We are defined by what we stand for, not what we stand against
Some people are perpetual agitators. They agitate against the government, against the police, against the corporate world, against the religious orthodoxy, against the cultural norms. They stand against anything that represents hierarchies and power structures, which they deem intrinsically evil – not just corruptible, but innately corrupt.
The Bhagavad-gita (18.28) indicates that sarcastic and stubborn people work in the mode of ignorance. This mode is characterized by energy and even expertise in destruction. But those working thus are poor at construction and pathetic at maintenance.
If such people somehow tap public discontent with the status quo and gain power, they soon find themselves agenda-less and rudder-less, for they have defined themselves by what they stand against, not what they stand for.
Even if they claim to stand for some positive cause, they often end up perpetuating the same exploitative power structure they had agitated against. Thus, for example, communists promised class-less equality for all, but ended up arrogating privilege for themselves while the majority remained in scarcity. In their “equal” social structure, some people were more equal than others.
Real positive vision rises from spiritual wisdom. The Bhagavad-gita (04.02) recommends saintly kings who are seers spiritually and rulers materially. Such kings find their fulfillment beyond this world in service to the Absolute Truth, Krishna. That fulfillment enables them to use worldly resources without being enamored by the associated glamor and power. They are eminently capable of the leadership that reconciles reform with maintenance, balances innovation with preservation and uses power without being used by power. They stand for the principle of service – service to the whole of which we all are parts, and service to all the parts in relation with the whole.
Such holistically inspired leaders can bring about tangible and sustainable improvement, individually and collectively.
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