Saturday, February 07, 2004


This post is in response to Bob Tidmarsh's comment asking me to post a little more about my political views, which I'm really grateful for. It's a difficult area for me, because I have entirely given up on the party political democratic system in this country (not just in this country, I have to say). I suppose my fundamental political belief can be summed up by the phrase "When we change, the world changes." The phrase is a slogan of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, an organisation who teach meditation throughout the world, and who I've been involved with for a little over 3 and a half years. What is important to me about that phrase is the idea that there is a way for the individual to make a difference. And it is not neccessarily the traditional methods which apply - I don't mean that one person can make a difference in the sense of direct action, or fundraising, or publicising a particular issue - although all these things can be extrodinarily valuable. More I mean that, and I hope the more cynical amongst you will forgive me for this but I speak from the heart, it is actually the person you are that can make the most difference. I think that your localised interactions with people have an incredibly far reaching impact, but I also think that we constantly interact with the wider world in ways we don't always understand, and that the impact of striving to live a truly valuable life is the biggest impact we can make.

I think the greatest problems facing the world to day are actually fundamentally personal problems rather than political ones. What I mean by this is that the things which really make the most difference to ones life are not economic, or political , or military, or really about outside circumstance at all, but are our relationships with ourselves and with other human beings. Of course the spheres of economics and politics are important, but really only in as much as they effect those relationships. When I look around, I constantly see parents passing on the issues and challenges that their parents passed to them to their kids, and teachers to their students and doctors to their patients ad infinitum. We are surrounded by cycles of dysfunction and sadness and these are the things which I think do the most damage. A generation ago a 50 year long cold war was fought to establish the domination of one creedo of economic and social policy over another, but the truth is the legacy of that is not freedom and justice, as it was claimed to be, but the politics and economics of greed and corruption (I'm not saying it would have been better the other way round btw!) In the world's most influential and powerful country there sits an unelected and unqualified president, whose domestic and foreign policy is dominated by the interests of powerful capitalist enterprise. I'm pretty sure (although only pretty sure) that the above statement is actually true and not just a crazed liberal conspiracy.

And truly, I believe that the only way to begin to change this is to change ourselves. The system will only be as good as the individuals in it. Bloody and violent revolutions have inevitably led to bloody and violent disappointments, but in quiet and peaceful personal revolution there lies an alternative which will be incredibly powerful and far-reaching, which can touch the huge number of lives of people we come into contact with and the countless number we don't even know about.