This is just one part out of many diaries that I plan to write. For the most part, I will go more into philosophies and framework. It will come from my own opinions and analysis. The reason is for that is because this is only a possible starting point. Readers of this diary or any other from this series will do the heavy lifting. I only hope that this can help activist, campaign workers, or anyone running for office who intend to build a better society.
Edit 1: I didn't realize that I may have gotten two metaphysical. I'm adding more context.
I chose the title because this is the most appropriate starting point for any level of activism. I begin with some metaphors followed by parts of my own personal narrative and then I finish with rudimentary applications for activism.
Imagine that there is a door with five locks that need five separate keys. You know that you need to go through the door. You find that you may have one key and you know where it fits. Soon after, you will realize that you have found two more keys for certain and they can open two more locks. However, there are two more keys left and you are starting to get frustrated. The lights go out and you can't find your way around. After stumbling around, you manage to find a key and then the lights come back. You find that this key opens one of the two last locks. However, you just can't seem to find the last damn key. Where is it? You look everywhere for it and you are going nuts. When all hope is lost, you take a breath and calm down. Soon you have found the key. It was always in your hand, but your mind refused to see it. The door can be opened.
Why is this relevant to anything? Find out why after the fold.
The five locks are reason, empathy, patience, communication, and faith (in one's self). I will discuss the five in this order.
Reason is the ability think and comprehend problems. It is essential for mathematical skills and linguistic performance. It is why we study science, philosophy, history, etc. This is why we go to schools and universities and a great society must fund education properly.
Empathy is the emotional counterpart to reason. It is the platonic love between families, coworkers, students, friends, etc. Empathy can help us function in hard times. A great society would value empathy wisely.
Patience is the discipline to act accordingly. Patience is not simply waiting forever for something to happen. Patience tells us when to act and it can help us deal with difficult personalities. A great society has no lack of citizens who practice patience appropriately.
Communication is not only what you say, but how you say it. It is a true art for the poets in all of us who wish to inspire. A great society is one where communication is open and free; furthermore, good ideas should be able to overcome bad ones.
Faith is having the willpower to do what is necessary and possessing the confidence to make it happen within the natural laws. In a great societies, the leaders not only have faith in themselves, but they will build it in others. Sometimes leaders need to be inspired by the faithful.
There is no numerical ordering for the locks. It's just that some people will have some keys, but not others. It all depends on the individual. At this point, you may be wondering about the door.
Behind the door, you will find an idealized version of yourself. Many people lack the keys in their hands and some others are afraid to open the door, understandably. The true reward is becoming who you will need to be at a particular time. Sometimes failures can help us find our own keys and rightfully so.
A Personal Narrative
Sometimes keys need to be turned simultaneously to open two locks or in a particular order. Each person's locks work differently. In my case, reason came with my higher education and I have always had tremendous patience. I have miss many opportunities, however. I never truly loved myself until recently, which is a true shame. I won't go further about that here, at least for now. Currently, I am getting into communication with OFA and Daily Kos. However, my greatest treasure is getting involved with Toastmaster's International, which I would highly recommend for anyone getting into public speaking. Finally, I am at a point in my life where I am finding faith in myself and you all are helping me out. When I open my door, I would be more than happy to pass you a flashlight for the irksome darkness.
Edit 2: I need to elaborate more here.
With regards to patience, I personally found that playing tabletop board games to help me wait for other people's turns while I devised strategies. Axis & Allies is a game that I once frequented but the games ran too long like one that lasted over 15 hours.
With regards to communication, I learned to socialize more through Dungeons & Dragons after my undergraduate studies. This helped me open up and confront my shyness. More recently, Toastmasters has been an excellent help for me because it is an organization helps people deal with fears of public speaking. Despite making oral presentations in college, it's still not easy. I look forward to mastering my verbal skills in large groups.
With regards to faith, I take this in a secular context. This way, it applies to the religious and the non-religious alike. The way I see it, some people need religion to find themselves and that's OK so as long as they don't force it on others. I would also like to add that we should not mock people for their religious and/or spiritual believes because we may need them in our activist pursuits.
The point that I am trying to make is that we all have fears and sometimes we have to confront them in order to succeed.
A Political Context
We should be thinking about not only how to make a better society, but we should also look deeply into ourselves in the long haul. We cannot let our weaknesses overcome our strengths. This is the time to turn our worst weaknesses into our greatest strengths. This is the time to find each other and work offline and online. We need to become the many small heroes in the great story as much as we need to become the great heroes in our small lives. It's not enough to be strong individuals. We must also be good neighbors, too.
Edit 3: I don't think that I need to stress how important political activism is now. The economy's been busted, we are still at war, and the Republicans are nuttier that ever. Just read this article by Robert Reich. While the Republicans are eating each other alive, we have to build ourselves up as progressives because we have an opportunity to turn this country around politically. I don't think that I am alone in believing that the Reagan Revolution is coming to a close. As the Republicans are struggling to find an identity, this is our time to organize politically.
In fact, many have posted diaries here about how the political culture in America is shifting. We are on the verge of a political and socioeconomic revolution that will hopefully stay non-violent. It will take the great minds of the left to build arguments for necessary reforms if we want to get out of this mess. There is a reason why I began this series with individualism: the revolution begins with you. We will all have to ask ourselves what will be our roles and what we will do for change.