By Abel Merawi
September 24, 2021 (Ezega.com) -- New Year has dawned, and in this time of hopefulness and optimism, I wish to speak of a dream. This dream is not as great as that of Martin Luther King Jr., or of the prophets, or of Dostoyevsky, or of all those noble and gentle creatures who transcended the immediate ill to envisage health and vigor. It is not as great for it is a dream I was able to clearly see through the visionaries. I was able to heed their call because the dream served to awaken a grand truth that resides in all of us. Sadly, we all dream grand dreams of universal bliss but we easily abandon it. We fear it will disturb our hardened hearts. If we live out this dream of truth and love, we subconsciously fear it will weaken the cruelty we confuse with strength. We also fear it will expose our true selves by removing our shields of rationalization. How wrongly we trod through life for the fact remains that this dream elucidates a truth that rids of our illusions! The truth is that humanity is practicing the love that strengthens ourselves and fellow humans.
Avoiding much ado, I will speak of this dream. But first friendly advice. I will not be telling you anything you do not already know. I sincerely will speak only of a dream – a vision of a world most of us consider childish and imaginary. I will tell you that a world of love and peace is no fantasy, but is rather more real than the unfathomably hostile life we now call reality. One version of insanity is doing the same things in inane repetition and expecting a better result. We have tried ad infinitum racial, religious, ethnic, national segregation wars for centuries. But we haven’t brought peace. So why not try universal humanity in unison?
I dream of a world where we share our blessings and sufferings – our smiles and cries. Our human condition ultimately manifests in cherished moments of smiles and in unfortunate moments of cries; in moments we all are too familiar. We all have smiled and cried, and so we know their deep and moving impact. Thus, I dream of a world where the riches of the world are employed for the creation of a livable world. This life can be and must be better. I can, without a shred of doubt, claim that 8 billion-plus strong human species can create a world of beauty. If we could only look past our own fictional and unnatural realities. If only we see our common destiny, we surely can fashion a path towards world peace. This has nothing to do with surrealism or utopianism; world peace is no fantasy.
We already practice this dream every day, but sadly in its mini version. We practice love, justice, empathy, and all the virtues that constitute humanity. The problem is that we have made a grave error in our praxis because we have degraded and diminished our virtues through parochialism – through our shallow divisions. We have distorted and insulted humanity, and so we have opened the gate to all the evils lurking around to infest us. We have persistently labeled our truncated group mentality in the name of humanity, and we have begotten evil thusly. One of our greatest folly is the employment of humanity for the ephemeral pleasures of ‘us’ at the expense of ‘them’. But I still dream of a world of realization, one in which we recognize how humanity is enough to embrace both ‘we’ and ‘them’ as humans. Anticipating such realization, I dream of universal humanity, which has been our distant star but can become our sun once we give up our illusions.
If we could only dream and envision universal humanity, we would realize the nightmarishness of our present life. We can see the truth of this dream if we open our entire being to it. When we open our minds and hearts to this dream, we will see how utterly petty our groups and sects are. After all, what is racial love compared to universal love? Ethnic humanity pales in comparison to universal humanity. Our empathy based on hues is laughable for the earth is rich with people of various colors, who are all humans worthy of compassion. It is beautiful to see the attentive care among fellows within a certain religious creed. But what about the others? Does our religion teach us to hate people of a different faith? Never! It actually teaches us to feel sympathy borne out of the love for life. But never could this translate into coercion and destruction. Love is a grand force of unity, all-enveloping energy.
Dostoyevsky in ‘The Dream of a Queer Fellow’ claims that it doesn’t matter whether we realized the ‘truth’ while awake or dreaming for its feasibility and value surpasses its means of access. Thus, these words are not just dreams. They are truths of realities yet to come, to be lived when they inform our notions and practices. Our technological and scientific prowess manifest realized dreams. Well, humanity is an internal force rather than an invention. It too can be realized.
We have to remember that our present reality is partly the portrayal of past dreams. Some of these were virtuous dreams that were realized only in distortion. Others were like dreams of the delirious and insane, yet we collectively succumbed to them. We can still dream majestically and practice our dream with the lessons of history to guide our path. Our dreams and aspirations of the ‘good life’ precede the social, political, and religious institutions, the institutions strive to realize our dreams. In other words, our civic and all other organizations cannot exist in a vacuum, without a vision of life.
