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Joe Weston

Revolution vs. Revelation

revolution vs revelation

Recently I was asked by one of my contacts at the national level of the Occupy movement to share my thoughts on the differences/similarities between Revolution and Revelation. I find this an important topic of discussion; especially as it gets clearer that we are no longer sitting back and watching incongruities in economics and justice happen, and we are trying to find an effective way to communicate and protest that will actually bring about positive lasting results.(see my recent blog post: The Power of “No”)

I am moved by the way people are expressing their pain and outrage, as well as demanding justice with the killing of Trayvon Martin , in way that is powerful and vulnerable, yet not violent or conflictual.

Here’s what I wrote. Feel free to respond with your thoughts:

You’ve asked me to share my ideas on Revolution and Revelation. You asked me what I thought about the statement: For the 99% and the 1% to connect and work together to find new solutions we need to move from Revolution to Revelation. Was that right?

Well, of course I have ideas on that! Here goes: I believe there are many meanings for the word Revolution. One definition would imply innovation, opening to the new. Unfortunately, the Occupy movement as a whole in my eyes has not done that. Yes, the Occupy movement has been very instrumental in waking us out of our state of numbness that big business and corrupt leaders have brainwashed us into. We no longer blindly accept how business and world leaders make decisions that disregard the environment and human rights. That is a major feat!

However, the Occupy movement continues to use old tactics of Revolution that haven’t worked in the past to create lasting change. Why should they work now? Angry protests may create the illusion that they create change, but it is only temporary. Protests may be a quick way to get your message out, but it also creates alienation and broadens the gap between the opposing parties. All it really does is perpetuate the dualism and feeds the tension and animosity.

If you think about it, the tactics of occupying a park, or trying to take over an empty building, is really no different than the tactics of governments or big business that go into third world countries and exploit the environment and people for their own political gain and profit. Taking something that doesn’t belong to you for your own gain is not progressive. How do you expect to make the 1% change if your strategy for change is the same as theirs? Why should they change and do it differently when you aren’t?

I think the Occupy movement has used a very old-fashioned, worn out definition of Revolution that involves combat, possession and opposition. When are we going to realize that using those energies to overcome those energies only creates more of that energy?

I would say that my definition of Revolution in the context of the Occupy movement has to do with the motion of revolving. Basically I would say that as long as the movement holds on to a strategy and spirit of Revolution, it is just running around in circles and not accomplishing its highest purpose.

So, what can you replace Revolution with? You know it: Revelation! The only way for lasting change to happen is if the movement gets past its anger, its arrogant, self-indulgent need for each member to express their individuality at the cost of productivity, its fear and suspicion of structure, and its refusal to let go of its medieval views and fears of leadership and not open to progressive ways of doing leadership, so it can organize, clarify, and reach out and communicate with the so-called “enemy”.

This is where my work, Respectful Confrontation comes in. My basic belief is that it is only in your vulnerability that your true power is revealed. Until both sides are ready to sit down and be transparent, open, vulnerable, respectful and really listen to one another, things will not change. In the process of using Respectful Confrontation you reveal aspects of yourself and you speak your truth. Winston Churchill said, “ Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

In the act of revealing yourself, higher truths, new solutions, and the path to lasting change is revealed. That is Revelation! I know there are people in the movement who are holding space for this more evolved way of doing commerce, social justice, governing, and communicating. Their voices need to be heard more, not the anarchists who get heard because they have louder voices.

So, as long as the movement holds on to an archaic policy of Revolution, all involved will continue to run around in circles and perpetuate the old. If the movement embraces new ideas of leadership, communication, respect and compassion for the adversary, all involved will go down in history for being the catalysts of the evolution of mankind. Revelation transforms Revolution into Evolution.

So, those are my thoughts. I’m not sure what you want to do with this. Since October, I’ve offered the movement support, given advise, spoken at GAs, meditated for peace, marched, even offered a free workshop. Once again, I make myself available to serve the movement with my skills and teachings, and my passion and hope. I wait to see if there is an opening. I pray for myself, for the movement and for mankind that there is….


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Communities Change Fierce Civility

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