The conversation about Equality or a Quest for New Leadership.
We live in the era when the issue with equality is reaching the staggering struggle.
Need for equality is prominent. It’s a big and hot topic for many beginning from small microcosm’s arena of a family’s dining table conversation and going all the way to macrocosm’s of a law creators and a vast amount of ever growing social movements.
The need for equality comes from underlying sense and inferential comprehension that the way things are is not alright anymore. The access to social media and extensive ability to travel and reach far beyond different edges of the world bringing a new awareness of the world complexities and feeds the demur of status quo.
We make judgments of what is right or wrong based on the comparison between the default states and our values. We compare what is available concerning welfare and education between different countries, the level of income gaps between male and female, the level of civil right that is offered by states to their citizens etc.
The inequality appears when the best practices for the agenda in focus don’t match with our values any more.
I was born and raised in the Soviet Union. In the country, as I learned much later in my life, that had many human rights and self-expression issues. A country, that was guilty of relentless propaganda among the population, and whose leaders were never convicted of murder for thousands of political prisoners. This same country who has fought and contributed most in tolls of deaths towards the victory in the second world war. A country, who excelled in science and country who pioneered in the 20th century in the educational reforms. And, more bizarrely, a country, whose main leader was a dead body in a tomb for almost a century.
The red line of communism ideology was a concept of equality.
Sure, many were “more” equal than others. As well, I, who was brought up in the Soviet Union had no inner equality conflict. My mother, who was one of four kids in the small village after two failed attempts to get a place in University, was accepted in the end and has built a successful career as a Town Hall Finance Deputy in a small town in western Ukraine, and she was a communist. I remember my mother working hard, never giving up and her being greatly moved by the desire to improve people’s life as much as possible. Did she care about ideology at all? Did she face an equality struggle? Or correctly put was she preoccupied about it? It Doesn’t seem like it. Same applied for most of the generation.
My mother's unique expression in the world was about recognising the distinct needs of people and then finding resources to satisfy these requirements in the most efficient way possible. Was my mother along with millions of others citizens avoiding to grasp the depth of what was going on in the country, or just cleverly pretended that it didn’t matter. Her focus was on doing. Doing what was needed for the day in front of her to remove the societal deficiency gaps. The focus on better education, better roads, and better quality of water among many others were the gaps she fiercely worked on to fill in her day to day life.
And the results were there. The town was flourishing.
I was brought up experiencing a great sense of community, sense of satisfaction from hopes and aspirations that I had for my future, with a constant feeling of support that was available from neighbours, actually everyone on the street. The equality in society was in being united in one simple common goal - to be the best citizen that one could ever be for yourself and all. We were growing with the sense of pride for ourselves, our families and our state. The artificially created image of Lenin was very much alive after his death. He was portrayed as someone who fought injustice looked for equality and fairness for all and who lived by these values. Personally, he was entailing qualities of selflessness, bravery, friendliness and openness. He was a good friend who will not let anyone down and would fight for the truth selflessly.
Now looking back in time, the communist leader body is still there in Mausoleum to remind us, people, of the past we lived, but even more of our own insane capability of creation something that is this much bizarre.
Throughout my adult life, I questioned myself why Lenin’s mostly made up image was so powerful? Why his dead body featured in Mausoleum was subject for tearful expressions for many years after his death? Why, while people around me, facts and statistics say that he was an evil, I haven’t got these feelings at all? Who was an evil? Dead Lenin or people who chose to keep idealising him for decades?
For me, who was brought up closely with Lenin’s image, he was an ideal Human Being to take an example of.
He was so ideally portrayed that sufficient amount of mass population wanted to be like him. So being a citizen of USSR, for more people felt reassuring, safe, inspiring and inclusive. The intentional limitation and control of self-expression have ultimately reduced any individualism, and the equality didn’t seem like an agenda at all.
Lenin’s ideology had such a powerful effect on the mass population, that Soviet leaders kept him as a natural guardian of communism image for many more decades buried in Iconic Red Square Mausoleum. Was it Vladimir Lenin’s choice for his preserved body to be an object of attraction and mystification?
