5 Reasons Why Changing Yourself Won’t Change the World

1. You. The World. Different. Taking up meditation does not fundamentally change this dynamic, except in your head. If you buy ‘ethical’ stuff, that doesn’t make everyone else do it. If you buy less of something like oil, that drives the price down so that other people can buy more of it – the world just goes on acting independently of you and your choices.

2. Around you grinds a vast machinery of government and business. They’re quite happy doing their thing, and if you do your thing, they’re pretty happy with that too. If you don’t face the challenge of disrupting that machinery, it carries on. Your alternative lifestyle might make you feel better about yourself but so what? Those people in charge don’t seem to care, and they’re not stupid – there must be a reason they don’t care.

3.  There’s nothing wrong with changing yourself. You could probably do with some improvement. But it’s a lifelong project. You’ll never be perfect. So if your plan is to move on to changing the world after changing yourself, how long do you want us to wait? *taps fingers*

4. We often think that if everyone changed themselves, then that would change the world. Firstly, that isn’t true, because the institutions screwing us over will still be there, and nicer people won’t make them nice. Secondly, you’re assuming everyone will want to change in the same way as you. Pretty arrogant, no? Maybe they will change – and turn themselves into Tom Cruise. Tough shit.

5. You don’t matter very much. Look, I know that’s unpalatable, but the truth is, in the grand scheme of things, you’re a little speck of dust in the corner of a Boeing 747 hangar. I am too. It’s fine. Don’t get all indignant about it. Just find other specks to work together with – we’re not much alone, but together we can create our own power to oppose the abusive powers that currently shape our world.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck…was given a government woodchucking grant?

I don’t know the answer but I’m pretty sure part of the condition of the grant would be an outcomes-orientated monitoring process that would provide quantative data on woodchucking measurables as the evidence base for key performance indicators.

So the information you require would almost certainly be hidden away somewhere in the back of the annual woodchucking report – it’s just a matter of knowing where to look and what degree of ‘bullshit factor’ to add in to the mix when assessing the figures. You know the woodchuck fudged the numbers.

You may also need to question the assumption that a woodchuck does nothing but chuck wood, and ask would the woodchuck chuck other stuff too if it were given the chance?

Also to consider: what distortions does the government woodchucking grant bring to the woodchuck’s woodchuck lobbying campaign as a result of becoming dependent on woodchucking grants?

What to say when people say…you should vote for the least worst option

Facts: Human societies, many of which had democratic elements to them, have survived for millenia and since before recorded history. Some of them weren’t even in Europe. Strangely they mostly did this without voting for a bunch of selfish twats who they knew were lying to them but who they were intent on giving more or less unlimited powers to for a few years anyway – just on the offchance they weren’t lying or the damage wouldn’t be too bad.

Thoughts: ‘Elected dictatorship’, as we might call what currently passes for democracy in many countries, doesn’t actually give you control of your own life (If you don’t believe you should have control of your own life, please seek self-esteem training). So committing yourself to the institutions we have at the moment, as you do when you repeat the above phrase, is committing yourself to handing over the power to shaft you. Rather than saying ‘Don’t complain about being shafted if you don’t vote’ you could say ‘Don’t complain when you’re shafted if you lacked the imagination to think of something more democratic than this’.

Opinions: What to say? How about: No you shouldn’t. Every vote helps give the appearance of legitimacy to their power. And anyway, a crisis in our ‘democracies’ brought about by low voter turnout would probably be a much better result than choosing Shithead A or Shithead B.

Note: This is a series of posts called ‘What to say when people say…’ Obviously they do not provide the definitive answers to most questions (except the ones marked with an asterisk, like so*). They simply provide ideas, helpfully broken down into Facts about Things People Say, Thoughts about Things People Say, and Opinions about Things People Say.