The idol of self prevents human liberation and societal transformation


Why do so many social revolutions stall out or don’t produce the outcome of a new world?

Oscar Romero wrote, “We must overturn so many idols, the idol of self first of all, so that we can be humble, and only from our humility can learn to be redeemers, can learn to work together in the way the world really needs.” The idol of self is often the impediment that hinders movements of human liberation and societal transformation.

This is why these days I am beating the drum of inner anarchy. Unless we root out or turn away from the false beliefs, mindsets, narratives and ideologies within ourselves – i.e. the idol of self – then the change we bring in the world will only be superficial. You have to deal with problems at the root, which is inside each of us.

The systems and structures of our world that perpetuate injustice and oppression against humankind and our planet are a manifestation of the false beliefs, mindsets, narratives and ideologies that are inside the people who create, maintain and benefit from these systems and structures. We are all complicit in this to the extent those falsehoods rule inside of us.

British sociologist Anthony Giddens is known for his theory of structuration. Giddens suggests that human agency and social structure are in a relationship with each other, and it is the repetition of the acts of individual agents which reproduces the structure. This means that there is a social structure – traditions, institutions, moral codes, and established ways of doing things; but it also means that these can be changed when people start to ignore them, replace them, or reproduce them differently.

Why are false beliefs, mindsets, narratives and ideologies holding humankind and our planet hostage?

It’s because people have false beliefs, mindsets, narratives and ideologies within themselves and then go into the world and create systems and structures based on them. And then in turn, those systems and structures indoctrinate more people into those false beliefs, mindsets, narratives and ideologies… and then those people go out and codify those systems and structures further. And the wheels on the bus go round and round.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that what must happen is that we root out those false beliefs, mindsets, narratives and ideologies within ourselves, and abolish those systems and structures that perpetuate them.

Am I missing something?

Inner anarchy naturally leads to the transformation of society because we find that those systems and structures that oppress humankind and the planet are the antithesis of what our higher awareness tells us is true, which is love, peace, harmony, oneness and the well-being of all. To be in-tune with our higher-awareness is to no longer support and participate in those false mindsets, narratives and ideologies or the systems and structures that operate upon them. Our higher awareness cannot turn a blind eye to them. We challenge, confront, subvert and undermine them, and lift up a new reality in their place.

Inner anarchy is also necessary to remove the idol of self so that people can join together in a real plan of action, as opposed to division and conflict based on personal agendas and ego. One of the reasons anarchist movements fail is division, conflict and fighting among themselves.

Unless people are willing to do their personal work and appeal to a different source than the ego and idol of self, we are going to keep spinning our wheels and not getting anywhere.

You might ask, then what? We have higher awareness; we use it to raise up a new reality and world in its place.

(Photo by Darla Winn)

Latest Comments

  1. Meg Lynch says:

    “Beating the drum of inner anarchy.” I love that!
    Did you get the idea of “Inner Anarchy” from someone else, or did you make it up yourself? I’d just like to do a little more reading on it myself.

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