Most of us consider that we operate from a basis of good intentions. We don’t think about it too much. We usually believe our intentions are good, but are they, really? We don’t mean to be self-interested, deluded or misguided. It’s a bit like murderers who say, “I’m just misunderstood. I’m really a good person.”
Until we take the time to review our intentions, and what drives them, our choices and actions remain pretty much a hit and miss affair with outcomes that can be far from ideal.
Essentially there are two ways of being in the world: conscious or unconscious; aware or unaware. Only conscious awareness that can comprehend truth and gain insight results in honest, courageous, effective choices and actions. The only way to be aware is to put in the effort to observe yourself and those around you with a questioning mind. Don't just question the world, first and foremost question yourself. Then step up and take action with integrity.
Due to the Covid 19 Pandemic, we live in very interesting times in terms of power dynamics. History has shown that whenever there is chaos, those who want power will step up and be seen. This was very much the case in pre-Nazi Germany and similar circumstances abound now. Governments are being given increasingly unprecedented power to control the movements of their constituents. But look beneath the surface of espoused intentions like “to be kind”, and “to keep everyone safe”, and you might see a picture that you would be forgiven for assuming resembles George Orwell’s Animal Farm, a novel, satirical and allegorical, first published in England in 1945, at the end of the second World War.
Orwell was writing about the events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917, yet his animal metaphor is a timeless incisive analysis of the dynamics of any societal group’s relentless, stealthy assumption of power towards creating a totalitarian state. In New Zealand we can see a progression not dissimilar, witness the centralisation of the District Health Boards and government annexation of the water ways; language being covertly forced on people who may have no interest in it and unrelenting use of lockdown to deal with a virus that is not controllable. Children are being forced to home school and isolate from family and friends, something that has serious impacts on their development and mental health. Small to medium size businesses are going broke. All these are forms of control. It would not be unreasonable to entertain the thought that these are but a few instances of groups capitalising on widespread chaos to promote their own agendas and attempt to build power bases, all under the banner of "goodwill towards all" and "kindness to all".
Removing an individual’s right to self-determination is a very serious action for any group to take and something we must all assume responsibility for guarding against. It is not enough in such times to just follow along unthinkingly doing as you are told, because the consequences of lost freedom can be dire.
In any choice you face, first ask yourself, what is my intention here, really? Does this intention serve all, or just myself and the particular group to which I belong?
In assessing another’s choices and actions, ask yourself, what is their real intention? Is it self-interested and deluded, or aware?
To gain clarity and avoid denial or delusion in your own decision-making and dealings with others, ask yourself these questions from three perspectives: from your own perspective, from the other’s perspective, and from the position of an impartial observer.
This may allow you to avoid the pitfalls of self-interest and power mongering.
The beginning of wisdom, human development and wellbeing is to ascertain truth, both within yourself and the world at large.
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