Advice about how to change the world from someone whom should least likely offer their opinions on the matter, ironic isn’t it. My view of the world for the longest time was very cynical, it was hard for me to see the light in what seemed so encompassed in darkness.
The society we live in is rather toxic no doubt, and that doesn’t just pertain to the American culture in which I grew up; the world in general is seemingly so full of negativity. Around every corner it seems like there are so many people so willing to spit venom without thinking twice, widespread corruption throughout corporations and governments worldwide, mass genocide and war, unacceptance and racism of all forms; so much poison for our minds to feed in to. It’s like a bad reality TV show except we can’t turn off the tube. We are stuck and present in it, and it can be like quicksand for your own mental health if you allow it to. And I did feed into it for years, until I finally gave up on my desire to change the world.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the fabled idea of a utopia; But the fact is it is exactly that, a fable, just an illusory vision of something realistically unobtainable. A perfect world can never exist, but a better world isn’t out of reach.
Growing up through the years I’ve heard so many people say, “Live and let live”. Of course I always agreed with the sentiment, but never really put much thought into it until recently. I remember some years ago when I was in a very dark place, with so much cynicism in my mind, my dad gave me a small piece of advice. He told me that it took him many years to realize that he couldn’t change the world either, instead he devoted himself to making the world around him a better place; The things he could actually affect, the tangible things around him whether through interactions or his own mental health. He didn’t really elaborate very much on the topic other than that simple statement; I could see value in his words but I was still too stuck in my own mind and vices to truly listen to what he was saying.
At this point in my life, I’m just grasping at the ropes trying to put myself back together. And I keep coming back to these thoughts. My view of the world played a pretty big role in my depression issues and ultimately my drug abuse and the path I chose to live for so many years. As I’ve said in other posts, for a drug addict, really looking at yourself in the mirror is a tremendous task. It caused a lot of pain, and I avoided it at all costs. I wanted to change my life but couldn’t quite get around to the whole “turn on, tune in, drop out” vibe of the counterculture movement in the US.
As hard as it is, I’m trying to apply this perspective to my life. To view the world as something that can only be changed by changing the way you interact with it. I’ve seen a lot of good and a whole lot of bad in this grungy world, but I try to look at things from an outside perspective when it comes to my personal interactions with people; Whether in my professional interactions with co-workers, friends, passerby’s, or the homeless man on the street, sonder is an ever present thought in my mind. The ability to empathize with others rather than place blame or judgement is a hard thing to do but is one of our most powerful tools as concious beings. It really has to be excercised in order to implement into daily life. I still struggle greatly with it, but I’m trying to be kinder to the the world around me and to myself as well. I’m trying to understand others as much as I understand myself, which isn’t very much but I’m learning.
The goal is to rid myself of vices and replace them with virtues. I have a very long way to go but I firmly believe that our character drives our destiny and I want to at least be a small part of the flicker that helps to illuminate our world.