Dream of moral ideals, Dostoyevsky writes, “unites people into the strongest union, that it is not measured by immediate advantage, but it guides the future of men towards eternal aims and absolute joy.” We are currently living the dreams, distortions, and nightmares of those who came before us. We had plenty of nightmares in Hitler’s Holocaust, Europe’s color racism of colonialism, and Stalin’s systematic oppression that costed the lives of millions. Yet, we also had higher dreams of humanity in religious and prophetic leaders. Alas! We have made divisions and warred against ourselves. But gladly, we have also given birth to humanitarian organizations and conceived human rights. And so, we can still dream big and stretch our humanity until it becomes universal. We cannot lose heart and give up hope since we are on our own and there is no one coming to save us from ourselves. This earth is our only home. We cannot naïvely indulge in parochialism. A universally benevolent identity is the dream and guiding energy that can reawaken humanity and make earthly life worth living.
Abel Merawi is Addis Ababa-based contributor for Ezega.com. He can be reached through this form.
Other articles by Abel Merawi:
Human Wave Attacks
The Bridge Between Love and Hate
Identity Frames and Humane Response to Suffering
The Plurality of Identity
Necrophilia – The Affliction in Servants of Death
Public Trust in Social Media
Even Monkeys Can Use Smart Techs
Adwa – Triumph of Unassailable Humanity
Democracy and Democratic Institutions
Democracy and Democratic People
Paideia or Deep Education
Educational Purpose: Good Citizenry Vs Rational Autonomy
Crowd Leaders as National Enemies of Ethiopia
Ethiopia Under the Threat of Crowd Mentality
Conformist Realism in Ethnic Federalism
Alternatives to National Identity
Ethiopia in Conflict - Part II: A National Stand for Unity
Ethiopia in Conflict - Part I: EPRDF and the Creation of Ethnic Division
Forms of Human Violence (Part II)
Forms of Human Violence (Part I)
The ‘Having’ Mentality
Free but in Chain, Part IV: Personal Bondage
Free but in Chain. Part III: Economic Bondage
Free but in Chain. Part II: Social Bondage
Free but in Chain. Part I: Bondage of Worldview
Unemployment and Economic Growth in Ethiopia
The Underestimated Human Ignorance
Is America the Land of Freedom? (Part II)
Is America the Land of Freedom? (Part I)
Capitalism Becoming an Impediment to Morality
Ketman: Living in Disguise to Gain Acceptance
The System and the 'Criminal'
Trust as an Economic Force
Do You Trust the Government?
Our Online World
Fame Mistaken for Expertise
The Heavy Burden of Healthcare Workers
A Time to Reflect
The Plague by Albert Camus: Fiction Becomes Reality!
History of Pandemics in Ethiopia
Human Struggle Against Pandemics: Historical Perspective
You Can Make a Difference
Rule of Law for a Free Society
The Origins of Law
Determinants of Market Value: Part II
Determinants of Market Value: Part I
Your life Matters Too
Manifestations of Artistic Expression
Achievements vs Natural Accidents
The Grip of Sacrifice
Injustice is Never Justifiable
Education Demands of the Future
Job Security, Life and the Unpredictable Future
The Shift From Racism to Culturism
Sacrificing Meaning for Power?
Culture and Market Forces
Seeking Cosmic Justice
National Myths: Makers and Destroyers of Nations
Are We Truly Free?
Maturity: The Prerequisite to Freedom and Democracy
Loyalty to Truth, Not to Group
The Value of Work
The Flaws with Ethiopian Political System
Intellectuals and the People
Where Are Our Pathfinders?
The Allegory of the Cave and Its Lessons to Leaders
The Truth Behind Humanity
The Seven Virtues
The Seven Deadly Sins
What is the right thing to do?
Building National Identity
Adey Abeba and the Spirit of Change
Living the Truth as a Human Being
Hubris - The Tragedy of Not Learning from Others
The Era of Group Mentality: Us vs Them
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