Communism ideology or mainly Lenin’s image was encouraging for everyone to excel, for the best of all, for the greatest good of society, for being best human one can ever become.
And everyone was assumed to work hard to fit into that image.
There are many other leaders of ideologies that World has produced up to date: Alexander The Great, Fidel Castro, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Winston Churchill. As well as religious leaders in forms of Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mohammed and more.
Many of them brought lots of pain and devastation, not to mention the huge disappointments. The others names still inspire us and give us strength and sense of pride for humanity.
Obviously, we as humanity got it wrong at times. So how can we trust our choices? How can we be certain that any new ideas or ideology will not create a new devastation?
Luckily, the invention of the internet has put a birth of new religion - individualism. With the new hype of self-expression, we suddenly discovered ourselves living in the era of millions of role models without one particular ideology. Individualism has brought our focus upon ourselves when there is no one stands out from the crowd to fill that niche of perfect human being image.
The era of individualism has its benefits as we all hold an opportunity to excel in the direction that feels right for us.
The vast number of role models created a massive fragmentation of society. The perfect imagery of newborn leaders has short life span and declines as a result of people getting disappointed or lose interest in them very fast. Let’s take elections, how long do we feel fond of a newly chosen leader? Many are anticipating a new unpleasant discovery about elected governor, soon before the actual election. And we feel more frustration growth bigger than ever.
The fragmentation brings a feeling of disconnect and separation. Lack of real leadership in society creates the vacuum. The loneliness has become the largest phenomenon of our times. While we have the greatest amount of methods to connect and an enormous number of contacts in our phone list, we more than ever feel isolated with our various ideologies of life.
Are we secretly looking for that great role model that will inspire us enough to feel driven? One, who we can associate ourselves with in a safe manner? Whose expression will make us feel more alive and will provide a sense of our meaning in life?
The biggest danger of looking for equality is that the same as with role models we tend to attach our meanings and hopes to what perfect equality may be.
For example. Some may measure equality in terms of physical equivalents of weight, height and once capability. e.g. Women are lighter, therefore, they should eat less as one famous European politician has expressed himself recently.
Professor of math is paid more, than rubbish collector as value attached to his work is greater than of one of a bin collector.
"I am older, higher in status, etc., then you therefore you must listen to me."
”I am the first one who found the resource, Therefore, I own it.”
”Or I am born to this or that family heritage, therefore, it implies that I am this or that.”
There is one fight for equality that has been happening for a long time, and I am apprehensive about as it can bring potentially huge damage to our future as a human beings and our planet.
In our time we experience lots of women waking up to the movement to stand up in their power and claim their deserving space in the societal net. More women become vocal, and it’s a beautiful and yet scary thing to see.
It’s frightening to many men. When fight turns into the struggle of “us against them”, it’s not a fight for equality anymore. It’s war. All wars sooner or later resolve in the battlefields with an ultimate winner and a looser end. And I am not sure if any women would like to see themselves or their men as a looser. War brings nothing but disastrous losses and takes a long time to recover.
How about if we women decide collectively what we want first, what place in society women wish to play and start a conversation with the men at home, at work, at parliament etc. We need to agree among ourselves first what is the vision of our coexistence together, how to relate to each other, how can we serve each other's needs. Can we take each one of us this responsibility and personal leadership for individual equality?
I am pretty sure men themselves are tired too to carry this millenniums-long projected role of the family breadwinner and imposed a patriarchal model of society.
We see that it may be a time to start measure equality regarding meanings attached to a different concepts. What DOES EQUALITY MEANS TO YOU? As deep down I suspect that we all badly want the same, the only problem that our expressions have different meanings attached and therefore it sounds like lost in translation most of all. As well in reality I feel there is no Agenda there either. Deep down we all wish for love, affection, cooperation and connection above all. We all need each other just the way we are.
Let's start talking.
So what society do we want to live in?
Or are we waiting for another ideologist to take us there?