This is not about to be a blog extolling the virtues of reading; I assume…
When is a movement complete?
In many ways life feels as though it is reaching some form of denouement. It seems that every group of people who identify with oppression have a voice, a very loud voice that demands to be heard. Social media has helped to give a loud voice to concerns and injustices. The people rise up to fight every ‘ism’. As one movement gains momentum, another grows basking in the glow of being listened to. Procedure and governance is not enough to hide behind for those who hold the power. Challenge and change are afoot; it is a feisty population that says enough is enough. A person’s story is important, is valued; to ignore would suggest an academic rigidity that does not match current fluidity of thought.
Last year’s Pride march had large corporate sponsors. To some this was the cause of dismay: their pleasure of being a part of a fringe movement somehow marginalised by mainstream involvement. Some, however, would say the presence of such sponsors was evidence that the Pride movement had succeeded, had won. When the mainstream is interested and can smell the money then is this an indicator that acceptance has been achieved? Is the movement complete? Does the annual march now assume the role of celebration of victory and the commemoration of past struggles?
2018: 100 years since the end of the first World War, a war to end all wars, supposedly. The movement for peace complete.
But, but, BUT screams the voice from within. Russia, America, North Korea, Syria, the Middle East, Gaza … historic in peace and conflict… times are tense to say the least. Armies grow and re – group to match the new age of war. Politicians posture, experts pontificate, the public bare witness.
100 years since women got the vote. Equality in the right to vote: the Suffrage movement complete.
But, but, BUT screams the voice from within. Gender pay gaps are highlighted and debated, an absence of statues of past women of note commented upon, #metoo is born of a need to demonstrably make clear that harassment is unacceptable whatever the proffered reward for acceptance and silence.
Actually we don’t change, as people, as animals. We are born, we live, we die. Our instinct for survival ingrained. Is it our instinct to seize power in order to protect that survival, at whatever level, however microcosmic or macrocosmic? If that is the case then maybe that’s the charming thing about human nature or the unpredictable glitch in any movement, depending on how you view such matters. We can be educated: certain thoughts and opinions will make you unpopular, a pariah of society. Human beings are flock animals, for the most part we like to belong to the herd. Laws can establish society’s current moral code by which we must all live.
Read enough, covering enough time and genres you will find many movements, reflected in the mood and style of fiction and chronicled in non – fiction. Poetry, a fabulous medium for succinct discussion and reflection on the human condition, provides many a vibrant starting point. Evolution, not completion perhaps is the natural trajectory of any movement and that embodies the very essence of what it is to be human.
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