“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”
– Albert Einstein
The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations have been at the forefront of my mind for days. While demonstrations and sit-ins played a very significant role in the creation of change decades ago, I think I stopped having any faith in these tactics as a tool when they failed to have any impact whatsoever on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the time, I remember thinking, this can’t last with so many people so clearly against it. But it has lasted… and lasted, and lasted.
Like most of the demonstrators, I’m thoroughly disgusted with both parties and our whole political system, not to mention much of the media, which is more focused on ratings and entertainment than journalism with integrity. I’m disgusted with our system of campaigning and elections and with the idea that corporations are people. (I work for a large corporation, and it is a lot of things, but human isn’t one of them.)
My sincere hope is that the Occupy Wall Street movement might be the beginning of a different kind of thinking, one that, as Einstein might say, moves us to a different level where we might actually solve some of these significant problems. In a recent interview, Naomi Klein was asked for her thoughts on the criticism being leveled at the demonstrators because they have no coherent message or list of demands. She said, it would be a mistake to draw up a list of demands before they really know how big an impact they might be able to have.
That idea left me feeling hopeful. Perhaps a new way of thinking is evolving. Perhaps that is the tool that could be wielded to accomplish in our time the level of change that was accomplished in other times. Perhaps this is the time to set aside the familiar list of proposed policies, debates and politicians to look again and what could change.