As I have eluded to in my previous post “Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder,” we are being bombarded by messages on a daily basis. Some of these messages are meant to help us, others inform us, others are trying to sell us something, and others influence our decisions. No matter what the intent, they are trying to deliver a message to us about someone or something – some of the time it’s a message about who we are or who we should be. Much like the language used in different popular expressions, the language of television commercials and other media, as well as organizations, work to shape our view of the world.
In Latin America in the 1950s a movement began, most notably named by the priest Gustavo Gutiérrez, called Liberation Theology. It was a Christian religious movement that took on social and political injustices by teaching people that the poor were shown to be preferred in the bible and of as much importance as those who had power and money. This simple shift in thinking helped make people aware of the injustices they were living on a daily basis and helped them understand their importance in the world. When the message changed and focused on something different, the ideas, views, and feelings of the people changed as well. This lead to great social and political change for the better across Latin America.
This is just one example of how a quiet message, very simple in its nature, can change the way the world looks. This message was about the importance of people no matter their place in the world or their station in life. It didn’t matter how much money they had, or what type of job they worked – they were all equally as important and deserved the same treatment. The message carried by a few turned into a social revolution, this wasn’t the first time in history – the “Occupy’ movement here in the U.S. had the potential to do the same thing and has, at the very least, given rise to fresh ideas about what is right and what is wrong for Americans.
We are all creators of our own messages. We all control the messages, views, beliefs, and ethics we share with those around us. We do this with our actions and our words, and we have just as much power to shape our lives and the lives of others as those in Latin America. We can’t settle for the messages we are told, we must look deeper, look at our lives and the real meanings of things that happen to us and those around us. Most of the time the reality of a situation, the true meaning of a message isn’t hard to find… it’s lying just beneath the surface.
The desire for something better than you are, something greater than all of us, a better life for our children, a better world for coming generations is all it takes to begin. Look just beneath the surface of the world around you and ask yourself if you like what you see. If the answer is no, ask yourself again what you’re doing on a daily basis to change it.