Tag Archives: change

I do not wish to change the world

I do not wish to change the world;
its own design is near enough
some muddled state of constant flux
that nothing I could add or try
would make much difference in the end.

I do not wish to shape or mold
young minds to fit my own intent;
Ye gods! Imagine them grown up
and emulating my life’s work!
Why duplicate such a mistake

I do not wish to change your mind,
or gain your trust or force your hand;
my own revolt at such nonsense
turns my own stomach into knots;
I can imagine your dismay.

I do not wish to change the world.
I cannot even change my mind,
or stay a course for long enough
to make a ripple in a pond;
one moment here, and the next, gone.

11 SEP 2009

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How to Save the World

One of the blogs I read pretty regularly is Dave Pollard’s How to Save the World. Occasionally, something he writes strikes a particularly resonant chord with me — like his February 4th gem A Miniature Truth: Becoming Authentically Yourself.

I’ll admit, some of these things I’ve thought and compiled myself over the years. But to see these 9 ideas strung together, in fact, dependent on each other in such a way that in order to accept one as truth, you really have to accept them all, for better or worse, in order to truly understand the implications of each, is a step I’d never taken until reading Dave’s post. In summary, these truths are:

1. We do what we must, then we do what’s easy, then we do what’s fun.

2. Things are the way they are for a reason; if you have any hope to change something, first understand what the reason is.

3. Life’s meaning, and an understanding of what needs to be done, emerges, most often, from conversation in community with people you love.

4. Community is born of necessity.

5. To get people to change, first Let Yourself Change, to become a model that shows people personally, one-to-one, a better way to live.

6. You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

7. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

8. To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world that is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

9. Our civilization is in its final century.

For more detail, please refer to Dave’s blog 🙂

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A Week in LA

After almost twenty years
to spend a week out in LA
and to watch through hotel windows
where the rich and famous play

(or at least some folks pretending
to be worth the time of day,
either rock stars in the making
or young vultures seeking prey)

without caring much about it,
but just wondering, through my stay,
if I could have done things different
and still been alive today;

’cause the toll of fame is heavy,
when you live out in LA;
and despite the years, it’s still more
how you look, not what you say.

It’s almost a foreign country to me,
lit up for display
where you feel excited to arrive
but glad to go away.

20 NOV 2006

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Thoughts on the Power of Authority

Today, an online friend sent me the following message, I assume intended to inspire:

“THE POWER OF AUTHORITY: When we speak, we must speak with authority; when we walk, we must walk with authority; when we showcase our talents, we must showcase with authority; when we lead, we must lead with authority; in every aspect of our being, we must exercise authority. Our authority must be inspiring, respectful, and earned. We must contemplate profound ideas and share the profundity with others. We must exercise self-control and -respect. We must take charge of our present and future situations. We have a world to impact.”

For a number of reasons, this seemed to rub me the wrong way. Here’s how I responded to the message:

I respectfully must disagree. Responsibility comes before authority. We must do all these things with responsibility to prove that we are capable of shouldering the authority. One of those responsibilities is to defer to those with greater authority so that they can fulfill their responsibilities.

To be in authority without first having taken responsibility is to be a dictator.

But authority means more than simply to be “in control”. It also infers that we are “in the know” — that we are an authority means that we have devoted significant study to a thing and know it, understand it.

To claim to be an authority without first having studied the subject, is to be pompous (and ultimately a fool).

Even after years of study (and having been considered somewhat of an authority on the subject by myself as well as others), I would exercise more than self-control and self-respect, particularly when deciding which ideas were profound and whether or not any resulting “profundity” needed sharing. First, I think I would exercise self-examination, self-doubt and not a little caution. At the very least, all that I am sure of is that I am an authority on myself. Not on speaking, walking, showcasing, leading. Certainly not on being inspiring. I know about respectful. But who is to judge what measure is used to describe “earning” or “earned”?

There is only a need to take charge if the problem at hand requires the expertise, experience and skill that you possess. For example, if my present situation required the fixing of a faucet, I would call a plumber. But if that plumber needed a poem written, or music at their wedding, I might assume leadership. That’s the beauty of power-with, or egalitarian social structure. Like a circle, there is no head. The point on the line where direction is focused is based on the needs of the circle, not any individual — and the individuals who are most qualified and capable to address the issue at hand are those behind which I, who may be the “leader” at other times”, willingly follow.

We have a world to impact? Who are we to think it is OURS to change?

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Ayn Rand

So you would change the world
and make the roughest edges plain,
extend your level down the field,
widen and pave each lane,

erase what makes a difference
between one soul and the next,
reward in equal measure
with the coin of self-respect,

enforce equality across the board,
no matter what,
regardless of the steps it took
to get each to that spot.

Forget that it’s adversity
that defines who we are,
our flaws as individuals,
the perfect surface marred

that makes a talent marvelous,
a special gift unique,
a voice worth recognizing
in the mob from which it speaks.

The world is not an easy place;
it is not meant to be.
A price is paid for every breath,
for every liberty,

for each kind of convenience,
for the smallest bit of joy,
for every gift you choose to squander
or by luck, employ.

To change the world,
to make it so that each has equal share
when some work harder
than the rest seems blatantly unfair;

that’s like imagining auditions
to find out who’s best
that don’t require participation
or some kind of test.

I wonder how you pick
a winning singer on a show
where everybody thinks they’re great
because someone said so;

despite the fact they have no rhythm,
sense of key or pitch,
and will not listen to advice
but instead only bitch

that those who judge are blind,
or worse, malevolently cruel,
and cannot see that every lump of coal
contains a jewel.

Which isn’t so. Only a few,
that persevere in time,
and overcome the pressure make it
to the finish line.

Would you lay out your hard earned cash
for coal and gem the same?
That’s not the change that this world needs.
It’s already half lame.

19 SEP 2006

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Outside the Box

The next idea, the one that rocks,
will be born “outside of the box”,
beyond the thinker’s comfort zone,
where daring, they have gone alone
into the dark and scary mists
to reap the untold benefits.

But once they get there, settle in,
I’m sure the process starts again:
the stale taste speech leaves in the mouth,
the sense that the world’s going south,
that notions rise and notions sink
and for true vision, one must think
outside the box that’s larger now;
it seems an endless quest, somehow,
to always walk that extra mile
into the dark, where you now smile
because it’s land you could map blind
by now, at what point do you find
a new idea when your zone
of comfort includes all you’ve known,
and every inch of common ground
has been exhausted and walked ’round?
What good is having visions then,
when everywhere is where you’ve been?

08 SEP 2006

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Time the Devourer

Tradition, will your ancient prison walls,
behind which all are born and most will die,
hold firm against time’s fervent battle cry
that need not force its soldiers in your halls

but deep down in your dungeons simply waits
while you parade its likeness on a throne,
pretending what was muscle is not bone
piled high against your cemetary gates?

For how long can this mad charade go on
before your weak nostalgia does not sate
nor satisfy the hunger of your state?
The flexing of its jaws is no mere yawn,

but warm up for the table. It will dine,
devouring ours and theirs, both mine and thine.

05 SEP 2006

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