Seeking personal peace vs. restoring worldwide justice
Asking the question is almost answering it. Seeking comfort, pleasure, entertainment, quietness from the outside or inside, being happy and content—this seems to clash with making the world a better place for all.
Choosing personal happiness seems egotistical compared to activism to give everyone a fair shot at life. Two things plead against that duality.
A. One is that we must found our activism on first taking well care of ourselves, or we’ll burn out.
Yet, a danger is then that we won’t stop pampering ourselves and never take the next step to look out for others, becoming selfish brats.
B. Another plea for going for our happiness is that this is not unfair. It is actually a fundamental equality already between all people.
Regardless of our circumstances, we can choose to be content right now.
Pull up the corners of our mouths, smile, mean it, and feel fortunate.
In fact, it often seems that the poorer people are, the better they are at this. Not being happy seems a luxury problem making billionaires suicidal rather than the hungry.
On the one hand, having a good mood is often the last thing a powerless person has, and why give that up? Yet, when life challenges us, we should speak up, complain, know we deserve better, and find empathy.
C. Maybe a solution is not to first make ourselves happy before we reach out to others, and not live the opposite sequence: first others, then me.
Rather, maybe we should do both, alternatingly.
Meanwhile, we should stay aware of our own inclination. When our egos are still large, ensure we do enough for others without expecting a good return. But, if our ego is still tiny, make sure we get spoiled rotten.
This gives such a clear program to life for each of us. To be resilient, happy activists, and to live a good life while the world and people are still a mess.
That’s probably what G^d intended when He advised us to have a Day of Rest once a week. A whole day to see how much abundance there is, to have a good life. Not just to charge your batteries to work so hard, and not to work so hard just to have a break. But, to have the best of both.
D. After all, it’s great to be an activist. And it’s just to have a good life.
I guess that’s what the Author of the Bible had in Mind when advising us to love our fellows as ourselves. There is no contradiction between the two.
It is not true (what many have claimed) that we can only love others in as far as we can love ourselves. Many excellent parents or lovers have been very generous while still having a hard time asking and receiving.
Yet, when Oxygen levels drop, we better put on the masks for ourselves before putting them on our small children because when we pass out, everyone is in trouble. The whole household will flourish when women in traditional marriages get enough support.
But, ultimately, we are being unfair when we are generous to everyone but one. What, is she unworthy? Be fair, even to yourself. If martyrdom was ever needed, some did an excellent job of that already. Our job is to live for our ideals, not die for them, for as far as we can help it.
And lately, we’re all in the same boat. When only the selfish and the strong live; when the weakest and the most generous won’t survive; we’ll all die.
Ultimately, the opposition between us and them needs to end. Meanwhile, we must take care of both categories.