was young just make fools of our intelligence. We do have it, intelligence. In fact, are we not the intelligent species, the one with a large brain, able to imagine, to think, to reason?
Fundamentalism is a dangerous ‘ism’ to be stuck in. Adhering to old rules and regulations, to old beliefs and old working structures without considering the world as it is this very day, will always lead to exclusion, and exclusion only ever leads to war. From inside the home to inside a country, excluding me because of who I am alienates me and that feeling of rejection will burn inside me like an all consuming fire. It could break my heart, it could mean I cannot move forward either to a new place, a new chance, a new life. It could paralize me. At the very least it will tell me that the excluding body considers itself above me, the judge over me, even if I have much to offer, many skills and talents that could, if allowed in, benefit said body considerably.
When we apply for a job we are assessed on our relevant skills, our manner, our reasons for applying. We are asked (I loathe this phrase) for what we can bring to the table. All of this is fine and good. But, if we are not offered this job because we are black or gay then this is very far from fine or good. The same goes for membership of a club. In so-called high circles (aka being born of old money and station in life) exclusion runs rife. In the male dominated world of business (oh yes it still goes on) powerful women are kept at arm’s length, offered less pay, less high profile jobs and if this woman has come out and stands tall in her own skin, then the chances of her moving up the ladder are probably very slim indeed. Even if the ‘boss’ doesn’t bother about her sexuality, then her work colleagues well might and the mutterings in corridors, the exclusion from get-togethers can break a person down more effectively than any refusal of employment.
In old school days, if you were left-handed you were forced to learn to be right-handed. When I went for an interview as a mother’s help, I was quizzed on my O level results. When I said I had 7 good passes including Latin, the smiles around the room turned my stomach. I was young, but could still spot falsehood. Needless to say I turned the job down. A friend applied to join a rowing club, but was refused. Later he discovered it was because he was gay and hadn’t concealed the fact.
I wonder about us, I really do. We have refugees desperately seeking shelter and a chance to live a new life and yet we panic about being taken over by an influx of undesirables. There are closet gays and people of all colours and faiths waiting tables or stacking shelves, feeling angry and broken, when their brains, skills, abilities and motivation could really move us forward, if we just let go of fear. Where is love in all this thinking? Where is tolerance and acceptance, inclusion and compassion?
Our world moves forwards in leaps and bounds as we understand more and more about our origins about our world and its place in the vast cosmos. Without people, none of this means a thing. People make up this world of ours, not things, not new sofas, big houses or money, but people. We can amass great wealth, live behind secure fences, plan our little lives just for our little selves and we can starve to death for lack of human warmth. We can speak with authority against inclusion spouting no end of reasonable reasons, all quite unreasonable, because reason is not stuck in fundamentalism at all. Real reason is all about change and adaptation to change, whether welcome or not. Life as it is now, is a trillion light years away from how it was just 100 years ago, never mind back to biblical times and beyond. The dictionnary definition of the word ‘reason’ has a few options, but the one I choose is this:
‘Reason – the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgements logically. There is close connection between reason and emotion for humans do not reason entirely from facts.’
Whether we embrace change or not, it is coming, for it is always coming and the key is in our hands. We must rise above our ridiculous fears and live like the warm-blooded sensitive intelligent beings we are. We must learn to welcome, to include, to learn from each other, to see reason.
This is what Love is.