Since the class where we discussed Michael Edwards’ speech on “love that does justice,” I wondered is it really that simple – can love change the world through justice, as Martin Luther King said? Could a deep selfless, societal love fix and change the major world issues, such as those faced in Africa by millions? Or is it just a nice thought that raises more questions than answers? Could an individual’s love for another be the ultimate answer or do we need passion for others to inspire action? If I had to answer, I would say the latter.
It seems to me that love or that trusting optimism that you have as a child, unfortunately, changes to knowledge of the world, and in a way isolationism. However, I think those things that you have a passion for as a child never really dies. Yes, maybe simmers and is somewhat faded, but never really dies. When I go in to work, I wonder to myself, is the reason all of my colleagues work for africapractice out of selfless love for people they will never meet in Africa or some sort of passion they have for changing the world? Are they interconnected somehow or are there individual drivers for working?
The problem I find with Edwards’ argument, and thus I make this argument that passion is the change we need: We as human beings are selfish by nature; we weigh our actions on a cost-benefit analysis. When you say that the world can be changed by selfless love, you completely go against our human nature. However, passion leaves room for some selfishness. If my colleagues are working out of a personal passion to help others and change the world, they themselves get some personal validation.
Some of the greatest movements in history were not driven from love, but rather passion. The American Women Suffrage movement, the civil rights movement, and the French Revolution (my inspiration for these thoughts, which was brought about by Les Mis) were organized and fought not out of selfless love, but out of the passion and anger to change societal norms for themselves and future generations. Thus, I ask, has my generation lost this passion or is the rise of the civil society our revolutions and protest?
Kelly C, Africapractice
Kelly C is a senior CCPA major from Fairfax, Va., who’s interning with Africapractice.