Four months ago, I was expecting my time in India to be filled with yoga and meditation, wisdom from one of the oldest religions, and spiritual epiphanies. I was very mistaken, probably because of this myth (http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2012/02/08/the-magic-of-india-for-white-people/), and am not even too disappointed by it.
This past week, however, I came to realize a deep connection between the social and the spiritual. In working for social justice, we are working towards a society in which inclusion is a basic principle and all people have inherent worth (dignity). This is true for any issue of social justice, but has become especially apparent to me in the past two weeks. Lately, we’ve been discussing disability justice—a topic for which our “justice as fairness” theorist, John Rawls, gives no guidance. And the more we talk, the more I find that I am able to imagine a world in which people of all abilities are included in society. It is a world in which rights are not brushed off as “special needs” or “accommodations” to be met when the budget allows, and one in which my dignity is not dependent upon my (false) lack of dependence on others. As an advocate for social justice, in short, I am called to see the world from the standpoint of inclusivity. Indeed, we are a global community of rights-holders, dependent upon one another for survival, and must work together to ensure that each person’s rights are met.
The principles of inclusivity and interdependence do not have to be confined to the lofty realms of global justice, however—they can inform the way I live my daily life. I am reminded that the compassion that drives my work for justice is the same compassion that needs to inform everything I do. So as I look outward, imagining a more inclusive world, I am called to simultaneously look inward, becoming wholly inclusive of others.