So these days on my way to work I try to listen to a hour-long podcast every now and then instead of the routine tunes (good as they are) but today I decided to try one on the way back for a change.
I think there are plenty of important rhetorics that were passed on in this conversation and its worth singling out some of them especially in the context of the world we live in nowadays where its so easy to be consumed by the superficiality of trends and a general lack of strength in character to stand up for oneself.
It’s an act of rebellion to show up as someone trying to be whole and as someone who believes that there is a hidden wholeness beneath the very evident brokenness of our world.
How counter-intuitive is it to think of rebellion as being wholesome? But it makes sense in a world where its not cool to be prim and proper, not interesting to follow the rules and where nice guys finish last.
It takes courage even, to take a deep breathe and decide that you want to be this wholesome self and in the process show your hidden wholeness to one and all. We call it the “hidden wholeness” because in Courtney Martin’s words we show up as only slices of ourselves in different places. And that is an important rhetoric because we live in a world with an increasingly dynamic social setting where there is your online self and offline self, and the offline self has a dozen other selfs depending on who you are with and whatnot.
We have become used to the idea that it’s alright to partition ourselves to different slices, each handpicked and tastefully (not always) crafted for different settings. I’m not saying we should not, because it is important to sometimes fit into and blend well with company. But what is apparent is that then, choosing to represent your whole self is an act of rebellion.
I won’t say that I am a rebel in that sense, but the idea resonates within me. It’s that part of me that wants to believe in the good. Like Aragorn once said at the brink of the Black Gates, by all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I too want to hold on to the belief and desire that things will work out.
In Parker Palmer’s words which are so poetically put, rebellion can be that very small thing of swimming upstream against a tide of cynicism – and that is what I feel everyday. People who hide behind a wall of cynicism as a defense against the utter vulnerability of believing in the innocent ideals of the good and pure. Because what can be more dreadful than riding the moral high horse and falling off it when faith in humanity is misplaced (more often than not). It’s so, so easy to deride ideas and achievements (that start up is doomed to fail, its just another medal) and put forth the spectre of failure before anything so as to set oneself up for a softer landing when eventually reality don’t seem to match up to expectations. It’s hard sometimes to be the lone voice amidst the voices of ridicule but that’s exactly why it takes courage, a quiet, burning courage.