These are famous words by the philosopher Aristotle that resonate and challenge the 21st Century state of passivity. Activity is a state of doing, making, moving. It is the force of making decisions and not letting opportunities go by our side. Activeism, therefore, is the idea of being active in the world, to not conforming to the passivity that propagates today.
Being active in a passive world requires sacrifice, uncomfortableness, change. It is often that we sit and watch things happen. We watch from the sidelines. Let it be in real life or on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Activity requires our sacrifice and our time. It requires us to get off from the couch and walk towards making things better.
A story from the Bible can help illustrate the point of Activeism from multiple perspectives.
The apostle Luke reports the following:
At first glance, this story just reads like the regular help the neighbor story. However, if you notice closely certain themes come to the foreground.
The Samaritan was from another part of the Kingdom. While Jews and Samaritans were "brothers and sisters," they did not get along. He and the Jewish man were by their birthplaces, political enemies. It is similar to our situation in the United States. Some are born on the West Coast and associate with a certain mentality. Others in the South and also generate different beliefs. Yet, the political association did not stop the Samaritan from helping someone in need. He decided to be an active force for change and help his "enemy."
Yet the differences between these two did not stop there. The Samaritan and the Jew were of different branches of the same religion. However, tensions were high between Samaritans and Jews regarding their place of worship. Both groups were contentious with one another and did not get along well. It is interesting to note that both the Priest and the Levite are from the same part of town as the man who was beaten. Yet, they did not choose to help, maybe because it was dangerous. The road to Jericho was known for that, after all. Therefore, the Samaritan's act is even more remarkable. His decision to help was an active choice to disregard the issues that plague these two groups and do what was right.
The story goes further, however. The Good Samaritan took a hit on his personal finances to help this political and religious "enemy." He placed himself and his donkey in danger by helping this stranger. He chose to disregard the issues and be countercultural. He could have just passed by, just as the Priest and the Levite did. However, he decided to be active and to change the course of events. The Samaritan knew that it was socially unacceptable to help this man. He didn't care. He disrupted the social norms for the sake of doing good.
Activeism is about choosing to live life in a purposeful way. In order to be disruptive, you ought to make choices. Letting others choose is not being active, it's being passive. Passivity is standing on the sidelines, being "neutral" when it is clear what one ought to do. Passivity kills and depowers us. It does so because it changes us without us desiring the change. Activeism is choosing to do something when everyone is just watching.
Getting involved in our communities, going out to lunch with someone who we haven't seen for a while, making our voices heard in political matters are some examples of what activeism looks like in a shorter scope. Yet, the principle of Activeism is about deciding to do good in a broken world.
We invite you to "Be Disruptive" and move to make a change, even if its a small one.