Why The Occupy Wall Street Movement Is Bound To Fail (Or Not)

Via Chris Lemig
on Oct 26, 2011
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I’m a Gen Xer. When I was younger I was a little bit jaded. I thought the idealism of the social movements of the 60’s and 70’s had had it’s day.

I wanted to “fight the power” but I felt helpless.  This was during the first Gulf War, when speaking truth to power simply meant your voice being swallowed up by that power’s wide-open mouth.

But today, I’m feeling inspired. This is a crucial moment in human history. A moment where a new direction is opening up, not just here in America, but around the world. It’s our choice now which way we want to go (and I mean that with a capital “W” all you Tea Partiers out there).

But if we really want to head in a new direction we are going to have to change more than outer conditions; we are going to have to change our minds. It’s our collective self-centeredness and greed that have gotten us into this mess. And it’s not just the Wall Street bankers who are guilty. We all are. Me included.

Turning the mind from self-concern to the concern for others is what will ultimately determine the success of this movement. And to some degree, it’s already there. I hear it from many people. It’s not just about “me, me, me” for a change. It’s about the rights of workers in Panama, Korea and Columbia. It’s about people in Egypt and Tunisia demanding that they be treated as human beings. It’s about the middle-class homeless in Birmingham, Alabama and Colorado Springs, Colorado. It’s about all the over-educated, underemployed, hardworking citizens of the world who are finally realizing they have a voice and that they don’t have to sit silently and helplessly as injustice and unfairness rule the day.

But this movement cannot be just another “us against them” struggle. If this is just another exercise in cultivating the mind of separateness, we will have already lost. This movement must be about caring for others, not the self. When we make caring too much for the self as passe as segregation, then that will be truly amazing.

I think we are on the cusp of this amazing thing. I think maybe we are outgrowing our old ideas about “revolution” and “rebellion”. Those things are simply about the transference of power, a renaming of the same old shit. No, I think today it’s going to be different. I think today we are finally ready to rebel against, not some group or ideology or government, but against our own delusions. I think we are ready for a true rebellion of our hearts and our minds.

At least I hope so…


About Chris Lemig

Chris Lemig isn't afraid of the dark. He dreams in full color and lives out loud. Sometimes, when he sees that your heart is broken, his heart breaks, too. But then he puts all the pieces back together and lets out a great, guffawing laugh that shakes the world to its bones. He loves you even though he's never met you and he wants you to know that you are brighter than the brightest guiding star. He is the author of The Narrow Way: A Memoir of Coming Out, Getting Clean and Finding Buddha.


2 Responses to “Why The Occupy Wall Street Movement Is Bound To Fail (Or Not)”

  1. Chris Lemig says:

    Thanks, Sally. What I'm talking about here is inner transformation. So I think what we need to do it practice things like loving-kindness, tolerance and forgiveness with the people we spend the most time with everyday: our families, our friends, our co-workers, our neighbors in the community. Then the change will radiate further and further out into the world.

    But as far as participating or even just supporting the protesters, I think the best way is to stay informed and stay a part of the discussion. Listen to diverse views that aren't part of the mainstream media. Stay connected via social media. Make your voice heard.

  2. Chris Lemig says:

    Thanks, Cameron and sorry for the delayed response. Been on the road for the past two months and haven't been on top of all my posts. Great posts by you as well. Thanks again!