It is one of the most common phrases in the English language and quite possibly the most revealing of the depths of human complicity, ‘That’s just the way it is’.
No matter what society or in what part of the world you live in, there are things that are so ingrained in your culture and your society that it feels like they cannot be changed even though common sense tells you that they are wrong.
As human beings, we often find it easier to live within the limitations of our society and not do anything to upset the status quo. We choose to ignore the injustices that happen around us every day so we do not have to burden ourselves with concerns that do not directly affect us. When we are confronted by these realities, we brush them off as simply unchangeable consequences of life we just have to live with when we know in our hearts that we are lying to ourselves only to avoid admitting that by conforming to the unfair order of things, we are part of the problem.
This is why we find revolutionaries such as Che Guevara and Malcolm X so amazing. It is because we all have an acute knowledge of how hard it is to stand up and rally against injustices that have become ingrained in the world around us.
After all, it’s already hard enough, just to make it through life in one piece, without having to worry about changing the fundamental order of things.
The world at large has evolved because of people who had the courage to stand up and challenge the status quo.
Think of the women’s rights activists who started a movement that drastically broadened the prospects for women all over the world, from domestic servitude to national leadership.
Think of the civil rights activists of America who attained virtually equal rights for black Americans to White Americans in a country where only a few decades earlier, the former had been the personal property of the latter.
Do not forget the countless Africans who sacrificed their lives in the national liberation struggles that transformed this continent from a collection of exploited colonies to a combination of independent states.
Mahatma Gandhi once said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Gandhi understood that even if you do not take up the cause of fundamentally changing your society, you can still make a difference by leading your life the way you wish all peoples could.
One of the biggest hypocrisies of human beings is how we often complain about other people’s wrongdoings and then turn around and do exactly the same thing, justifying our behaviour by saying, ‘Hey, I’m not the only one doing it’.
You may ask yourself why you should make your life harder for yourself by trying to be a good person when you could just easily take the short cuts everyone else is taking. The question is do you want to drift through life as nothing more than a passenger on a road paved with injustice or do you want to be an example of the person you wish we could all be.
Tupac Shakur once said, “I may not change the world but I guarantee I will spark the mind of the person who will.”
Even if you do not have the courage to start a movement, having the courage to be a movement, yourself, may very well inspire the person who will instigate the process of change.
Stop wasting your time lamenting how little of a difference one person can make and accept that the world is simply a collection of realised ideas so there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.
The time for your idea of a better world will come; the world has evolved too much for it not to and for every monumental change in our world, it began with an idea, an idea that would eventually change everything.