Will you ever change the world? What do you reckon?
Say you were in a position to fix some of the injustice, to punish some of the hypocrites, to arrange for some essential flaw in the realm of humanity to be buffed out into a fine finish. Would you do it? What would you be willing to sacrifice to get there? Is it a thing that keeps you up at night? A thing that fills you with a burning ambition?
Ernest Hemingway said that, “the world is a fine place, and worth fighting for,” but I often don’t feel that way.
I often find myself filled more with selfishness than a desire to change the world.
Take capitalism for example. Arguably, it is a deeply unfair system that punishes those who aren’t born with a certain luck of the draw, creates a huge gap between those who have more than they need and those who have less than they need.
But I can’t change it, even if I had a degree in economics and had some better system to propose, I would be impotent to alter a system so entrenched. I can complain, protest, write long manifests on the evils of corporate greed, and finally, grow bitter and discouraged. In the end I feel that anything I do to try and make the world a better place will end only in my frustration.
I can feel you out there, across the web of electronic pings and signals, shaking your head in disapproval. Perhaps you’ve already clicked away to find something more upbeat to read.
But I actually come here bearing a positive message. For once you realize that you cannot change the world, there is a sort of personal freedom and independence that is sure to follow. Call it selfish if you will. The world is a selfish place, full of injustice, which likely won’t change without the surging disapproval of millions given a precise set of conditions. Even then a revolution might still fail. It has always been my philosophy that one can often overcome the horror of the world by working on the self rather than trying to fix the greater mechanisms of the world at large.
Is that selfish? Perhaps. But in our short lives I’d choose happiness over frustration, personal growth over the head-against-a-brick wall grind of trying to bring order to chaos.
Do not seek then, to neatly order humanity or form it into a more pleasant shape, but rather strive to climb to the top of the wriggling pile of the human species. If you want to make a change, change yourself. Be the change you seek.
The world is going to look after itself— so should you.