Liberation Begins With a Decentered Self | Sojourners

Liberation Begins With a Decentered Self

Moving past capitalist aspirations to a collective imagination for flourishing.
The illustration shows a diverse group of people standing in a row.
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WHEN I WAS 17, I attended a New York City business school with aspirations of becoming a rich accountant. I had it all planned out: I envisioned a corner office on Wall Street, towering high over the city with views of the Brooklyn Bridge. Each morning I was going to power-walk amid the Wall Street crowd. I never really knew what business people did for a living. My knowledge of Wall Street was limited to what I gleaned from movies and a story my father told me about my cousin the insurance broker, who “made good” for a while, but it didn’t work out for him, so he moved to Florida.

About three semesters in, I uncovered that I wasn’t wired for accounting, nor did I have the social networks that could reinforce such an endeavor. No one told me that accounting would be mostly about accounting for money that didn’t belong to me.

I had inherited a dream with little substance. I was infatuated with a vision that was like an elaborate Hollywood set. While my dream process was somewhat typical of teenage development, it nevertheless demonstrates how imaginations can be shaped by the far-reaching stories we receive. And our identities can become shaped by our service to capitalist aspirations.

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The cover depicts an illustration of Palestinian peace activist Ali Abu Awwad with the colors of the Palestinian and Israeli flags in the background, and Hebrew and Arabic words for nonviolence and peaceful resistance respectively.
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