Rights and freedoms – a slippery slope that invariably lead to oppression on one side, and entitlement for the other side. Listening to news draws out a lot of our collective shadow, as well as personal shadows. We want what we want, even when we can’t logically or consciously explain just exactly what it is that we want. For example, I want to live a life fully. That is something that I think every human on the planet can agree upon. But, at the same time, our individual definitions of living fully are usually incomplete as those who are fortunate enough to have no economic or cultural or political or legal barriers get in the way. The state of dissatisfaction with what could be viewed by most others as a “perfect” life, tells us that there is something below the level of consciousness that is “wanting.”
We see a child in an underdeveloped and underprivileged sector of human society become “happy” when an unexpected gift of food is offered. At that instant life is “perfect” for the child. Yet we know that it doesn’t take long for that happiness and definition of perfection to change into one where there is a growing expectation within the child that he or she has a “right” to good and ample food. Now, who among us would argue that point – of course children “should” always have enough nutritious food. But, how does that food make itself available for “every” child regardless of race, colour, or creed? When we are given only so much food, we make choices as to who gets this food and who doesn’t – universal rights are quickly and vigorously trashed.
We see that in a microcosm in our modern western world within our schools. We believe and make laws to the effect that children deserve, have the right, to a decent education with “no child left behind.” I have spent a lifetime in the field of education and have, perhaps, a better insight about the system than the average adult and child – perhaps. I have seen this “right” become something that is dark and destructive in nature. In spite of a child’s behaviour or effort, our current state of affairs in this world of rights and entitlement, the child doesn’t learn what she or he is taught (well, it sort of looks that way when we think the curriculum and values espoused are the content of what is being taught). A child becomes a bully or is bullied or both. Any discipline meted out has to ensure that the ego isn’t bruised, that the opportunity to learn and engage with others isn’t compromised, and that this education doesn’t interfere with life after regular school hours. And somehow, this morphs into parental rights which curiously trump the child’s rights.
In reality, what rights do we have? None. To have rights leads to a sense of entitlement that has nothing to do with optimum human development, but has everything to do with the division of human society into the privileged (with entitled rights) and the underprivileged (the others). With entitlement, this division between “us” and “them” any hopes of achieving basic human rights. It appears that the only “right” that truly exists is the right to be a winner or a loser.
In today’s world, that “right” is divided along gender lines. Men have the “right” to degrade, humiliate, punish, and dominate women. The “right” to be this kind of “man” predates all of our recorded history and is validated over and over again throughout our recorded history through laws and churches. Women have the “right” to be dominated, to be “less than.” We are reminded of this in a growing trend among young men (and not so young men) who grab opportunities to use the acronym FHRITP (Fuck Her Right In The Pussy). Other than an occasional (and embarrassed) slap on the wrist because we live in a world of ostensible political correctness, the response is “boys will be boys.”
I don’t mean to be so pessimistic, but perhaps I am simply opening my eyes and seeing the real world where no one, including mother nature, plays by a rule book of fairness. All that is given to us, is the choice to be more lightness than darkness. Both exist within each of us.