Bryant McGillBryant McGill WritingsPostsSociety

Free Expression as the Master Catalyst of Change

Let people speak. Let people disagree. Communicate. Listen.

While change of revolution can be wonderful, the perturbations of change can involve disturbances and threats to safety. Just because someone is fighting for something they passionately believe in does not mean they are impervious to harm. There are many obstacles you may face and some can be extremely dangerous. It is of paramount importance that you comport yourself with peaceful conduct and respectful calm. For example, never engage the police directly in the realm of their expertise. The jurisdiction of the system and its agents and officers is control, force and violence. This is where they train, drill and exist at all times. You do not want to engage them in the jurisdiction of their expert training, for once you are on the turf of their highest capability, your normal rights are effectively suspended, and you may be hurt or even killed. When engaging the system and its officers and agents, you must conduct yourself with wisdom and intelligence.

It is also very important to be aware of, and avoid being party to igniting a chain reaction of the mob mentality, which has a life-force of its own as a collective behavioral entity. Mob mentality is a form of situational “groupthink” that can cause people in large groups to potentially engage in abnormally negative activities. For example, if one protester in a crowd picks up a rock and throws it at a police officer, then other members in the same group may begin to do the same. Protests should not lead to mob frenzies, where upset and angry people are just reacting to and amplifying destructive base impulses. There may be a legitimate cause for people to be angry and upset, but we must deeply strive to remain in an elevated state of mind. This can be accomplished by meditating on and possessing a strong understanding of what the protest is trying to achieve. During a protest keep in the forefront of your thoughts a mindfulness of the sacred space that condemns suppression, in all of its forms, and protects and promulgates any thoughts, words and actions that produce holistic healing for all. This holistic and compassionate mindset is very different from the mindset of retaliation through violent force, threats or wild and incendiary mob insanity. Before beginning any kind of collective gathering, each individual should make sure they are in a sound mindset, and are committed and able to carry out their protest through non-violent means. All it takes is the spark of one person to ignite a raging fire. You are going to want to practice what you preach and be the change that proves justice can be protected and preserved without the use of violence and force. Be that proof of great possibility. After all, if you are protesting against suppression, control and violence, and succumbing to those base compulsions in the process, you will diminish your moral stance, and you could be harmed, or cause the unintended harm of others.

There are many effective ways to confront power, as every dragon has a missing scale of vulnerability and weakness. The system does not understand love or kindness, only rules. Love bewilders, discombobulates, and unbalances the rigid stance of all agencies of foul and unjust power. Publicity and transparency scatter the strong, powerful agents of control into the shadows. Like all cowards, brutes in any number flee when their spell of fear has no effect. Fear has no effect on love. Even monsters will protect something beautiful, because it reminds them of a small part within themselves they wish was larger. Being love-filled and beautiful is almost unconquerable. Love absorbs the hard blows of rigid fists; love surrounds, softens and tires violence and force. If you are confronted, bullied, or intimidated, while expressing your voice of reason, remember this protective strategy — be beautiful. Being love-filled and beautiful is one of the most powerful defenses that one can employ. Imagine that you are a beautiful and unique flower growing in life’s garden. Most people will not intentionally step on a beautiful flower. If you are walking through the garden and you see the beautiful flowers, you will walk around them to avoid destroying their delicate beauty. Even most “mean people” and “bad people,” otherwise known as people in pain and crisis, try to avoid the destruction of beauty by their own hand. They recognize beauty and secretly wish for more of their own beauty. And even when the rare soul who enjoys trampling and crushing the beautiful flowers comes along, they quickly discover that there are many gardeners who tend life’s garden, and these gardeners do not like people stepping on the beautiful flowers. You do not have to do anything to defend yourself in life; just BE beautiful, and life will defend you. The most effective form of activism is kindness. Be beautiful and you are doing your part to create a more beautiful world.

The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

There is seldom a clear, structured solution to complex problems; there never will be, and to believe so is extreme hubris. So do not listen to critics who proclaim that your positions or protests are without merit unless they are accompanied by a clear solution. It is also unnecessary that everyone be of the same opinion, so do not listen to critics who say your opinions are invalid because they are inconsistent. The inconsistent world can only be understood through inconsistent thinking. Systemic problems have systemic solutions; what we broke together we must fix together, and the best ideas for change will only emerge through the process of dialogue. This is what “it begins with each” of us means. We must be secure within ourselves to be open. When we are secure within ourselves enough to be open to others, it creates more security within them, to be open to us. This is how the sharing ideas works best, and open-minded critical thinkers should always be willing to engage in dialogue, despite any differences of opinion.

