The Revolutionary Spirit
Reposted with permission from Fields of Concrete, the personal website a local Kitchener-Waterloo sister from the ummah, Timaj Garad. Timaj is a poet, spoken word performer and activist. Her site is brand new, so be sure to check it out!
The revolutionary spirit is comprised of a selfless relentlessness to create positive change. Many of us never develop this. Where we lack is not in the rigor with which we chase this pursuit, but in our perception of the starting point of this journey. The problem is that we want revolutions we fail to start within ourselves. It’s not a lack of wanting something enough, but of being and living what it is we want. When we want more than we are willing to work for, dreams become nothing but notions living vicariously in the mind.
I have learned through observation, experience, and conversation that many people want to contribute something positive to the world, many have a yearning for revolution; but many of those who have the capability never realize this potential. The reason for this outcome is one of the great obstacles of the human experience: “realism”. We fear what is uncertain, those intangible and tangible things that live outside our proximity. Realism acts as a blanket of comfort convincing us only that which has already occured is possible, ultimately destroying the imagination.
When we lose our capacity to imagine, our lives become redundant as we are found lost in the imaginings of others, trying hard to convince ourselves that the dreams we’ve stolen have always belonged to us. We want so much to believe that our borrowed ideas are original beacuse without them we are left with a graveyard of dreams, unvisited. We assasinate our own dreams, our own selves, and bury the evidence by cloaking ourselves in the ambitions of others to create the illusion that we are living the lives we’ve imagine–that we are free.
Wiping our hands clean of our true selves, we walk through life deluded to believe that our choices are well-calculated and clever, that if we break this chain of conformity we will be unsuccessful. This message carries itself proudly in our institutions, media, and pop culture with a plot to infiltrate the mind and control the masses. This because, in the critical thinking of rebels to this status quo, those who dare to question, lives the audacity to ingite revolutions. Revolutions that threaten this culture of conformity.
What about those who have the courage to dissent? Does this courage alone dictate the revolutionary spirit? Courage is only part of the battle. Many toil over the fruition of their ideas, innovations intended to change the world, and through it all a revolutionary spirit may or may not exist within them. The absence of the spirit behind the act renders the act insincere, though it may produce positive effects. This occurs when altruistic acts are reduced to a therapeutic means of coping with one’s life or filling a void. “Because it makes me feel good,” has always struck me as a disconcerting and incomplete answer to the question of why activism is necessary. There is no urgency, no sincerity, or evidence of consciousness in a self-involved motive to do good for others. We have to do better than acting merely to buffer the guilt of not acting.
It is better to act for the sake of those in need of your actions, to help give a voice to the voiceless, liberation to the oppressed, and dignity to the denigrated. However, I believe the purest reason for activism is for the sake of God–to see the spiritual connection of each member of the human family through the singular source from which we all came into existence. Through this divine lineage of every human soul, we have not only a worldly but a spiritual duty to protect/perserve our brothers and sisters in humanity. This is the essence of activisim; an understanding and acceptance of this responsibility is the essence of the revolutionary spirit.