To what extent are we a product of where we have come from?
How much of the world can we actually change?
So many of us are fighting. Fighting for our world to be a better place. For underlying assumptions to be challenged and for long held hindrances to no longer hinder so many. For the chains of a tragic history to no longer bind so tightly. Apartheid, colonization, slavery, genocide, terrorism, sexism, prejudice. Many have shed blood and are still shedding their blood for these atrocities to no longer cripple us or generations to come. But sadly many freedom fighters rarely get to live in their hard fought freedom. ”Fight for your rights’, they say. ”Speak up.” But then after that, they often have little more to say…
Then there are those who are determined to thrive wherever they are placed, fighting for their place in the sun and sneering at the whiners and complainers who won’t just’ ‘get on with it.” Apartheid, colonization, slavery, genocide, terrorism, sexism, prejudice. Some would identify these as the necessary evils that formed the crucible in which human greatness is forged. Yet while such individuals can boast of personal achievement despite their background ,they are often painfully outstanding outliers who are an exception to the rule with footsteps that are hard to follow. ”Make the most of what life gives you,” they say. ”Shut up and get on with it”. But most will do little more than pay lip service to such ideals…
So here is the question again, to what extent does our environment define us? Or are we the ones doing the defining?
Perhaps more important than the virtue of holding one’s tongue is the knowledge that sometimes silence is actually an act of self-preservation that condones an oppressive status quo. And more critical than the skill of assertiveness is the humility to speak the truth even when the truth reveals our own weaknesses and vulnerability.
We are a product of our environment as much as we are contributors to the shaping of it. The essential thing to know is when to speak up to try change the world and when it is best rather to sit down and change ourselves.
There are no simple answers to complex problems. Its a science. Environmental Science.