Here is a story about ethnicity, the "other," and establishing an individual framework as a reference point for comprehending the world. It is based on Chapter 3 in Steiner's The Philosophy Of Freedom; "When Archimedes invented the lever, he thought he could use it to lift the whole cosmos out of its hinges, if he could only find a secure point of support to set his instrument. He needed something that was self-supporting, not dependent on anything else. In thought we have a principle of self-subsistence, it is composed by means of itself. From this principle let us attempt to understand the world."
Crossroads Of Conscience
In the heart of a newly established ethnic homeland, where the air was thick with the pride of identity and the echoes of ancestral songs, stood a leader shaped by the very soil he vowed to protect. Born into a world where every story, every lesson whispered of the specialness of his people, he had grown up with the unwavering belief in the sanctity and superiority of his ethnic group. From the tender memories of his parents instilling the tales of their ancestors to the rigorous discussions in his social circles, every moment was a brick in the fortress of his conviction.
As he climbed the political ladder, his voice became synonymous with the fervor of ethnic conformity. He was a beacon of the homeland’s ideology, a steadfast guardian of its pure identity. His speeches blazed with passion, conjuring vivid images of past oppression and a triumphant reclaiming of their homeland. His words resonated deeply with his people, who, with resolute conviction, vowed that never again would they be scattered and diminished, their unity and identity dissolving in foreign lands.
But beneath the facade of certainty, a storm was brewing. On a visit to the borders of the homeland, he witnessed the consequences of their policies - faces of despair, families torn apart, and the extinguishing of hope in the eyes of "the other," those expelled. These images haunted him, chipping away at the bedrock of his beliefs.
Once a guardian of ethnic exclusivity, he began to unravel the tightly wound threads of his indoctrinated beliefs. Tormented by the heart-wrenching suffering he witnessed, a suffering that contradicted the just and noble image of the homeland he had always held, his mind opened to new perspectives.
In the quiet sanctuary of his study, away from the prying eyes of his political allies and the watchful gaze of his community, he immersed himself in the world of forbidden literature. These were texts that had been dismissed and denounced in his society, texts that sang songs of universal freedom, equality, and the inalienable rights of all individuals, regardless of their ethnic origins. They spoke of principles that transcended tribal loyalties and nationalistic fervor, advocating for a shared human experience rooted in dignity and mutual respect.
He sought out those whose voices had been silenced, those who had been labeled traitors and outcasts for daring to challenge the status quo. He engaged with philosophers, free thinkers, and human rights activists who painted a starkly different picture of the world, one where the lines of ethnicity and identity were blurred in favor of a more broadminded and individualistic humanity nourished by a diversity of thought.
Through these interactions and his readings, he slowly began to weave a new tapestry of thought. This new framework was characterized by its focus on the inherent dignity of every human being, recognizing that the rights and freedoms of individuals should never be compromised on the altar of ethnic purity. It was a framework that was self-sustaining, as it did not rely on the validation of his existing political circle but was reinforced by the universal principles of human rights. With each passing day, his new framework of thought grew stronger, offering him a reference point from which to view the world not through the lens of ethnic division, but through the unifying prism of shared humanity and universal rights.
A transformation was taking root. His framework of thought, once unyielding, began to morph, guided by a newfound respect for universal human rights. The concept of shared humanity, once foreign, now seemed the only path to true peace and prosperity.
Yet, as he stood at the precipice of change, a harrowing decision lay before him. The campaign of ethnic cleansing, a cornerstone of their founding ideology, was reaching its zenith. Before him was a decree – to approve the bulldozing of homes belonging to the other ethnic group, making way for settlements of his own people.
His heart was a battlefield. Loyalty to his ethnic group, a loyalty nurtured since birth, demanded his allegiance. The images of his ancestors, the heroes and martyrs of his people, seemed to stare at him, demanding fidelity. But then, there were the other faces – the faces of those who had lost everything, whose only crime was their birthright.
In this crucible of conscience, he grappled with the question: What did it mean to be a leader? Was it to uphold the ideologies of the past, or was it to forge a new path, one that recognized the dignity of every human being?
In this moment of decision, his pen hovers over the decree. The choice he makes is a reflection of the ongoing struggle between his past indoctrination and the awakening of a new pro-human framework for viewing the world. His journey from a fixed ideological framework to a self-established paradigm of equality and human rights had reached this crossroads of conscience with its life changing consequences.