Consider each mind as a flower, which goes through its own cycles of growth, budding, bloom and decay. Somewhere along the path, the cerebral flower of the mind comes into full bloom, and through dialogue with others and cross-communication begins a wondrous process of cross-pollination with other mind-flowers. Before you know it, new flowers with new colors, patterns and shapes begin to emerge everywhere; idea-flowers which have never existed before, not even in our wildest imagination. This process exposes the genius of natural designs and laws which are far beyond our weak intellect’s comprehension. What is essential is that we come together in community and communicate, and do so as respectfully as possible. The change will emerge on its own, and will carry the unique imprints of each participant forward into the mysterious creation of that which is beyond imagination — a new world.

True evolution is beyond the myopic sight of political thought-forms, or empty clamor and rebellion. True evolution is a journey into the vast gateway of new vocabularies, concepts and even expanded understandings of life itself. It is about taking those new vocabularies, which often belong to new generations, and speaking new languages, and through those languages, creating new narratives; narratives that could have never been expressed without those many new constructs.

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language / And next year’s words await another voice.
T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding, II.4

We may at times encounter resistance, and find new understandings to be a source of fear and confusion, yet as human creatures we are nonetheless deeply compelled to evolve, and this is an inexorable and natural process. The process of social evolution is a natural emergence, based on free communities of social interaction and communications. This underscores one of the reasons why freedom of expression and freedom of peaceable assembly must remain sacrosanct. This is especially true of dissenting opinions and acts of absolute opposition and defiance against injustice. It is everyone’s duty to oppose all forms of injustice, particularly the act of trying to silence the exchanging of ideas in relevant venues, where difficult, and even painful dialogue so desperately is needed. The higher-mind universally condemns any use of force, which seeks to intimidate, impede, or squelch free expression and peaceful assembly by those wishing to enter into the conversation of change. It is hardly possible to conceive of any act more disturbing than the intimidation of another free person. It is unimaginable that any person or group would dare to touch another person’s body, or dare lay a hand upon a free, human being merely wishing to express themselves. It is unconscionable! We must always stand in solidarity and in absolute defiance against such acts of intimidation. Unless you are harming someone, you should never be touched or intimidated. Never stand by and allow a hand of intimidation to be placed upon the sacred and free body of an unwilling participant, nor allow a monster to reach into the mind or heart, and silence a free soul, with fear and threat of liberty lost. The most cunning enemy comes at your energy, image, or name, but the base and ignorant brute, the foul pig of a despot launches his whole selfish being — mind and body upon you, to suffocate your freedom. No law should allow or promote the silencing of opinions, or the directing or disbanding of peaceable assembly. Strangled in the clutch of brute intimidation, we are all made victims; first by the foul deed, and second by those good souls who do nothing to oppose it. Any law, or law body enabling injustice, must be reformed, and must be relentlessly ignored, with loving contempt.

Humanity is full of beautiful people; unique and precious, each of us are fine, worthy and wondrous beings. Every person has something meaningful to say in the conversation of life. Let people speak. Let people disagree. Communicate. Listen. Have high-respect, if not for your opponent, then for your own comportment and conduct as a good listener. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you have to agree with people and their beliefs to defend them from injustice. As free as you allow others to be, such freedom you create for yourself. We each have a miraculous capacity within our mind to evolve and to learn new ways of understanding. The great procession of life’s challenges and conflicts ever advance, and every difficult moment is a new opportunity for each of us to showcase the evolved state of humanity we all wish to see. When you close your eyes to what apparently “is,” and look inward to the infinite truth of what is possible through imagination, you will discover vast landscapes of uncharted territory, clear open spaces for all people to exist together in harmony. We can build these beautiful visions together, through respect. The essential respect is the one in your own heart for yourself. The expansion of your own consciousness, capacity for love, humility and compassion — this is the path; this is the way.

Bryant McGill

Bryant McGill is a human potential thought leader, international bestselling author, activist, and social entrepreneur.

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