October 15th was Blog Action Day, and its theme was poverty. It’s a great cause and, energized by the experience of engaging in elevated conversations with people from around the world about this important topic, I spent the last couple of days talking about it to all the poor souls I encountered.
One encounter in particular made a big impression on me. The person I was speaking to – let’s call him Joe – listened to me patiently, asked interesting questions, encouraged me to continue pursuing my interest in this cause, and then, as I expected him to ask me how he could get involved, told me that while poverty was an important issue, it wasn’t his cause and hence he couldn’t spend time or energy on it.
The first thought that ran through my mind is: “How can you not want to dump every single other wannabe cause you might have and help with this one, one of the biggest scourges of modern day society?”
It was very tempting to engage him in a duel I was certain to win, successfully converting him to the cause of poverty. I resisted the temptation because at that very moment, I had a flash of insight.
First of all, there is no such thing as a cause that is better than others because, at the end of the day, all these causes are the consequence of injustice. As long as we can’t figure out a way to eliminate injustice, none of our causes would be resolved. In different ways, we are all working towards the same goal.
Maybe this is why there are so many good people doing so much great work and yet none of these issues are getting resolved. We are all rowing like crazy to reach the same goal (albeit different manifestations of it) but because we aren’t rowing in sync, we are expending a lot of precious energy to go nowhere.
The question we need to ask ourselves is this: what unifying force can bring us together so that under the umbrella of unity, we can finally make justice reign in our world and resolve all the issues behind the different causes that stir and inspire us?