What are the protesters doing? Do they have any results in mind?
We live in a results based society. Everything we do seems to demand that we have a start, a middle and an end result. Then based on our desire to quantify everything, we then have to define whether the result, was positive or negative. Our lives are governed by measuring what we achieved and not on how we went about achieving it.
This sentiment now pervades the democracy protests in Hong Kong. Everyone either wants to see a result, or offer their version of what the result should be. Or if no tangible results can be achieved, suggest that it’s time to pack-up, go home and make a plan where, of course, we can achieve some results. For if it doesn’t achieve a stated result, why bother?
However, there is a good reason why bother and that’s to Be.
A state of being in the moment is much more fruitful and rewarding than any mind continually striving for the results of tomorrow. Many World philosophies teach us this but we find it easy to forget. Even in business, the new buzz word is mindfulness. Courses on mindfulness are all the rage now, yet still, we find ourselves slipping into the old habits of wanting to grasp results to measure our progress.
Right now, the Democracy Protests are in a state of Being, and that’s why many struggle to understand why they are still going on. People see the protestors and ask, where are you going with this? What are your stated aims? And if no clear answers come they conclude the protests have lost direction and purpose. In thinking like this, we close ourselves off to all the amazingly creative things that are happening in the moment everyday at the protest zones.
Last night（註） I spent time with the guys making the Peace Tank on the extreme front lines of the protest zone in Admiralty. The tank, which is mostly made up of plastic bottles serves no purpose. It’s not going to win anyone democracy, but the sense of being part of something is immeasurable. They are living in a brief moment they know wont last and it’s very enriching.
Likewise, in Mongkok, this is now the frontline of democracy, every minute of everyday a new fight/discussion breaks out on the pros and cons of democracy for HK. Whereas Admiralty is the mothership, Mongkok is now the advanced fighters in the democracy battle for HK. It lives from minute to minute. At any moment of the day or night it could end. But while it exists it is thoroughly grounded in the moment. Nowhere in HK lives more in the moment than the Mongkok Protest site. They are fighting for every second of their existence, and this really encapsulates the current state of all the protest sites, they are in a state of being, expanding people’s minds, nourishing creativity, political savviness and preparing people for future democracy battles, wherever they should be.
On top of this, the good news is that the protestors, don’t really need to have a rock solid concrete plan to achieve their aims anytime soon. They have time, it’s the government that doesn’t have time. Likewise, almost on every occasion, when the government makes a move, it invariably shoots itself in the foot and empowers the prodemocracy Movement more. So, the students can throw out ideas, like visiting APEC and watch for the reaction from the Government officials and then act or shelve the idea based on their reactions. Likewise, it can plan destabilising actions like we may see this weekend, keeping the Government and police off balance, while protecting the protest zones to live just another day.
Just Being is enough for the protest sites at the moment. A time will come when they will need to move forward again, but until that time comes, they can revel in the enriching atmosphere of the now. The protest sites are both a good place to be and a good place to Be.