Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

Don’t just sit there — do something!

A plea for becoming and staying activists

Most people don’t consider themselves activists. They just learn or work or both. And after that, they hopefully have some pastime entertainment (television, hobby, sport, reading) and then they sleep. They know that a lot is wrong with the world but it’s beyond them.

Typically, activists run out of steam after a couple of years. They often didn’t take care of their emotional psychological growth. They may get a political, social or teaching job where they may succeed to improve society for a salary. That is sweet but not the same as unsalaried idealistic people who in their free time, refuse to conform or simply live with what’s wrong.

Most people also don’t set as a priority to recover from past trauma. Unless life became really hard or something terrible happened, they live most days like the days before. Mostly people they meet, notice that things are strange. (I don’t mean unusual but rather ridged, grotesque.)

What is needed are mass movements of people who oppose the world to continue like this and take psychological care to not run out of steam.

Another problem to tackle is not to replace one bad thing by another ill. (Like: when you stop smoking, don’t start overeating of masturbating.) So, we need to watch out not to replace one oppression by another. And we should avoid blind anger and violence because too many innocent people would get hurt. Being annoying or obnoxious would be fine, though.

You might get into action because you are upset and you may get upset when you came into action. Don’t use drugs to calm you down. Talk about it with trusted friends. You can split time listening to each other (each half an hour or half a minute) to strengthen your psychological home base.

There is so much (any)one can do.

You can write.

Write to your paper or news show. Write a blog. Write a protest song, a banner or a sign to hold up. For some things, anger works best, for others, a good sense of humor will reach hearts.

You can demonstrate.

You don’t need barricades but you do need to get into the street. Join a group in the news, follow the news where something is happening or go on your own. Try not to get hurt. Get arrested if you must but don’t break any law for which you won’t ever get a job again. Live but not die for your revolution.

You can donate time or money, become a member.

If you’re too busy or won’t get off your couch, maybe you could spare a nickel for some good courses. You also may not be able to be everywhere at the same time — but your money might.

You can be a hidden activist.

Raising and teaching others can be activism.

Every encounter you have a chance to challenge the status quo. Just don’t be such a fanatic that people will flee from you.

***

There is no age limit for being an activist.

Fight for issues not against people. Don’t lie.

If you want to win over others, don’t just talk — also listen.

When being an activist became no fun, try to figure out why and adjust.

No set back undoes all progress made.

There is nothing we cannot accomplish if we allow for group effort and enough time and persistence.

Don’t trust politicians. They use your when it comes in handy for then and never knew you when you need them.

We may not succeed to finish the job but that doesn’t permit us to refrain from doing our part.

If you’re not for yourself, who should be?
If you’re only for yourself, what value has your life?
If not now, when?

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * NEW: To see other blog posts by him, his overspill blog you can reach by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture at the head of every post. There you may find precursors to later TOI blog posts, addition or corrections of published TOI blog posts, blog posts the TOI will not carry and some thoughts that are too short to be a TOI blog post. Also, the TOI only allows for one blog post per blogger per 24 hours. Sometimes, he has more to say than that. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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