Hear Me Roar
By Trevor Washington
Let me share a secret with you, right in the beginning so that you won’t feel cheated later, I don’t actually believe in peace – at least not in the way we normally think of it on a very human, idealistic level. On a transcendental level?… well that’s another conversation entirely. For the purpose of our discussion here, I’ll be referring to the intentions that the majority of our overpopulated planet act on, i.e. survival. Survival takes on many different shapes and sizes depending on what you have or don’t have. To the great masses on the planet, survival can simply be finding a way to stay alive – food, shelter, not getting killed. For those that are more fortunate, survival can take on a covetous odor, wanting what others have or simply keeping or increasing what they have already obtained; gaining more and more becomes a need like any other addiction. For some, survival can be holding on to an egoistical, idealistic self-image that may be both self-and-other-defeating, by any means possible, such as using other people as stepping stones to prop ourselves up. With that as our foundational language, which you may proceed to ravage in the comment section, I will begin my own raging against the machine.
I consider it my civic duty to hold authority accountable, whether it is in the work place, in government, academically, or even aristocratically as our leadership by celebrity has become. Some look at me and may they think that I am full of rage, and to a point, they’d be right, although I’d argue that if they think that means I’m emotionally driven they’d be off the mark. My rage stems from my own understanding of what it means to live by rules, with a sense of equality, brother and sisterhood and common human decency. My rage is not a spiraling circle that leaves me empty, but a source of inspiration that I draw upon, allowing me to continually fight the good fight.
I am not accustomed to living in grey areas, either our actions are harming others or they are not. I say that but I don’t worry about the stress that I cause on those who seek to reign over me. I have always had a problem with authority but that was only because I have always expected them to be worthy. If someone is interested in telling me what to do, then they should absolutely be smarter, in whatever field they are reigning in, than I am. But not just smarter, they should also be courageous, forgiving, compassionate and most importantly, they must lead by example.
I have never been able to follow someone who doesn’t lead by example. At the same time, I never cared to tell others what to do. I am happy to live and let live, but when someone decides that they need to rule over me, then they better be doing it for the right reasons. Holding on to power for powers sake is not the right reason. The famous catholic historian John Dalberg-Acton, said it perfectly when he wrote, “Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority, still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.” Although written in 1887 it still rings true to this day. Of course we have exceptions. What truly makes someone great is when he or she is an exception to the rule. But the world is not run by those that are exceptional at being people – we tend to martyr those off – but those that are exceptional at bending others to their will.
As a species, we can’t seem to get a sniff of authority without it infecting us. I am no anarchist mind you; rather I’d consider myself a realist with the heart of an idealist. But I’m such a realist that I understand that each person lives and sees the world in their own way, and the conclusions they draw from their perspective can be vastly different from my own. That being the case, many would take from me the moniker of realist and bestow on me that of buffoon instead. I accept that as well – so far as they don’t try to rule over me.
In this day and age, just as in the many days and ages that came before, we allow fear to be our guiding light. But as hate swells and overtakes us, as we make our own planet uninhabitable for ourselves and we turn each other away to suffer a fate that we ourselves could never endure but continue to turn an apathetic eye to, it may be time to go in a different direction. Maybe it is time to try letting that which does not seek to destroy but to heal be our guiding light – ah, have I let my idealism creep into this? Instead of always going after what may or may not be obtainable, like expecting a people that have lived as warring tribes throughout their existence to see eye to eye and come together as one, we could just try to do as little harm to each other as possible. Maybe we could allow ourselves to be infected by the disease of compassion. I say disease because selfishness may be what allowed the human race to survive for tens of thousands of years. But it could be that the time is over for that way of life. Allowing the disease of compassion to mutate our way of thinking could be what allows us as a people to adapt and continue to survive. Giving up our pride, each and every one of us, is the only way that we could possibly find a way to actually give peace a chance. Being a realist, I know where we’re headed, but my heart won’t allow me to call it quits, so I’ll go on raging against the machine until the lights go out, and as a people, we learn to start again.
Being that the series was named after the band, I think I’d better share my favorite Rage Against the Machine song before I go. Of course, it’s Testify: “With precision you feed me, my witness I’m hungry, your temple it calms me, so I can carry on – my slaving sweating the skin right off my bones, on a bed of fire I’m choking on the smoke that fills my home.”
Doing what I can, when I can, – the rest I leave up to Her. View all posts by Trevor Washington
Written for Rage Against the Machine Month. If you’d like to be a part of the challenge, find more information Here. But first, leave a comment and let Trevor know what you think about his words. You can also view other posts by Trevor Washington at the Seeker’s Dungeon: Here.
Featured image via http://www.hdwallpapers.in