When I was younger, my greatest goal in life was peace of mind. Really, that was it. I wanted stability, peace, personal security. One of my favorite songs was and remains “Peace Of Mind” By Boston.
At a young age, I understood that peace of mind was unlikely to happen while being part of society as it exists. I had dreams of moving out in the woods and living as a mountain man, like Grizzly Adams, sans the bear. I had dreams of a society based on education, knowledge, wisdom. Obviously, I fantasized a lot. Later those dreams turned to more mundane ideas of a stable job, stable income, stable relationship, owning a home while still pursuing knowledge throughout my life.
Boring? Fine, I can do boring. The most exciting things I’ve done in my life like driving explosives, going through live shooter events, bomb threats and so forth were never goals. I definitely learned from them but they just happened.
Of course, when I was young, for the most part my thoughts focused on myself. I was aware, cared and was active about social issues but mostly only regarding my own actions and being a positive example for others. I did take part in protests and stood in the face of violence more than once for those weaker than myself. Put myself on the line personally and professionally but never as a comprehensive pattern or part of a movement. Along the way I have stood for women’s rights, racial rights, gay rights, disabled rights, against war and on and on.
However, while specific aspects of my own awareness came ahead of the curve, I think much of my story is common. My realization of the systemic nature and effects of our system have exploded in recent years. Most of this has happened primarily because of the rise of the internet, social media and independent media. Many people give credit to Bernie Sanders yet the issues he raised in his campaign were already being discussed. Social and independent media had given us exposure to alternatives to the corporate propaganda. Social media gave us the chance to discuss issues with vast numbers across vast distances. It allowed us to know that we were not, are not alone in our concerns for things larger than ourselves.
Yet while the internet, social and independent media have enabled our discussions, these discussions began long ago. What do you think led to the Suffrage Movement for women’s right to vote? The implementation of Social Security, the minimum wage, Medicare, Medicaid, OSHA, the EPA, FDA, USDA, Voting Rights Act, Civil Rights Act, wage protection laws, consumer protection laws, public education, child labor laws..?
Awareness did not begin in 2016. We were discussing universal healthcare in the early 90’s before we were sold out. Jackson Browne was singing about corporate war profiteers in the 80’s. There were protests here against our wars in Korea in the 50’s and Vietnam in the 60’s and 70’s. About election integrity in 1968 at the Democratic Convention.
Our problems did not begin in 2017. Hillary is not a martyr and Bernie is not a saint. Maybe you just became aware in the last 2–3 years but that just means you have kept your eyes closed or have a really short attention span.
Let me refer you to the Mind Control speech in the movie “Network” from 1976, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQAzpV7GC0U or the Business Is God speech from the same movie, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jIw22XXSso
Let me refer you to one of the most powerful speeches you will ever hear, no matter how staged it is. From 2012, Jeff Daniel’s speech in The East Wing on why we are not the greatest country in the world any more. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MYjyLg8bbo
How many speeches can I refer you to by JFK or MLK or Malcolm X?
Any periods we have had of peace and prosperity we have had the the history of this country have been fleeting and relative. Nor has peace and prosperity been equally distributed to all citizens. In effect, such things have been nothing short of an illusion forced upon us through government/media propaganda and our own willing conscious deception. There has always been an unease and outright suffering in this country, even at the best of times.
So, while I say I sought peace of mind at a young age, there was always part of me aware that I would never attain that as long as others continued to suffer. If any major parts of our society suffer, we all do. I had major problems with depression for many years. Not any more. The more involved I became, the more I do to help right what is wrong, no matter how small my effort may seem, the more empowered I feel. Because I cannot look around me and do nothing.
My own peace of mind comes from action. Awareness. Sharing information with others. Standing up, speaking out, lending purpose. If you have problems with depression, maybe being more involved will help you as well. At worst, you may make some friends along the way. Even if you don’t have problems with depression, there are far worse ways to spend your time.