Not Settling for Small Gains

From a talk by Tim Jackins at the East Coast North America Leaders’ Workshop, in Warwick, New York, USA, December 2014

We work to make things better, but often we are working to make small gains. We fight to make the world around us livable, but when we were small we wanted gigantic gains. We wanted to change everything, and we thought we could. We tried to see if we could, but as the oppressive society around us came in, we lost battles and we weren’t able to discharge on the defeats. We made small, good changes, but the distresses we acquired turned us in a reformist direction. We were pushing in a good direction, but it got harder and harder for us to think about a major change in the way we do everything.

We get fond of the small gains we’ve made, of the small protections from the worst of society, from the worst of our distresses. These become very important to us, and they are important in the sense that they are gains that we have fought for and won. But they can also confuse our perspective. They can become too dear. It can get hard for us to think of larger, more revolutionary change. Some limitation on change gets frozen in our distresses.

Could we change everything? What would we have to face and discharge to be able to change everything? We can work to make oppression less harsh, more survivable, but ultimately we need to end oppression completely. This will involve facing large challenges and changing our lives in large ways.

To do this, I think we must first take on1 those of our distresses that have seemed too large and difficult to go after2, that we have lived with until now. We have conquered many distresses and made our lives much better and more livable. But deciding and agreeing to not accept any distress, no matter how unfaceable it seems, may be the necessary step for liberation.


1"Take on" means confront and do something about.
2"Go after" means pursue.


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00