Sunday, January 30, 2011

Define Change While Thinking About the World as a Whole

Article first published as Define Change While Thinking About the World as a Whole on Technorati.

With people in Middle Eastern countries revolting against their dictators and trying to end decades of oppression; you can only wonder, what does change mean for those willing to risk their lives to obtain it?

There could be lots of answers to this question. A short definition for the word change could be as simple as making something different from what it is.
On the other hand, someone may argue that change could even mean life. Since without the state transitions, or changes, between energy and matter that any organism requires to sustain itself, there would be no life. And a universe reaching a state of equilibrium and maximum entropy would leave no possibility for any change becoming a postcard of a giant dead-frozen bubble.

To a country and to those people who had suffered dictatorships, change would probably just mean to become a democracy. To them this meaning would be self-evident, as it usually is for those who need it the most.

Through out history a need sometimes added to the growing realization of the possibility of a change for the better, sparkled revolutions. In other countries, living under other realities, where we may enjoy democracy and better conditions of living, we sometimes fail to see how much others may need a change. Even for example when we know there are those who suffer poverty or other problems. Gandhi once said that poverty is the worst kind of violence. The need to change the conditions under which his people lived, to stop that intrinsic violence, must have been self-evident to him and his followers.

Yet poverty, growing inequality, are not the only things that we fail to see as a problem of humanity as a whole. And that under a different light may become self-evident.

Sometimes it seems, when people enforce their power to vote in any democracy, that all the options that they may end up choosing from are either some government that leans to the right or some other that leans to the left. But if history, and never ending cycles of booms and busts, had anything to teach us, is that it doesn't matter much which way you chose, in the end you will probably suffer the same problems again.

Is that what we really want?. Couldn't it be possible to find better alternatives?.

If we stop to think about this for a minute, taking a closer look you could see that any of those options are still based on, and they all have in common, the same underlying monetary system. A system that was initially devised as a way of easing trade, but that soon enough replace common sense with a need of its own, making profits. Since the accumulation of money inevitably translates in a direct accumulation of power, the only real motivation and goal of such a system becomes also a necessity required to stay in the game, the necessity of obtaining money.

While this became the main goal of those using the system, any other goal, as for example the well being of the whole, would be usually trumped over by the ambitions of the individuals or the more immediate needs to keep the ball rolling.

If you don't believe this to be true just consider a very clear and simple example. We all know the world will eventually run out of oil. That's why it is called a finite resource. And still, the efforts made to this day to move away from it are insignificant.

Why? Well, there is no profit on switching to a more expensive alternative. Oil is cheap if you compare it with other forms of gathering proportional amounts of energy. So, although it would be in the best interest of all human kind to try to remove our dependence on oil, we are not doing it. Period.

Why would we use nuclear power and put reactors on a seismic island called Japan if we could agree that we, humans, don't want to take that risk and that other more "expensive" alternatives could be better for all?. There is no sensible answer, but the realization of an inherent problem in our organization.

It is at the point where you start to realize that there could be a problem related to how our whole world is organized, that is rooted so deep that no government would even touch it, that you may start to see a self-evident needed change. If you see it now, let me welcome you to the land of those who chose to open their eyes.

Many great people in history dreamed of and saw, at least in their minds, a different world. A world with less inequality, less poverty, less violence, less oppression, and more common sense. From those many, the ones who dared to consider it possible, who didn't disregard their dreams as utopian, became part of a change that end up changing the world.

Instead of standing in front of their dreams like just any another obstacle, they made them real.

Have you ever wonder if there could be better alternatives to the way we are organized today as a society?

If the answer is yes then you should be open to think about alternatives. The good news is that alternatives have already emerged from human imagination (we still don't have the singularity Skynet nor Hal 9000 and Wolphran Alpha can't even play jeopardy as Ibm's Watson; so don't expect a machine to give us a better idea soon).

One of those alternative ideas is a society based only on resources, where the focus is set on making the world a better place for everyone in an intelligent way, hopefully without killing us all in the process.

An overcoming idea if you consider it next to the current mainstream ones. Mainstream ones like the classic: "Let's just exploit the hell out of the planet until all hell breaks loose! We'll let our children deal with the rest on the future!". But probably hardly implementable, from the point of view of requiring the whole world to agree on a plan. Did these geniuses ever had neighbors???.. :)
Sure enough, eventually depleted global resources could make the need for a change absolutely evident, but reaching such a point unprepared would probably spell catastrophe for humanity as a whole.

It would also not be fair to overlook some other weaknesses of that idea, like the almost despotic conclusions and seamless manipulation of how some of those are reached based on "science", and the apparently intentional disregard of the individual will to disagree with how they are reached.

Yet, even taking in mind those observations, it's an idea worth considering. And if you think you would like to hear more about it, you could watch a movie like the one below. Who knows.. you might even like it and end up thinking a little change could be a good thing.


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