Monday, 26 January 2009
Things don’t happen unless there is a need and a wish for them to happen. Things change unless the energy for it is there.
In this respect I do think the phenomenon of Barack Obama is not that he is someone who drives, inspires and initiates change, but he is in fact, the embodiment of change itself. When Obama was elected as President of the United States, it did not signify that change would surely come. Change is actually already here. It is not up to him, but up to this planet and everyone on it to complete the dream.
Obama in other words, is the manifestation of that very need for change that has emerged, developed, grew and crystallized long before any of us has heard of this skinny man with a funny name.
And the need is not necessarily individual, but it is certainly collective. We might not have been conscious of it but it is certainly there on the subconscious level. It is not isolated to a particular place, particular country or even to this particular planet, but rather it is universal.
One only has to see the number of books that have appeared in the last decade alone on the power of dreams, the capacity of the individual to make things happen, the importance of affirmation and positive thinking: books on enlightenment, empowerment and increasing awareness.
One only has to see the increasing number of people more curious about spirituality and the meaning of life: More people seeking to live in constant awareness and heighten their consciousness so that they live their lives not as passive victims of circumstances but as masters of their destinies.
We see in other words, a greater desire to be co-creators in the creative process that is life itself. And when I speak of Life, the human aspect is only part of it – a significant part to be sure, at least from our perspective, but still only a limited part. The rest, we are still subject to the laws of nature and the power of the collective subconscious.
The subprime fiasco and the global financial chaos is not merely a matter of economics, transnational market interdependency and corporate greed. For the last few decades mankind on this planet has been in a rampaging and looting mode, taking incessantly from the earth, consuming and destroying everything on our path, polluting our environment and poisoning the very air that we breathe.
The time has come to redress the balance, to slow down and to put a brake on our excessive spending and wasting. The time has come for each thinking individual on the planet to decouple ourselves from our material obsessions and mental infatuation with conflict and competition to engage in self-reflection and find true meaning in our lives.
For change is already here when it is our children who speak words of wisdom; the young who remind the old of the need for peace, harmony and cooperation; the innocent who point the way to a better future and a more sustainable planet, while adults fight and nations kill one another.
But change needs a face that symbolises the universal need for peace and cooperation that transcends creed, colour and country. A unifying figure that every one from the most powerful to the most victimised can identify with and claim as part of their own.
What is Obama but a potpourri of all things imaginable? He does not belong only to The United States and as a matter of fact he is not even black, but his background and family is a rainbow of hues representing nations from all corners of the world –European, African, Asian and Chinese. Even in religion he does not fit into any stereotype, with Jews, Christians and Moslems happy to claim him as one of theirs or accuse him of being another when it pleases them.
From the circumstances of his birth, childhood and education (a child of mixed marriage, abandoned by his African father, had an Indonesian step father and half-Indonesian step-sister now married to a Canadian Chinese Malaysian, white grandparents, brought up in Asia and Hawaii, the island state where East and West meet) Obama is Everyman and every child that has a dream.
Even more significant is the fact that he is the President of the United States (not of a country in Africa or Asia) a country that can create most damage on earth but yet can also make all things possible in the world.
For when the time for change is ripe, for an idea to be implemented and for the dream to be realised, if there had not been an Obama around, the world would have created him anyway.
(Desi Anwar. First appeared on Tempo English, January 09)