Today is Saturday, August 10, 2013.
"Be a voice, not an echo." -Anonymous
This is another one of those pithy pieces of advice that nobody is claiming as his or her own. Another one that it has taken me a while to process.
I don't think it's wrong to add our voices to a crowd of other voices in order to make a point. In that case, being an echo has a positive effect. There is a growing chorus of voices pointing out that the global mean temperature is growing warmer. Not by a lot, but there is growing evidence that it doesn't have to be by a lot for life-threatening changes to be triggered.
There's also a chorus of voices insisting that we all need to look more deeply and honestly into racial stereotyping and bigotry based on beliefs about races other than our own. These voices are telling us that what was once tolerated is now intolerable.
A growing number of voices are saying that the entire world is headed for economic collapse on a grand scale. That seemed a little truer in 2008 than it does now, but perhaps we are only experiencing the calm before the storm.
Voices are also being raised about the mass killing of bees due to chemical herbicides and pesticides. Who will speak for the bees if humans don't? We have killed them. It's up to us to save them.
Another issue about which voices are being raised has to do with the mistreatment, disrespect and genocidal practices against indigenous people, particularly of native peoples in North and South America.
When is it not OK to be an echo? I think it's when the message we are echoing is not our own. For instance, many women echo ideas put out by the fashion and beauty industries. People regularly echo the talking points of the political party they subscribe to. Young people echo what their parents say at home. Mid-level managers echo the "party line" given out by the top brass in a company.
There's power in being a voice, rather than an echo, expressing an original idea that nobody else has thought of. There's also power in expressing an idea that is contrary to what most other people are saying. Not all of us have a chance to do that. Still, we can always say how we feel, regardless of what anybody else says. We can describe what we saw, no matter what everybody else says they saw.
We can express our inner knowing, regardless of whether it has been "proven" by science. We can hold onto what we believe, no matter how many others insist it is wrong.
We can decide what we believe, without slavishly depending on the media and TV commercials to tell us what to believe. We can form our own opinions, rather than always relying on scientists or government authorities to give us answers.
We can be a voice.
Sure, we can look at the evidence. We can listen to other people. We can listen to what the experts have to say. But then we have to evaluate what we see and hear, and come up with our own ideas. When we do this, when we speak our own truth and express what we really believe, then even if we are saying what some others are saying, we can be a voice. :-)