The Danger Of Being ‘Woke’
Many of us identify very deeply with being ‘different’ to the point that it can become who we are.
We are different and, therefore, special.
- We are ‘woke’.
- We are not like other people.
- We are the ones who are aware, while most of the world is not.
- We know the way.
- We are the ones who hold the truth, while almost everyone else lives lies.
This has always been extremely dangerous — associating our sense of self with being the ‘different’ one. Nevertheless, it has been the most popular form of identification, throughout my 34 year lifetime in western culture.
For those of us who have attached our sense of self to being ‘woke’ or ‘different’ — these questions must be answered.
What are we going to do when the rest of the world agrees with us?
Will that mean we can still identify with being ‘woke’ and the only difference is that most others are ‘woke’ too?
Will knowing the truth still make us ‘special’ when most people know it?
When the world finally listens and changes, will we still be ‘different’?
When the world agrees with us, and we are just ‘normal’ again, will that be enough?
Will we lose our sense of self that has been all tied up in being different from others or will we simply find new ways to be the ‘special’ ones?
If the truth we see as the truth is true, and we get what we say we want — if the world finally listens and realizes that we are right — we automatically lose our self awarded title. We can no longer declare ourselves the ‘champion of truth’ over the rest of the world.
Without being all wrapped up in these labels, we can effortlessly give up such a title. After all, it was the truth we were after all along, not the distinction.
There are those among us who have completely rooted their sense of self in being ‘the woke ones’.
Considering how this will look in the world — how the ‘woke’ people will respond to becoming ‘normal’ — is both fascinating and important.
As the world changes, I am hopeful that the truth and integrity of our reality will be the most important thing to most people. But, we must be cautious.
Language and human thought are not capable of holding the entire ultimate truth.
There is, however, age old wisdom that has been passed to us throughout thousands of years.
This is the wisdom of the ages —wisdom that breaks generational, cultural and religious boundaries. This is wisdom that we all share across continents and likely even worlds. This is the wisdom of true love.
Love tells us that we are the keepers of each other. Love says we can accomplish anything, together. With love, we are not separate or different, but one. Love shows us that we are all a part of one whole. Love knows that we are all we have — that we are us.
If the truth champion title became more important — collectively — than the righteous things we are right about, our efforts to change the world for the better would be futile. For every time we made positive change in the world, we would lose our sense of differentness — our sense of who we are.
Everything we see wrong with the world, on some level, is rooted in our differences. This separation and division tramples over the age old wisdom that is, after all, the closest thing to ultimate truth we have. It tramples all over love.
As we run towards equality together, we celebrate a newfound hope for human rights in America.
We saw the first woman stand up in front of the world as the Vice President elect of the United States of America. (I had no idea how moved I would be by this, or maybe I didn’t think about it, but I cried through Kamala’s entire speech. It was one of the most monumental moments I have experienced in my entire life.)
Regardless who we voted for, we all experienced that moment for the first time, together. When we saw the first black person on that stage, we experienced that together too. The barriers of race and gender have both been removed. Anyone who reveres the equality of all human life, found this moment to be magnificent — even if they didn’t vote for Biden.
The fires of equality have been stoked in our nation and we are elated about the possibilities of the future. Those who have advocated for the sanctity of all human life finally see hope. Preservation of the planet is no longer a far off dream. The impossible is becoming possible.
As we take to the streets in mass celebration of our dash towards freedom and equality, we must remember that division and separation among us is what birthed the unjust reality that has been our lives.
If we mean what we say and we really want things to change — we do not want to be ‘woke’.
A collective desire to hold the title of the ‘rightest right person’ will lead only to more division and take us right back to a ‘new and improved’ unjust reality.
Even for people who aren’t Christian, it cannot be denied that the life and story of Jesus embodied the same age old wisdom that touches almost every set of religious, spiritual and cultural beliefs on this planet. And, most people know the basics of his story. I use this as an example of certain universal principles without limiting my point to Christianity.
When we talk about unity, love and harmony among people, it is easy to mistake love for passivity. The concept of having ultimate respect for all human life and not being vicious or unforgiving is often discounted by those who cannot see the line between being fierce in love and being vicious and cruel.
Anger can come from love or hate. It’s not either or. Jesus turned over tables in his father’s house. He did this in love, not hate. There was no viciousness, cruelty or hatred — only a passionate demand for justice and righteousness. And through it all, he still embodied a deep love and respect for every single human — even the lowliest. He carried no hate in his heart and he most certainly didn’t divide himself from his fellows.
We turned over our tables and we may have more to turn over more in the future. But if we remain divided, we are doomed. If we keep calling each other names and tearing each other apart we will build another unjust system that will treat us exactly the way we treat each other. If we hold onto the identity of being ‘woke’ we will simply find more ways to make others wrong and inevitably breed more inequality.
We are at a turning point. Who we become collectively through this shift will define the future of our children, our country and our world.
This is that moment, right now, that it is most important for us to remember why we started. The possibility of a brighter future depends on it.
Written by Holly Kellums
Originally published on Medium.com