Four of the Prime Motivators To Enact Societal Change

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By Sally Dugman

I’ve identified four main orientation for some others and myself to rise against the status quo (or norm if a different term is preferred).

Here they are:

1.) Extreme fear mixed with horror:

My daughter as a teenager had a girlfriend, Megan, whose frail and weak mother kept nearly dying from repeated episodes of breast cancer. It pained us — lots of us — to see her compromised state and my daughter would do breast cancer walks and sleep-outs to raise money for breast cancer research.

Eventually, the mother died from the affliction and in defiance of it and in self-empowerment against her scared and shocked place, Megan became an MD with a specialty in breast cancer.

I, myself, saw Hiroshima Maidens with missing body parts and irradiated when I was aged five. I became an anti-war advocate as a result so as to strike at the heart of my fear.

I know of a fire fighter, who as a boy knew his beloved toddler brother died in a fire. It is clear as to the reason that he became a fire fighter.

Frankly there is nothing like being scared to move you with the full force of your being to fight against that which terrifies you. It is powerful — that which you can bring to bear as a response.

On the island that my parents lived in the Virgin islands, we had no fire department. So when a house caught fire, we’d, all of us capable through being able-bodies (not too young and not too old to be ineffectual) on the island, made a bucket brigade.

Scared to death that the fire would spread across the island, people would make a ring of our bodies around the burning house. We had runners bring water from my parents’ giant cisterns and other water sources.

The fire heat was on our faces as we were passed water in buckets and other containers to the frontlines. Then we would dump it onto hot spots that were starting to burst into flames.

We watched for the these hot spots — 360 degrees around us — turning around in circles like dervishes while breathing in the smoke and heat. We’d follow live cinders’ trajectories — eyes to the sky and then abruptly down to the ground as we raced to landing spots of them to put out new flames.

My sister, doing a similar action in the Adirondacks, NY, where the ground is made largely of peat moss and can go down for long distances underground so as to pop up in a fire far away, had the soles of her sneakers melt away from the severe warmth of fire in the peat-dirt under her feet. Yet she kept on  going to pour water downward into the ground at my father’s and my mother’s rallying cry. She was a teenager at the time.

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Yeah, fear and horror are great motivators to enact change. So there is a positive value there. (My sister and I aren’t  Eloi.) …

The theme of Fear and Kindness in The Time Machine from LitCharts

Feb 27, 2017 – Since the Eloi live in a world without the motivating forces of adversity and fear (except for the threat of the Morlocks, before which the Eloi are …

2.) Anger comes in to view as another great power. You should see my relatives and friends when confronting scary situations involving social or environmental justice and pulling up their full force of rage to stop the perpetrators. It’s formidable, especially when one is sanctimonious, self-righteous or holier than thou in attitude.

You can turn into a block of steel in your relentlessness while following the fire fighter’s code:

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3.) Cognitive approach: One can appeal in oneself (as a sort of self-dialogue) and others about moral implications for actions (commission) or lack of them (omission). Yet in the end, this sort of approach to change only works for a certain group of people as many are just too self-absorbed to care greatly except when it comes to their immediate relatives and friends.

4.) Love, empathy, compassion and the like: When I was a young student living in NYC, I didn’t have lots of money, but if I had a little extra, I would buy a sandwich, soup or tea for a homeless person sitting on the street. If I had no extra money at the moment for the act, I would simply sit for a while next to the person in an act of solidarity and to let him or know that s/he was not alone and caring does exist.

In the end,  I find the combination of the above positions unbeatable to further life in positive ways. They made and continue to make me and other, who I know, to be who we are.

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Sally Dugman is a writer from MA, USA.


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