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southern

article courtesy of General from Whaleoil.

To all those who follow and enjoy my work, thank you so much for partaking in this adventure with me over the last 4 years. You’ve probably already noticed I’ve pulled back to an extent from social media – Twitter, Youtube and Facebook. I’ve been slowly moving towards a life less “lived” in the virtual world and more present outside of it.

 I have long wanted to pursue this less public life, but I have also felt a sense of duty to stay and make a difference. It’s not that I don’t deeply enjoy the creative and political aspects of my work: it is that I would prefer to find that fulfillment in a more private capacity. I’ve finally decided to fully make that commitment.

Rest assured, it is not that I regret my past experiences. These have been the most formative and phenomenal years of my life. I’ve made profound friendships with some of the most talented and brave people in politics and philosophy. You know who you are, your duty and decency in a world that has consumed many with pride and dishonesty has always inspired me. You will always have my respect and support.

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I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to see the world, and many of its extraordinary sights. Riots in the streets of Paris animated by fireworks and explosives outside small French cafes. Bonfires the size of 10 story buildings across Northern Ireland. Unimaginable love and loss in the farmlands of South Africa. Desperation and conflict across the borders of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. I’ve seen horrific deeds of selfishness and evil but also incredible acts of human decency and kindness.

 

I admit that I’ve stumbled on my words. I agree that I’ve lacked tact in my approach to politics at times. I’m certainly not perfect, but I’ve always done my best to be honest and improve. I like who I am now and I like that I’ve allowed myself to grow and learn through all of this. At the same time, I will not apologize for things that are not true, no matter how often the media has attempted to affix labels and events to me as false scarlet letters. I cannot recant opinions I did not hold. I cannot breathe truth into lies. I know myself, and it is a great shame that so many who were charged with telling the truth about me never permitted themselves the same knowledge.

But enough of the media, they have received far more attention than they deserve with their false portrayal of myself and many others I know.

Here is what I do know: I know that with the help of my followers and friends we have created some of the most groundbreaking reports in alternative media today and inspired monumental discussions and change together. No one can take that away from us.

So why not go on? Well, I can’t speak for everyone in this sphere, but I personally joined politics because I wanted people to have more meaningful and happy lives. I saw disruption and disinformation in society that would lead to chaos and confusion and wanted to stand against it, to question it and offer a different side of the story.

In living this sort of life there is always a trade-off though. While I was thrilled to travel, report, and debate, in what many would regard as the adventure of a lifetime – career and adventure are only one aspect of a meaningful existence. If our connection to other human beings becomes primarily through a screen or in short passings through cities, and our interactions largely cold calculated and political – one misses out on some of the most beautiful aspects of being human.

Many in the world of politics find themselves constantly busy, constantly overloaded with information, constantly distracted by the sound and fury of a political environment eager to signal virtue, but signify nothing. (vita activa)

 

At times the endless, soul-sapping noise of an insatiable digital mob leaves no room for quiet, for reflection, for love, for understanding, for discussion, for just being.

Sadly social media and politics can at times become an addiction if overindulged. Unlike other addiction this one is particularly dangerous because there is truly a good excuse to engage in it. It is far too easy to rationalize over and over again why whatever “cause” one is pursuing is more important than any other aspect of one’s life. At that point you’ve lost balance and in the end lose perspective. This discombobulation in the glare of the public eye is pervasive in our modern era, and affects everyone, of all political leanings, and with all interests.

So it is no surprise to me that my minor pull away from social media this last year has given me a clearer mind and a fresher perspective. My personal life, friendships, relationships and self-growth have all thrived as a result.

I recognize that I do still have contributions to make: I have the on-ground experience with many of the issues I’ve tackled. I’d very much like to pair that with an academic lens. Too often, the analysis of complex issues is treated either as a matter purely of personal experience, or purely of disinterested reason.

Without experience we can easily theorize and judge the actions of others without knowing how we would react ourselves or what we would see in that experience when truly lived.

Without knowledge it can be difficult to interpret and articulate scenarios as well as make educated decisions regarding them. A healthy balance of both is often lacking from those thrown into the fray of real world contentions and those situated in ivory towers.

While I still have much of the world to see and experience, my strength has always been on-the-ground first hand work: experiencing events and then telling others what it was like. But I recognize that I need to grow my ability to critically analyze these situations at a deeper and more comprehensive level before I can begin to offer solutions, rather than only spotlight problems.

To that end, I intend on returning to school and pursuing my academics again. In so doing, I doubt that this will be the last of me. Who knows? Maybe you’ll read my name on papers, in journals, or as a byline in articles. The story of my political career may have more chapters one day, but they will not be in the same televised firebrand capacity you’ve seen before.

To those who continue on in the public eye this way, it’s a tough road to take and you have my respect and admiration. I’ll be helping where I can and when I can like the many people who have helped me without public recognition. There are many different roles to be played in the fight for a better, more truthful world.

However, I truly believe the idea that “you can have it all” is a fanciful dream we tell ourselves. In some cases if you want something you must make sacrifice, and I’m more than happy to sacrifice my small little piece of “fame” or “notoriety” to continue to grow myself as a person and evolve in my political contributions. To focus on my family and future family, to focus on my studies and my soul. Rudyard Kipling once wrote:

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

‘Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,

if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Whatever the Canadian legal authorities might still mistakenly think, I’m not a man. And I don’t particularly want the Earth and everything that’s in it. But I do believe that my experiences have brought me closer to the ideal Kipling espoused, and made me a stronger, and better human.

Thank you once again to all those who have supported me and made my work possible. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together – and you should be too.

God bless,

Lauren Southern

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