Vision 05… Occupy Together and Inclusivity

a Moment for Wisdom…


A Moment for…


 The changes in our life must come from the impossibility to live otherwise than according to the demands of our conscience…not from our mental resolution to try a new form of life.”

Leo Tolstoy


“If I am experiencing a wall, I remember:

1. My limitations create the wall.

2. There is always a gate.”

 Sharif Abdullah

“No one is less ready for tomorrow than the person who holds the most rigid beliefs about what tomorrow will contain.”

Watts Wacker









a Moment with Sharif…




Three different quotes, from three very different men, all pointing in the same direction: taking personal responsibility for creating the future.


Tolstoy reminds us of a basic truth: our ideas, our “mental resolutions” are not enough to change our lives or change our society.  The changes must come from deeper inside: what Tolstoy calls “the demands of our conscience” – which I may refer to as our “Spirit” and others may refer to as our “fundamental human nature”.


This is a major lesson in the evolution of the “Occupy Together” (OT) phenomenon:

  • Being fed up with a bad system is a requisite first step, but is not the recipe for creating a good system. Being hungry does not bake the bread.
  • Thinking that you’ve got a “good idea” is not the same as acting from the depths of your own Being, and bringing forth a collective Vision.  And:
  • Trying to replace a dying system (capitalism) with a dead system (communism) is a REALLY BAD IDEA!

This leads to the second quote (from my still-favorite author!).  I constantly remind myself that I am responsible for the conditions that I experience.  It’s really too easy to blame “Wall Street big-shots” or “corporate banksters” for the Mess in which we find ourselves.  It’s easy, and its RIGHT… but only partially right. 


In a paradoxical way, accepting my share of responsibility is a way to TAKE MY  POWER.  Once I accept responsibility for a problem, I also accept the ABILITY TO MAKE CHANGE.


When I start looking at “them” as the cause of our problems, I am missing how I also hold the same energies that create or contribute to the problems.  Of course I do: If I’m alive in this society, I am a participant.  We cannot hide in our synthetic-fabric tents, with industrially milled aluminum poles, tucked away in our synthetic sleeping bags, eating packaged foods… and pretend that we are not an integral part of a synthetic society.  I am.  We all are.  We all have to change, not just the “1%”.


I’ve noticed a “Holier Than Thou” attitude in some of the OT writings and signs.  Not only
are “they” the bad guys, so is anyone else who disagrees with us and our position.  (I spoke to one OT activist who said, with great joy, “We ran off those Ron Paul people who
wanted to join us!”  When I commented that people who agree with Ron Paul make up a significant percentage of the “99%”, he was not interested in listening…)


In the Catalyst-Leader training that I conduct, we spend a great deal of time looking inside ourselves, for traces of elitism, of “us versus them”-ism (we call it “exclusivity”) for signs of scapegoat-ism (“They cause all the problems; we are innocent”).  It is necessary to do some deep soul-searching because… in this game of Societal Transformation, sometimes the “cure” can be much worse than the “disease”.  (The revolution in Cambodia replaced the slightly despotic King with the megalomaniacal Pol Pot.  The Cambodian “killing fields” was the result of people trying to make the world BETTER… without a vision of how to do so.)


That brings us to the third quote… and the great graphic at the top of this writing.


We’ve got to mount our rickety ladders, climb to the top of the wall that separates our now from our future… and prepare to be amazed.  ANYONE WHO SAYS THEY KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS JUST SIMPLY ISN’T PAYING
ATTENTION.  Anyone who thinks the future is going to look like ANY of our past “-isms” has some real surprises in store.  Here’s a quote from someone I just learned about, Jason Silva:


“The role of human imagination is to conceive of delightful futures, choosing the most amazing, exciting and ecstatic possibility, and then pull the present forward to meet it.”


And, quoting Peter Drucker: “We cannot predict the future; but we can invent it.”


For those who NEED the existing, toxic Breaker Society – bad news: that world really WILL come to an end, and soon. If you cannot imagine a world without 500+ channels of meaningless television being beamed at you 24/7, or having all of your food sent through industrial machines… well, you’ve got a little time to get your imagination in gear.


For the rest of us: the one area in which all humans experience complete freedom is in our hearts and our minds.  Our hearts and minds are enslaved only if we cooperate with the enslavement.                                                 


Let’s clear our hearts… then dream big!









Vision Exercise:


Sign up to and participate in the very long thread of conversation on whether or not “vision” comes before “goals”, or whether both can be pursued at the same time.  Click here to follow the comments:








All photos by Sharif Abdullah, unless otherwise noted.

“Beginning is Near” graphic by Gavin Robert McGowan








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2 Responses to Vision 05… Occupy Together and Inclusivity

  1. Holly Wells says:

    Thanks for this lead, Sharif, and have signed up for Occupy Cafe, as well as RSS feeds from Open Collaboration’s Blog. I’m definitely in the vision camp–but don’t think it requires a long process. What if there was a half hour of silence in each camp every day (maybe even the same half-hour across the country) for people to simply reflect on their own humanity and what would most fulfill it? I believe that would help both vision and useful action bubble into the rest of the camps’ life.

    • Praxis Admin says:

      The process of vision takes… as long as it takes. It’s our “Breaker” minds that want Vision to appear on OUR schedules, when it’s “convenient”.

      Yes, it can be a very short time – if that’s all it takes for us to get out of our ideas and our egos.



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