The Fate of Dissidents
The other day I was reminded of the fate of dissidents in Putin’s Russia, the ones who think his rule repressive and his war in Ukraine unlawful. They have to leave in a hurry to avoid frozen bank accounts, harassment, imprisonment or worse. I thought of those who dissented from the virus panic narratives and lost online status, careers, means of income and the character assassination supplied by well funded PR campaigns. I thought of those similarly cast aside or out from the tribe for their dissent from the global warming narrative, now so prevalent in the corporate media. I thought of the several ethnic groupings around the world bullied into repressive conformity by governments catering to the voting majority and the corporations who stand to gain from the mistreatment.
Centuries ago it was execution, house arrest, exile or excommunication. The intolerant demands of the tribe, nation and religion are nothing new and the creeping advance of democratic values and defence of human rights have accomplished less than we would like around the planet. While restrictions on free choice and punishment of dissent is yet entirely possible in so-called liberal democracies and regularly practiced under various name-calling guises, in autocracies it often dealt out with vindictive and vicious accuracy. Chile, Tibet, China, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Russia, …the list goes on.
As spirits in the material world who have some level of working knowledge of our immortality and our regular residence in the paradise others beg and pray for, how should we regard the illusions of others? As sad but inevitable as those souls pass through the corridors of conditioning we once passed through ourselves in centuries and societies now on the shelf of history? As the unavoidable conditions karma creates for its unconscious companions? That exact same mechanism which is now manifesting all our own conditions?
While unerringly true in its actions and applications, it always sounds heartless to mention it, as if one were personally responsible for all the perfidy and poisons on the planet, – the economic, societal and environmental, and lacking in sympathy for those suffering torments. We know that all have picked the conditions of their incarnation before arrival and are no more pickled in its challenges and contradictions that we are ourselves. We are more pampered than some and less privileged than others, all of us somewhere on the continuum of experience as it dishes out situations for all of us to deal with as best we can.
To be a dissenter is to not only step up to the plate of courageous confrontation, but to dice with free will and choice, and then take the consequences as they come, whether sweet, harsh, or a beguiling mixture, accepting them with a knowing smile and maybe blessing them for the lessons and curses they offer in the process, whether public or family disapproval, harassment, fines or imprisonment. Although we all came to act out our ambitions and inspirations, learn to speak our truth and bear witness to the devilish deceptions all around us, through the centuries of brutal repression some of us have learned to dodge the bullets while delivering a subtler and more effective thrust. And that developing sophistication of expression is also an aspect of what we think of as our fate. As the deceptions develop in their cunning and complexity so too does our clarity of perception: we intuit truths that outstrip the lies even if we cannot be more effective in exposing them.