Thursday, 14 June 2018

Don't "be" the change you want to see in the world - create it!

I have never been keen on the advice to "be the change you want to see in the world".

If you want to change only yourself, then it's probably sage advice. If you want to effect a much wider change in the world, because you have identified something about the world and other people with which you are dissatisfied, then others telling you to be that change sounds like a put up and shut up. Why should I be the only one to (for example) make sure I don't drop litter, thereby being the change I want to see, while others can go on chucking rubbish everywhere with impunity?

A more causative course of action would go along the following lines:

(1) Find a way to change it.

If that doesn't create a large enough change, then:

(2) Recruit others who have the resources and influence to change it.

If those with resources and influence fail to bite and don't get with the program, then:

(3) Keep fishing for support through any available communication channels in order to achieve (1) and/or (2).

Option (3) is usually the course of action that gets protested the loudest when the thing one is trying to change is about remediation for the Inappropriately Excluded. One can quickly identify the type of language used to scoff, sneer and dismiss such efforts: "entitled", "bragging", etc. And then the efforts to throw responsibility back onto the individual: "it's what you do with your smarts that count" (note the use of the word "you" - it's never "us").

Now that recent studies have suggested that human beings might not be getting any smarter and IQs may have even gone into decline, the world needs genuine cognitive talent more than ever. Should we really be told to "be the change we want to see", or should YOU be flowing resources and communication platforms our way so that everyone can benefit?

Until I see real evidence of change and offers of assistance I will be shouting point (3) from the rooftops.

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