It is difficult to read about anything without coming across the word security. I see this word, hear this word, feel this word everywhere. What does anyone mean when they talk about security? I think that security is elusive. It’s impossible. We all die. We all get old. We all get sick. People leave us. People change us. There is nothing absolute about security.
Unless of course your whole life is about being secure. What happens then? You can’t travel very far or venture out of your immediate environs. You can’t have too many contrasting ideas in your head at any one time as they might conflict, confuse or challenge you. You can’t open yourself up to new ideas or people or methodologies because they might veer your off track. You can’t have any doubt about who you are, so you end up clinging to your hard-matter identity. You become Christian, Jewish, Muslim. You’re an Australian, American, English, Indian. You’re a heterosexual or homosexual (at least you say you are). You become part of an ‘us.’ In order to be secure, you defend against ‘them.’ You cling to your territory. You must fight anyone who disrupts it. You become your nation. You become your religion. But this does not necessarily make you safer.
The Philippines has demonstrated that in a matter of five minutes a typhoon could rip through your village and destroy a population. All this striving for security against ‘others’ can make you much more insecure because now you are always on guard. There are people who are not like you – people who you now call your enemies. There are places you cannot explore, thoughts you cannot think, worlds you can no longer go. You also spend your days on the defensive, becoming more and more entrenched in your fundamental thinking. Your time become devoted to protecting yourself. This is your mission, it is all you do. Ideas get shorter, they become sound bytes. There are good guys and bad guys. Friends and foes. It gets a lot easier to hurt people because you do not feel what’s inside of them. It gets easier to incarcerate them, strip them naked, occupy them, humiliate them, invade them and kill them, because they are the obstacles to your security.
If your end goal is security, what happens is perpetual insecurity for yourself and for those you feel threatened by. You make yourself and those around you far more insecure. Real security is contemplating death, not pretending it doesn’t exist. Not running from grief but embracing it. Real security is not knowing something that you do not know. Real security is yearning for connection rather than power. It cannot be bought or made with bombs. It cannot be found with the expulsion of opposition. It is deeper, it is a process, it is acute awareness that we are all absolutely inter-bended. Real security is not only accepting mystery, ambiguity and complexity, but craving them and only trusting circumstances when they are present.
Freedom means not necessarily identifying as one group, but being able to visit every group. It does not mean that there are no beliefs or values, it just means that we do not harden around them. They will not be used as weapons. In a shared future, it will be just that – shared. The end goal will be realising your place in connection to others, rather then becoming ‘secure,’ in control, and alone.