Martyrs, Paradigms and Personal Revolution

A post of spontaneous inspiration. Earlier today, I came across the story of Giordano Bruno; an Italian priest, philosopher, poet, astronomer, mathematician – a true renaissance man. He was martyred on this day, 1600 CE, in Rome. Tortured for eight years before being burnt at the stake. Burned a-fucking-live. All because he was a proponent of the emerging heliocentric model of the solar system, and the notion that intelligent life may exist in the myriad others just like ours.

Stories of martyrdom may be grim, but I find most of them incredibly inspirational. The people in question so resolutely believed in something which opposed the prevailing world view that they would not relinquish their position in face of extensive, agonizing oppression. That boldness, strength and courage of mind is astounding. Without such people as Bruno, Copernicus, MLK, etc, paradigms would not change, and humanity would not evolve. These figures pressed against both the elites and paradigm in power, and even staked their own life on the validity of their truth.

The identity of individuals and organizations (religions and governments included) rely on any given current zeitgeist for their identity. If that is strongly established and accepted, they then stand to profit either financially or socially, and therefore they have great interest in protecting that paradigm to see that it does not change, so they can continue sprinkling gold and cocaine on their corn flakes.

Most people don’t even like change in general. It disturbs their patterns, the status quo, their identity. Things are changing therefore so must I, and I don’t want to change because change = the unknown and that means I might be fucked.

The oil and automotive industry is arguably the largest on the planet. The notion of changing how we source our energy, or shifting public opinions on fossil fuels, creates instability and potential irrelevance, which they cannot afford. Hence the game of whack-a-mole with free energy initiatives and bullshit pro-pipeline/fracking propaganda.

If people powerfully took a collective look at the GMO issue, Monsanto would no longer be able to rape and pillage the agricultural industry in broad daylight. They’ve created a treadmill from which modern farmers cannot escape: selling them crap seed, which requires their proprietary chemical concoctions for propagation and pest control, which brings them various diseases and cancers, destroys their soil, but it yields a cheap grocery bill for the public! Oh, and more cancer..

There was a time in history where speaking of something so integrated in our current paradigm – such as the fact that Earth orbits around the sun – was declared heresy, and, like Bruno, you would literally be tortured and killed for it. It reminds me that, because the human scope of perception is so incomplete, our beliefs and understanding of the Universe will forever be in flux. There are always alternative views. All of them always incomplete. And there will always be a need for boldness and opposition. Without that challenge we would never progress. Because these people spoke up, new ideas and eventually a revolution could gain traction.

In the microcosm: How do I compromise my truth in the face of others and society at large? How and why am I not my authentic self in the presence of others? What are the costs? If I don’t act and express boldly from a place of authenticity, how could I ever achieve my goals, become the person I want to be, align with the right people, or make the impact I want to make?

Each day we run the risk of living a life of compromise; of quiet desperation. A life determined by culture and circumstance, not purpose. Quite simply, if you have sovereignly selected a destination, you must follow your own course. In our environment there are squalls, currents and sometimes hurricanes that will alter trajectory. These can take shape in a person, a self-limiting belief, or an act of nature. People don’t want you to change. YOU don’t even want you to change. Remember your destination and cultivate the resolve, flexibility, boldness and courage that trails are blazed with.

It doesn’t have to be overthrowing a government. It could simply be changing an eating habit or going for a short run every day. You are going to resist your own change. But with persistence and repetition, in time, you will find yourself standing in the middle of a different life.

Just felt like fleshing out a simple reminder to myself to speak and act from what I feel to be true, instead of keeping my speech and actions quiet in the face of those that see the world differently. Things won’t change if I don’t. Thanks for reading!

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