Whether it’s writers like Orwell and Nietzsche or mystical movies like Star Wars and Kung-Fu Panda, they have all touched on the oft-repeated idea, now also acknowledged in pop culture; that we become the the object of our hate and the force, person or character that we set out to fight.
We are warned by these writers, movies, and many other thought-provoking works to not become that which we despise, or the monsters that we fight. Some go as far as to caution that such an outcome is almost inevitable.
My few years of experience have shown this to be an inescapable reality; that many people end up adopting characteristics, principles and methods that they so vehemently rejected and attacked at an earlier stage of their life. In many cases we fail to see these same traits or qualities within ourselves (on occasion even while we claim to hate them; though some thinkers claim that we hate them because they exist within us).
Is the solution than not to go forth or oppose? That can not be an absolute answer, for that would entail that evil and vice should be free to exist unchallenged. The answer seems to be partly in what a wise sage advised students of the seminary when he said,
‘Every step forward which you take in the acquisition of knowledge should be matched by a step taken to beat down the desires of the soul, to strengthen one’s spiritual powers, to acquire nobility of character, and to gain spirituality and piety…God forbid that before a person develops himself, that people should pay heed to him, that he should become a personality and have influence among the people, causing him to lose his soul. Before you lose hold of the reins of your self, develop and reform yourself!’
When we take up a cause, it must firstly be based on an educated decision, with awareness of the necessary considerations. Secondly, throughout our engagement with this cause, we must make a point of regularly checking ourselves and evaluating our thoughts, intentions and motivations. We can not abandon our self-development and focus solely on what exists externally to us. When we become heedless of our own selves, we leave room for all those previously despised traits and realities to find a home and place for growth within us. We become manifestations of those evils and vices.
Before looking at ourselves and removing the relevant vices from within, we need not to make large movements to remove them or similar aliments from others.
This happens to people on the path of knowledge and to activists alike.
Before fighting others, fight yourself first.
This is of course not a complete answer to the predicament (addressing necessary social issues while still being secretly plagued ourselves), but can be a starting point for discussion.