“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
It’s unavoidable. It is your destiny…
Emperor Palpatine’s words to Luke Skywalker resonate with everyone who heard them because from the time we are young children, we are told we can change the world. It is something everyone grows up considering to be part of their personal manifesto.
Television adds to this mental framework showing us how it’s possible to acquire instant fame (just add water and social media), motivational gurus tell us we need to put it out into the universe and the universe will change to accommodate our desires (Pay for my secret methods, he says, it will help you get rich, he says.) Usually the only person getting rich is the guru. We are lead to believe changing the world is a simply want it to be different.
I suspect the problem with changing the world starts with this simple quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar:
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)
Shakespeare hoped to convince his viewers that it’s not fate that determines our future. It’s our personal volition to take charge of our lives. This is where we come in to contact with an inherent instability in the system. Everyone wants to change the world to suit their perspective of it. Politicians believe they can lie the world into a shape they can control. Warlords believe they can kill their way to the top. Media stars dream of entertaining their way into power. Each believes their talent, their genius is just what the world needs.
If we’re so smart, why are things so screwed up?
Humanity is blessed and cursed with the idea that it is the most clever creature to have ever lived on Earth. We believe we have created technologies and systems so advanced that in a few years, they may begin thinking for themselves.
Unfortunately, while we postulate on the ideas of singularity and transcendence, quantum computers and the beginnings of the Universe, we wage war all over the planet.
We allow people who could be fed, to starve; we dump pollution everywhere in a consumer-driven orgy to create products out of flora and fauna alike. We turn living things into dead things for money and profit.
Makes you question how smart we think we are, doesn’t it?
While the ability to turn natural things into something that can be sold may be laudable and financially lucrative, it has cost us something, a thing so vital and yet so ephemeral, we don’t even recognize that we have lost it.
We have lost our connection to each other.
More importantly, we have lost our connection to ourselves.
Our cooperative drive to make the lives of other people better has been subsumed by our urge to read about Celebrity X or follow Basement Cat and Ceiling Cat memes.
We have turned the trivial into the important and the important has been hidden so the wealthy can acquire more wealth they can never spend, put greater distance between each other in their private enclaves on the hill.
This is an untenable future.
One where we watch the world burn, onscreen, in real-time, in the comfort of our homes, while forests are clear-cut, while children are enslaved, while coral reefs starve and great elephants are cut down for their tusks to make art and penile-enhancement poultices.
It’s not too late to make a difference.
By choosing to be connected to live people, to be invested in their lives and have their lives affect mine. By defying what has been said to be the natural order of things. By resisting the urge to hide, to cower in fears created by others, telling me how to live. I have helped people without profit being the primary goal.
I have changed the world, incrementally, one mind at a time. As a teacher and mentor, my goal is to change people touching one heart at a time. Sharing that transformation with others who see things need to change.
Most importantly, I am making the changes in me, I want to see in the world. I am aware of the constant need for personal change. You cannot make the world better if you choose to support the ideas that are corrupting it in the first place.
I have changed the world by teaching. By learning. My students are aware of the insidious nature of corporate powers who seek to demean them, imprison their minds, their hearts and their creativity in a never-ending cycle of consumption.
My students question authority. Even mine. They ask questions. They challenge all pretenses of authority, requiring it to validate itself through reason, through discourse, through interaction.
The modern world does its level best to prevent our youth from knowing anything; in the United States we price education beyond the reach of most. Those forces now realize if they can keep you clicking your smartphone in a self-celebratory masturbation, they can steal the future from beneath your feet.
The world cannot be changed by any single individual. That way lies madness. The only single individual you can change is you. Being the best you, that you can be will lend itself toward changing the world by proximity.
Change the World by Changing You
Release yourself from the mental prison so crafty created for you. Stop following worthless celebrities who produce nothing; your obsession with them absorbs your most precious of resources. The one thing you have a fixed and finite amount of and can never recover no matter how rich you become…
Use your time, wisely. Read works that transform how you think. Experience life, share what you have with others, get out and see the world. Make your relationship to the world one you are excited about.
See the world as something worth having, worth saving. You can only save something you value.
Connect to people, not just on the internet, but in person. See them. Feel them. Know them. Become one with their dreams; value their hopes and ambitions the same way you value YOURS.
You see, in this lies the saving of the world.
If we spent less time finding differences, creating emotional disconnects, promoting fear and loathing, separation for exploitation sake, demonization of our unique natures, we would learn a truth those in power don’t ever want us to know:
We are more alike than different. That our collective fates lie in the hands of each other, more than anyone who believes they have power over us.
In truth, we are not trying to save the world. If science is to be believed, the world has existed for four billion years. It has had six extinction events where nearly all life on Earth was extinguished. Put in a different way, 90% of all Life that has ever walked the Earth has died.
And yet it is still here, teeming with billions of lifeforms engaging in a delicate dance of living and dying in harmony.
It is likely, that even if we make the Earth an inhospitable ball of burning of burning toxic waste, killing all of humanity, the world will find an equilibrium and return to being as fecund as it always has.
We are not trying to save the world.
We are trying to save ourselves – from extinction.
Be protean, be open to changing yourself. Be willing to adapt how you see people you don’t know. Eat a meal you do not know, with a person you didn’t know yesterday. Such ripples are what the future is made of.
So often the complaint goes something like this: “Changing myself won’t make a difference and I sure as hell don’t have any faith in man to change on its on in my lifetime or the next. Evil exist and controls this world. People are sheep, lead by the elite programmed, manipulated, divided, structured in such a way to serve them. You are Borg, you are assimilated, resistance is futile. Just my humble opinion.”
No one asked you to change your mind, you are free to stay exactly the same as you are. But Einstein had a point: “You cannot change the world with the mind that created it.” The future comes from thinking differently, creatively. “Imagination is greater than Intelligence.”
People are often sheep, but not all of them: Fighting back takes will, independence, strength of spirit and character. Things most people don’t realize they even possess until something forces it out of them.
Evil IS prevalent but not OMNIPRESENT: The fact you can make your statement and not find a neo-Gestapo police force breaking down your door for making it means it is still a world where choices can be had.
People ARE divided but still find time for what they think is important: Judging from the quiet protests in the streets, some people are UNITING for a better world.
We are not Borg. If we were, we would all be doing the same thing, in the same ways, with no need for things like social media to share our perspectives. We would already be one large Hive Mind working toward a common goal of absorbing other intelligences. NO. We are not Borg, yet.
Resistance is never futile. I can never be assimilated because I will not allow it. Assimilation is about choice. You can choose to stand there and say, it is impossible to change the world.
You cannot hope to change the world until you are first master of your individual self. World changing comes when you are aware of your individual power to make change. Then change happens around you because you are centered and aware of the ability you have to make a difference.
Don’t change the world. Change yourself and make all the difference.
To quote Ashleigh Brilliant: “If you can’t change your mind, how do you know you still have one?”