You do not have to be religious, nor even spiritual, perhaps, to recognize that there is a part of your being that is completely independent of everything tangible and external that others perceive about you. If you are of a theological persuasion, then please take time to reflect on whether that internal identity squares with your chosen denomination. Then, act accordingly.
Do you know what is not white, black, brown, red, yellow, male, female, or non-binary, gay, straight, queer, or other, young or old, rich or poor, democrat, republican, independent, libertarian or anarchist? Your soul. That’s right, your soul is none of these things, and that is not an exhaustive list. Those external qualities are immaterial to your central persona. Your soul can only be corrupted if you allow it to be, if your mind and body do not fuse with your purpose, your innate sense of peace, justice, equality, and connection to all other species.
There is no shortage of influences that can conflict with our soul. We are biological entities, and that immediately entails a mind that can be bent, a body that can be compromised. We are inherently social animals, and vulnerable to coercion, brainwashing, and other tactics designed to benefit others at the expense of ourselves. We fall for distractions from the more important concerns of the day, losing ourselves in entertainment and “coping” mechanisms like alcohol, tobacco, drugs, gambling, and other vices.
Civilization has erected economies with the sole purpose of aspiring to, and attaining, gratuitous material wealth at the expense of whole classes of the citizenry. Economics dictates what is acceptable as an avocation based again on external characters of race and sex. We demand that women bear children because the economy needs more consumers, whether or not those children ever amount to anything “productive.” After all, we outsource and automate the production side. Women are also considered servants of men. We expect black people to serve us through entertainment professions: athletes, musicians, actors, and comedians.
While the private, business sector has made clear its rules of social order for the benefit of overly-privileged straight, white males, the public sector of government has largely agreed with, and reinforced, those parameters. We have yet to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) for women. Laws and legislation continue to ignore the poverty, mass incarceration, environmental injustice, voter suppression, unemployment and underemployment, and crime that plague entire communities of people of color (not an exhaustive list of woes). In many instances, laws are passed that make matters worse.
Religion should be a savior, or at least a voice of reason, insisting that all of “God’s children” are created equal, but too often the church is mute when it comes to demanding reform. The Bible, like the Constitution and economic theory, is now revealed to be insufficient for a more complex age where the meek are finally asserting their God-given rights. Of course we are going to adhere to outdated rhetoric if it continues to preserve conditions that allow us, personally, to prosper in terms of financial and social rank.
Are police going to stop killing black people? Are we going to stop believing this is “justifiable” use of force? Only when we start seeing through to our souls. When we stop assuming anything based on perceptions of exterior presentation, and preconceived expectations of what is “permissible,” we will begin to advance. We have to start by looking at ourselves that way. A mirror reflects only the body, our occupation merely reflects our current economic role.
Our mind is the closest thing to our soul, and we must free it from undo influence. That may well require economic sacrifice, even hardship, to honor what our soul insists upon. Your life purpose may have nothing to do with your career. In fact, that is probably the case for everyone if our “soul purpose” is to architect a more fair, sustainable life for every human being, and for all species. If that is not your personal answer to your life’s purpose, let’s hear your rebuttal. Our collective dialogue must begin to transcend everything we have come to believe defines our very existence because right now we are denying the existence of others.