Everyone wants to be a social justice warrior these days. In recent years, our social media feeds have become more and more saturated with too many judgemental social justice posts and comments.
I am all for spreading awareness of the injustice happening in our world, and I believe it is important not to bury our heads in the sand, pretending that everything is perfect. But it also makes me sad to see how some of these conversations are dividing us as people, rather than bringing us together.
There are too many absolute statements and beliefs, too many extreme stances, you are either for or against something. There doesn’t seem to be any place for in-betweens, and often, there isn’t any attempt to understand anyone else’s opinions. We are talking too much – no, we are yelling too much, at each other, and none of us are listening.
It is disheartening, but I also have hope.
This year is the Universal Year of 2 – a year that typically brings about peace and compassion for others, and I hope that maybe this year, we will try to listen and understand each other before we attack each other in the name of social justice.
These three Major Arcana cards in the tarot; The High Priestess – 2, Justice – 11, and Judgement – 20, all correspond to the number 2 in numerology, and I find that they have so much wisdom to offer in helping us learn to be compassionate towards our fellow humans.
Here are a few questions from these cards we can ask ourselves:
Are we considering all sides of the story?
There is always more than one side to a story. Often we hear one person’s account and assume we know the other side too, and then make snap judgements according to our assumptions.
The High Priestess represents duality and the unknown, things on the other side we may not be able to see. There is this quote by Robert Evans, “There are three sides to every story – yours, mine, and the truth.” I believe the only assumption that is safe to make is the assumption that we can never fully know the true stories, and I feel it is an important point to consider when making judgements.
This isn’t to say that we cannot or should not take sides, although I honestly believe it depends on each individual situation, only that we shouldn’t make extreme judgements knowing we do not have all the information.
Do we seek true justice, or are we facilitating witchhunts?
Sometimes reading the comments of social justice posts can be really scary. You see people describing extreme cruel and unusual punishments for people who allegedly committed crimes (no matter the nature of their crimes), even if their crime was only a thoughtless word at the wrong time.
We are human, we all make mistakes. And then we learn from them. That’s how we grow. The problem is that our mistakes are becoming more public now with camera phones and the internet being so easily accessible, and it is so much harder to recover from mistakes when society won’t let you move on.
Should a person face the consequences of their mistakes? Absolutely. But after that, they should be free to move on and grow from the mistakes they made. The internet can be an unforgiving place though, and sometimes the “justice” we seek becomes injustice – a way to bully the human being who made a mistake.
Again, every individual case is different, and yes, some criminals never face the justice they deserve. We *should* fight for justice when the punishment is too lenient for the crime, but we should also realize when the punishment has become too extreme.
Moreover, it’s a concern when we start punishing those who haven’t even been proven guilty yet. Are we facilitating witchhunts now, when an accusation is enough to convict a person no matter if they are guilty or not?
Are we exercising our own judgement, or just following the crowd?
Sometimes I see people agreeing with what some influential bloggers (or any public figure) have to say about certain events, and I wonder if it is truly what they believe or if it is the need to fit in that speaks for them. Occasionally there is the outlier who says something that seemingly disagrees with or questions the popular view, and suddenly the commentors come out in droves to ridicule or disparage the dissenting view.
It serves to silence many of those who actually have valid questions but are too afraid of being unfairly attacked, for questioning the popular opinion that has somehow become gospel. And it serves to make for a very narrow-minded society.
Do we stop to think that maybe the popular opinion could be wrong? Do we stop to think that maybe there are other ways of looking at a situation? Do we make our own judgements and trust our own judgements, or do we follow the crowd because we are too lazy to form our own opinions, too scared to speak against the crowd, or just too easily influenced?
Are we sheep to just go along wherever we are herded, or are we able to think for ourselves?
Remembering we are individual people with individual thoughts and feelings
It has become increasingly difficult to navigate this world without somehow offending or triggering someone. We forget that we are a whole world of diverse people; people with different backgrounds, beliefs, thoughts, experiences… We are bound to disagree with each other on many things, we are bound to say or do things that someone else does not understand, or come across someone who says and does things that we might not understand.
The default setting shouldn’t be to attack. It should be to understand.
We are all individual people, with individual thoughts and feelings. Sometimes we forget there are actual people behind those words on a screen, who have lived different lives from us and learned different things that they needed to, in order to survive in the environment they live in.
Stop and ask ourselves these three questions before we take up our weapons in the fight for social justice;
- Are we considering all sides of the story?
- Do we seek true justice, or are we facilitating witchhunts?
- Are we exercising our own judgement, or just following the crowd?
I hope that we can try to remember the wisdom of tarot in the High Priestess, Justice, and Judgement and ask ourselves these questions as we continue to raise awareness for social justice.