Chapter Four - “Ubuntu: We are People Through Other People”

In this chapter Judy departs from her own history and way of seeing to world to explore the wisdom of those with a spiritual practice. She talks with Rabbi Michael Lerner from Tikkun , Starhawk, a famed anti-globalization activist who is also a witch and Van Jones who explains the difference between Black church as a safe place and the experience of most white activists whose experience of religion is oppressive. Judy finds herself working more and more from a place of compassion than from a place of anger in her activism and wonders if people with a spiritual practice might have something to teach us about how people change.

“I am not saying that everyone who has a spiritual practice has a lock on how to work from a caring, inclusive place rather than an angry, dominating place. I am saying that I have learned a lot about good democratic process from people who come from a spiritual practice. While I remain skeptical of the idea that changing consciousness one person at a time will do enough to change the world, I have always understood that changing consciousness is essential to changing concrete reality. Marx argued that for the working class to rise up against their capitalist masters, they needed to overcome the false idea that their interest was the same as that of the bosses. In the women’s movement, our first action was to form consciousness-raising groups, where we learned, just by talking to other women about our problems, that these problems were not unique to us. They were social problems faced by all women.

I used to think that getting involved in a movement for change, such as the pro-choice or the anti-war or a participatory strike, was the way that consciousness could change, but now I realize that there are many paths to that goal. Through these efforts we understand collective power, we feel Ubuntu, our connection to one another, and know that together we can overcome the odds against us. In the last decades, these struggles have too often dead-ended in defeat, leading to cynicism rather than deeper involvement. Certain kinds of spiritual practice can also bring a change in consciousness to lead to social and political change. And as I will argue throughout this book, just as in nature where biodiversity is needed for survival and growth, so it is in our human society. We need diversity on every level.”

Related Links:

Relevant Blog Entries:

Fierce Light (film)

Franklin, Ursula

Genoa G8 Summit Protest

Graaf, John de

Hollyhock Centre

Jones, Van

Lerner, Michael

Malik, Abdul-Rehman

Media That Matters

Network of Spiritual Progressives

Obama, Barack

Open Space Technology

PR Watch

Ripper, Velcrow

Sacred Sacred (film)

Seattle Anti-Globalization Protest

Silent Killer (film)


Stauber, John



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