BE AN ACTIVIST

WE CANNOT CHANGE WHERE WE ARE IN HISTORY. WE ARE SHAPED BY OUR HISTORY, OUR CONTEXT. MOST OF THE TIME WE MOVE THROUGH LIFE HARDLY QUESTIONING THE INFLUENCES ON US. TOO OFTEN WE ARE SPONGES OF LIFE AROUND US AND HAVE LITTLE CONSIDERED IMPACT ON THE FUTURE. A LOT OF TIME IS SPENT ABSORBING WHAT GOES ON AROUND US, COMPLAINING ABOUT STUFF WE DONT LIKE, POLITICS, OUR BOSS, OUR HEALTH ETC. BUT WE EXPECT 'SOMEONE' TO FIX IT. HABERMAS - PHILOSOPHER, SOCIOLOGIST, INTERDISCIPLINARY THEORIST INTERESTED IN HOW SOCIETIES CHANGE AND THE CENTRAL ROLE OF LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION - TALKS ABOUT ÍDEAL SPEECH SITUATIONS' AND EMPHASISES FOR SUCH A SITUATION WE NEED:

ADEQUATE OPPORTUNITY:  FOR PEOPLE TO SPEAK; TO CHALLENGE THE RULES OR TOPICS OF DISCUSSION; TO AQUIRE THE SKILLS OF DISCOURSE, AND TO BE FREE OF VIOLENCE AND OTHER FORMS OF COERCION (SEILER, PEOPLE.UCALGARY.CO). 

IN AUSTRALIA WITH SOME EXCEPTIONS, MOST OF US WITH LIMITED EFFORT CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SPEECH SITUATIONS THAT ARE A AS CLOSE TO IDEAL AS FEASIBLE,  TAKING ACCOUNT OF OUR PLACE IN THE WORLD AND THE COERCIONS WE TAKE FOR GRANTED. WITH SO MUCH TIME NOW SPENT BEING INFORMED BY THE INTERNET AND MASS MEDIA GENERALLY IT BECOMES TOO EASY TO SIMPLY SOAK UP TAKE-AWAY MESSAGES AND MAKE THAT OUR LIFE WORLD. 

WE MUST RESIST THIS EASY JOURNEY THROUGH LIFE AND WAKE UP TO HOW WE ARECOMPLICIT IN BEING MOULDED BY MAJOR INTEREST GROUPS. WHY FOR EXAMPLE DO WE BELIEVE THAT BEING 25 IS BETTER THAN 85; WHY DO WE HATE WRINKLES? BECAUSE OVER TIME WE HAVE BEEN BRAINWASHED BY COMPANIES - THROUGH THE MEDIA - TO BUY THEIR PRODUCTS TO LOOK YOUNGER! IF WE PUT LESS VALUE ON HOW WE LOOK AND MORE ON HOW WE ARE MANY COMPANIES WOULD GO BUST!

THIS IS JUST A SIMPLE EXAMPLE BUT IT SHOWS HOW WE ACCEPT A CREATED REALITY RATHER THAN CRITICALLY AND DELIBERATLY BEING INVOLVED IN CREATING THE SOCIETY THAT REFLECTS THE VALUES WE SO OFTEN SAY WE LIVE BY.

TAKE JUST ONE DAY AND USING THE 'PANCAKE' APPROACH FLIP THE MEDIA MESSAGES AND ADVERTISEMENTS YOU HAVE NOT QUESTIONED BEFORE AND MATCH THEM TO A LIST OF WHAT YOU VALUE.

TRY THIS ONE:  MOST OF THE PUBLIC BELIEVES MORE MONEY FOR EDUCATION AND HEALTH IS NEEDED. TAKE A POSITION OPPOSING THIS AND MAKE SOME ARGUMENTS AS TO WHY THIS IS A GOOD THING; USE YOUR VALUES AS A TOUCHSTONE FOR YOUR ARGUMENTS.

IT IS BETTER TO BE YOUNG: WHY? COME UP WITH SOME ARGUMENTS AS TO HOW BEING OLD IS BETTER. USE YOUR VALUES AS A TOUCHSTONE FOR YOUR ARGUMENTS.

DO THIS WITH AT LEAST 7 MESSAGES THAT YOU HAVE TAKEN FOR GRANTED UNTIL NOW. MAYBE SHARE YOUR PANCAKE OUTCOMES ON FB TWITTER OR A LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF SOMETHING YOU READ. 

IF WE ARE REALLY TOO BUSY TO REFLECT ON AND CRITIQUE THE MESSAGES WE ARE ABSORBING THEN YOU HAVE TO QUESTION IF WE HAVE A DEMOCRACY OR ARE WE SUPPORTING A MEDIA DICTATORSHIP, A TECHNOCRACY WHERE WE WALK THROUGH LIFE AND OUT THE OTHER END OBLIVIOUS TO WHO IS PULLING OUR STRINGS. VALUES THAT ARE BURIED UNDER LAYERS OF OBLIVION ARE NOT DRIVING REALITY. MAKE TODAY THE DAY YOU RESIST AND START BECOMING AN ACTIVIST.