Conventional history, in schools and on our televisions encourages us to focus on the named and famous whilst imagining ourselves insignificant. There’s no reason to think one small person’s one small action makes any odds at all. You have to have money and power to change the world, don’t you? An army might help, or being one of the ultra-clever who invents something life changing. Everyone knows that, and we know if because we are primarily taught the history of power and wealth. We are not formally taught about the evolution of ideas behaviours and cultures that belongs to the many. We perpetuate the stories of our own insignificance.
Most of the time in our history, most people have bought into the ideas of their own powerlessness. History also shows us what can happen when we collectively realise our own power and potential. Revolution happens. Emancipation and equal rights get on the agenda. Peasants demand the vote. Uprisings happens. Cultural shifts take place. It must be terrifying for those who want to be in power and I’m sure they would much rather we used that collective energy to vote on which TV celebrity gets to be considered especially important this year. That kind of power, to topple nations and make change, is frightening for the majority too, because we’re encouraged to think, and we encourage ourselves to think that we couldn’t handle the responsibility. We can. We do, it’s just most of it happens unconsciously, which is not ideal.
We are society. We are culture. We are the ancestors of the future and the inheritors of the past. We are the life blood of tradition and, whether we do so consciously or not, we all contribute to shaping the present and crafting the direction the future will take. If we do that obliviously, we don’t get to do anything with our power. We let history and habit shape us and we leave ourselves open to being herded around by others. The politicians. The corporations. The media. Anyone with an agenda and the will to lure us into serving it, potentially. If we know who we are, if we think about where we want to be going and make our choices accordingly, then we do have power ad who knows what we might achieve, as individuals and as part of traditions.
Today is the end of history. The entirety of the past has been building towards this moment. Tomorrow is the future. It always was, and always will be. There is nowhere for us to stand but at the end of history. However, we have a great many options over what we might undertake to do with that.
(This is the final part of my regurgitating roughly what I said at the Druid Network’s convention last weekend. Part one is here – https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/druidry-end-of-history-part-1 . I am entirely open to speaking at pagan events, moots etc, in the UK. This piece was written to match the conference theme – Druidry in changing times, and with an eye to the Mayan 2012 malarkey. I’m always happy to contribute in line with a theme or topic. Queries are always welcome and if at all technically possible, I will say yes.)