Every day of my working week, I am being reminded how incredibly fortunate I am, to live in a country with a democratically elected government, where legal representation and good governance are the rights of everyone.
Every day, I see more evidence about the evils humankind can inflict on their fellow humans, to gain or maintain power.
Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people’s places.
Of course, this is a power that is morally neutral. One might use such an ability to manipulate, or control, just as much as to understand or sympathise.
One of the many things I have learnt in life was written by the Greek author Plutarch: What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.
That is an astonishing statement and yet proven a thousand times every day of our lives. It expresses, in part, our inescapable connection with the outside world, the fact that we touch other people’s lives simply by existing.
But how much more are you, likely to touch other people’s lives? Your intelligence, your capacity for hard work, and the education you have earned and received, give you unique status, and unique responsibilities. Even your nationality sets you apart. The way you vote, the way you live, the way you protest, the pressure you bring to bear on your government, has an impact way beyond your borders. That is your privilege, and your burden.
If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families/relations who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped change. We do not need magic to change the world; we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.