Daily Prompt Blogger With a Cause If your day to day responsibilities were taken care of and you could throw yourself completely behind a cause, what would it be?
I’ve spent my life working for a cause — more than one at times. I was a teacher. My cause was the future of human culture. I worked hard for the preservation of a wilderness area that was soon to be encircled (if not engulfed!) by the city of San Diego and its suburbs. Long ago I worked for the cause of helping Asian refugees acculturate, especially those refugees suffering from PTSD and other mental health problems (it was the early 80s). I volunteered to teach literacy skills to migrant workers, illegal aliens and the poor who’d not had the chance to go to or finish school. I spent the better part of my adult life living in a very questionable neighborhood just being a neighbor (If you think that’s not a cause, try it).
It’s very easy to destroy something; we can do that instantly with satisfying results. Building something? Far more complex. I learned through my life that IF, through our efforts, we change the world for the better (and I have to believe we do), it is in increments so small that we can barely see them. Serving a cause requires faith and humility and it is also necessary to believe that humanity is basically good. I don’t believe that any more. I don’t believe humanity is basically evil, but I do think humanity is basically short-sighted and selfish. I also believe those may be necessary survival traits for an individual life.
So…no more causes for me. I’m on the shady side of the mountain and all I really want to do is paint, write, take pleasure in the beautiful place where I live, and enjoy my friends. I hope I’m kind, generous, tolerant and honest.
The picture above is a Lei Feng poster from the Cultural Revolution. Lei Feng represents self-sacrifice and altruism. The characters tell the people to learn from Lei Feng. I am not sure there was ever a “real” Lei Feng; I believe he is a kind of mythic hero used in propaganda to motivate the Chinese to put the party (and other people) before themselves. My students in China made fun of the whole idea, probably because the Cultural Revolution turned out to be so horrific and Lei Feng was used to exploit the people.