Be the Change You Want to See

in #societylast month


The above image was made with stable diffusion using the prompt 'painting of thinking.'

'Be the change you want to see in the world' has long been axiomatic. The quote is often incorrectly attributed to Gandhi. Its message is hard to argue with, yet it's unclear how this message applies to systemic problems. And for the millions of people suffering because of these problems, telling them to be the change they want to see seems a little off base.

Many of society's problems are clearly intractable. They're products of patterns of thinking and behavior that have been programmed into us since we were children. This programming runs deep and it's mostly unconscious. It underpins all of the the cultural and institutional momentum propelling us towards a future that very few people actually want.

Further complicating matters, multi-generational cycles of trauma and tribal enmity lock countless people into perpetual conflicts with themselves and each other. Identity politics. Hate crimes. War. These things and many others arise from bad habits that cannot be easily broken.

On an individual level, of course, anyone with the right resources can change course and replace their bad habits with good ones. Unfortunately, the personal, social, and financial resources necessary to support such positive change are inaccessible by design in our society. Many people don't even have the space in their lives to try something new. They're too busy losing at capitalism to do more than tread water.

The control regime tells us to make a difference by voting, giving to charity, and making more informed consumer product choices. And obviously there's value in these things. But they all externalize the work of making the world a better place. Voting gives power away to politicians and their parties. Charitable donations give the power to nonprofits. Consumer choices surrender power to the corporate world.

From my perspective, the control regime's theft of our individual power in recent decades is the most pressing problem we face. Until this one is solved, we simply won't be able to muster sufficient power to solve any of society's other major problems. How to actually claw back what's been taken from us is an open question. I personally favor clawing back our power aggressively.

In an interpersonal sense, being the change we want to see in the world is a winning strategy. As individuals and on a tribal level, kindness begets kindness while violence begets violence. Yet on the level of institutions, markets, or networks, the equations governing an entity's actions are structured differently, according to the rules of the system in which the entity operates. Being kind to a government entity rarely produces reciprocal kindness. Being kind to the stock market doesn't even make sense.

The change I most want to see is the empowerment of individuals to remake the world together, ideally into a place that's both more free and more fair. Although the control regime opposes this manner of change, many people favor it. What would it take to start organizing this group?

Read my novels:

See my NFTs:

  • Small Gods of Time Travel is a 41 piece Tezos NFT collection on Objkt that goes with my book by the same name.
  • History and the Machine is a 20 piece Tezos NFT collection on Objkt based on my series of oil paintings of interesting people from history.
  • Artifacts of Mind Control is a 15 piece Tezos NFT collection on Objkt based on declassified CIA documents from the MKULTRA program.

Such powerful and thoughtful words!

From my perspective, the control regime's theft of our individual power in recent decades is the most pressing problem we face.

This reminds me of Harriet Tubman's words: "I could've freed a thousand more slaves if they knew they were slaves." How do people even begin to realize the extent of how much power has been taken from them in their daily lives and the larger society/system they participate in?

From sharing economy systems to designing truly inclusive spaces, we need to create more experiences that remind us of the Commons and what it actually feels like. So many of us have forgotten what it feels like to be in community, or to even maintain civility in the process.

I feel like a lot of people don't even know it's okay to be in community with others. And yet, this is a thing that comes naturally to nearly everyone. Maybe community just needs the right kinds of environments to take root.

I'm reminded of bat boxes. These mailbox-like containers can house breeding groups of wild bats, but only if the boxes are built and set up in very particular ways. In what kinds of containers does community thrive?

This is why I tell people that whatever change we want to see begins from us. We cannot expect to see a change and we will be acting otherwise
It is not fair. In this world, so many people clamour for change but they don't work towards it

For sure. And changing big systems involves different things than individual change does.

In as much as been the change you want to see might be difficult at times in some scenarios, you can actually set the template a bit of it and let the change Kickstart from it

Sometimes the fastest way to change things is little by little.