Posted on October 14, 2006
Filed Under Uncategorized |
Creating the New World, Part II
What a wonderful thread we all contributed to! As long as there is hope, I believe that we can make the world a better place. Because I had a very busy week, I didn’t have a chance to read the comments as they came. But last night I sat down and read every single one, and took nine pages of notes.
Now, onto step 2! Step 2 is the sorting phase.
We have so many great ideas, but we have only limited resources. Which of the ideas should we, on a personal and collective level, devote our energy to? One thing that my friend DmfK in Taiwan pointed out to me (this is truly a global community) is that there are two primary types of ideas that have been expressed: First there are ideas that can be undertaken at a personal level - things we can do immediately ourselves. Second, there are suggestions on a societal/political level that involve the cooperation of many people, and are thus more complex and will take more time to implement.
1. The Personal Level
Personal level ideas are those that YOU have immediate control over, right now. We don’t have control over other people’s actions, but we do have control over our own. You don’t have to “change the world” to live a life of personal integrity and responsibility. I think our Vietnamese friend Dave summed things up very nicely in his post. To summarize, we should do our best to live simply and sustainably, build community and take responsibility for all of our actions. I think the best way to educate others is by using your own life as an example, and Dave has done an excellent job at this. As a result of Dave’s post, I will begin composting my organic waste. Thanks, Dave! This is a small change, but big changes the result of lots of small ones.
Really big (voluntary) changes will come only when there is a groundswell of popular support. The groundswell for popular support will only come when enough people understand, at a fundamental level, why such changes are necessary. When enough people understand, we reach a tipping point and change occurs naturally and easily.
Makia #32 said it so beautifully, there is little more that I can add.
The problem with today’s situation is that if you want to place blame for mass exploitation, using the principles of personal responsibility, then some blame lies in the hands of the systems such as the FED, World Bank, WTO, FTC, D’s and R’s, global corporations, etc. But how much blame lies on the ignorant masses?
I’ve noticed quite painfully that these anonymous “masses” are actually my parents, my brothers and sisters, just about every friend and co-worker I’ve ever had and cared about. Somehow, I managed to seek and find “truth.” The ugly truth. But I’ve noticed quite painfully that no matter how I try and bring up “inconvenient truths” - that we need to live responsibly, to eat well (at least try), not rely on pharmaceuticals to make us healthy, not live outside our means, not take our families for granted, that there is a fundamental dysfunction with choosing between “the lesser of two evils” - these people have basically said, “I know, but…”
To quote my high school running coach, “All we can ask is that you do your best.”
Think carefully and deeply about all of your actions, and encourage others to do the same. We unfortunately live in a culture of discouragement. So many times we are told, “that is a stupid idea” “that will never work” “that is not the way to change the world” “it doesn’t matter if you drive your car or not, because everyone else will. Your impact is meaningless.” How terribly damaging this is, I cannot even begin to tell you.
Instead, help to foster a culture of encouragement. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Use phrases like “Yes!” “Great idea” “Let’s give it a try and see what happens…” That’s what this thread is all about. Practice the culture of encouragement and you will see immediate changes in your life. In keeping with this spirit of encouragement, Makia continues:
I walk with love and peace in my heart, for I’ve learned (in sometimes ego crushing lessons) that blaming others, whether they are near or far removed influences, has only caused me pain and has clouded my ability to use my own powers in my day-to-day life. How many opportunities did I completely miss because my mind was greatly occupied with blame or anger?
Simple acts at the personal level are the foundation for real change. If we are not personally responsible, how can we hold our larger institutions responsible?
2. Societal/Political/Institutional Level
Rich #79 talked about silver bullets. Yes, I believe in silver bullets, too. By my definition, a silver bullet is a simple, fundamental change that leads naturally to cascading cross-positive domino effects in other parts of society. In other words, a silver bullet is something that causes a small change that leads to big results. It is using intelligent leverage to attack the root of a problem, and change everything downstream in one fell swoop.
I believe that we should devote some of our energy to identifying such “silver bullets” and pulling the trigger for change. In this way we can cause the maximum amount of change with the least amount of effort. As I said elsewhere, a vote for gridlock is only a temporary solution - just a band aid that will buy us time. A change from R’s to D’s is not fundamental; it is not a silver bullet.
Inspired by the previous thread, my list of “silver bullets” includes:
1. Abolishing the Fed and establishing sound money
2. Term limits on law makers - no more career politicians
3. Reducing taxes and abolishing the IRS
I see the lack of these at the root of so many of America’s problems. Change these items and I believe that we would be living in a completely different world. The main problem with all of these is that the government is no longer “us”, it has become “them.” “They” and their cronies benefit from the corrupt power that comes with having held office for years and years and years.
While we’re at it, I would add a fourth:
4. Abolish the concept of corporate “personhood”
Why is it that corporations enjoy all of the rights of people, but have none of the responsibilities? This puts the rest of us at an extreme disadvantage.
While these are fundamental changes, they really quite radical and will not be easy to implement, at least not initially. At this point, the cards are truly stacked against such changes. It is unlikely that we will be able to vote for any candidates that endorse such policies any time soon. (There is only one lawmaker that I am aware of who advocates abolishing the Fed, the (truly) honorable Dr. Ron Paul. But in my book, one is better than none.) This is the importance of Part I - of living a life of integrity, and sharing your views and values with those in your community - friends, family, and coworkers.
Changing the world is a never ending process, not a single event. The struggle will be long. As such, it is better to treat it as a marathon, not a sprint. This is a long journey, and a fun and meaningful one, to boot! Be happy along the way. We’ve got a good group here, and together we can do it!
Part II - Sorting
In this phase, using the previous post as a guide, I’d like you to list what you believe to be the three or four most important actions that you take at the personal level to make a better world. Then list the three or four most important “big” society changes that you would like to see.
What I want to emphasize is that we are all inspirations to each other. If we hear what other people are doing, we will be inspired to know not only that it can be done, but that we can do it, too!
As some have suggested, I am working on a new website to further these aims. Hopefully it will be done by the next post, and the new site will serve as a reference resource for everyone interested in changing the world. I am a trader, but this is my small contribution to making the world a better place.
To recap - what are the top 3-4 personal actions you can take, and the top 3-4 societal changes you would like to see implemented? It may seem like repetition, but please take the time to think about “silver bullets” - small actions that have the largest impact.
Thank you again for participating, and for all the great ideas. Life is full of fun, and if it is not, it should be!