It is not enough to say: “I’m awesome!” as many seem to do, with no particular reason. There is no basis in warranting for a high opinion of myself simply for existing, wherever or however that may be. I can, of course, ride on the coat-tails of those who came before me and claim their victories for my own. That would be dishonest and stupid, so I discourage you from doing that.
The same goes for thinking: “I suck.” How can you know how or who you are if you don’t analyze yourself and have no basis for comparison, I wonder? That’s why I take the time, once in a while to take stock of where I am in my life, to see what I’ve accomplished, to think of what I’d love to do, and what I want to learn next, how I’ll do it, and what it will bring me in the grand scheme of things. Generally, I’m satisfied. I neither think I’m the best, or the worst. If I did something right, I’ll pat myself on the back. If I could do something better, I figure out what I need to do to accomplish it.
I do, however, feel a constant need to improve myself. It is my evolution. There are many requirements for this. True evolution takes many thousands of years, but I use “evolution” instead of “change”, since the decisions I make to become a better person don’t just ‘change’ me, they force me to evolve, and I do feel better for having done so.
The basis for these thoughts is that I, as an individual, have a duty to be the best person I can for my surroundings, as well as for myself. I couldn’t be a good person if I didn’t raise you to be that as well. You couldn’t be a good person if I raised you as a hypocrite. That is why, to me, being kind, honest and peaceful are the best policies to pursue if I want to be a positive force in mine, yours, and societal life in general.
As well, putting the emphasis on logic and truth make it so that there are always means for you and I to discover something new, and to not be ashamed of being wrong. These simple facts are often overlooked as being too difficult, since it is easier to do the opposite of all of these, and cherry-pick information that confirms our biases. Ego takes a lot of room in the equation, and it is most often that which people feed to pursue their own happiness. The trouble with that line of thought is that, like buying things to achieve joy, the result of the pursuits are just as empty. Feeding the ego is like trying to fill a bottomless pit. It cannot be done. Only personal achievement in the field you have chosen, as well as the road you have decided to take to reach that goal will instill in you true satisfaction. You won’t know constant satisfaction. It is something you achieve. For that you have to be unsatisfied with an element of your life to pursue it. It does, however, carry the added bonus of lasting a lifetime, in whatever area you have nailed it, to uplift the welfare of others. So question yourself and your truths regularly.
Yeah, I’m going right back into my talk about society. It’s hard to avoid, since the individual is a product of society, and vice-versa. I think I may have mentioned earlier that everything is interrelated? This is partially what I was talking about. You can’t have one without the other, and you can’t understand things about yourself if you don’t get what society is about.
Paradoxes are an integral part of what humanity is, as well. I’m sure I’ll be naming a few examples later. Everything has changed for human society over the years, which means everything has changed for the individuals living in these societies. For one thing, poverty levels have shot down tremendously in the past two-hundred years (in the West, at least). The main reason is because of education, a fairer distribution of wealth and incredible advances in medical technology.
The power structures, however, have remained more or less the same. The wealthy class (at the moment) pockets the political class in return for favors. They, in turn, are in charge of a mostly malleable and unknowing workforce underneath them, which sustains them all. This, to my knowledge, is one of the main problems facing the world today. A distracted populace lead by a power-hungry political elite controlled by those fed by greed, whether bankers or moneyed men. The perpetual recreation of this system is also something that concerns me, since it is my personal belief that by altering these, some of our oldest shackles, we could perhaps head into more prosperous times as a whole species.
The more we know, as a whole, the better our choices are when we choose a leader. It is by making good choices that we head in more positive directions. If we consider the betterment of all peoples as a positive development, and the restriction of destruction and division as negative, we can better make decisions towards the improvement of personal, local, provincial, national and world situation. Even though the end-goal is large, it always begins with one person, and that person is you. Fortunately, you are not alone. There are many others just like you who are looking to better themselves, and will join forces with you to achieve these goals. You should not be afraid of the road ahead, it is well traveled, and you will be amongst friends.
Here’s your alternative: you do nothing, question nothing, live your life, and let things slide into the oblivion we could potentially head into. It’s not much of a choice, but it’s the choice we’ve all got. I hate to drop all that on you in one fell swoop, but that is the basis of economic systems and human interactions we have in the majority of the world. That doesn’t mean it will always be like that, only that that is what has prevailed so far.
There was a time when a regime called Communism thrived, elsewhere, but that was the extreme opposite of the economic system we have now. They wanted absolute control over production, and the distribution of wealth evenly to all. That failed miserably. On the other hand, you have the Capitalist System, which says that only the best and brightest deserve money. It also commands that no restrictions be placed on the Free Market economy, and that is quickly becoming obsolete as well.
On paper, both look very appealing indeed. The difficulty lies in the extremes. A system that is completely altruistic cannot work because it eliminates competition and stifles innovation (there’s also the fact that human greed and will to power comes into play). Conversely, a system that demands no restraints and profit only for those that can control it ends in chaos for any and all who do not manipulate it. No system can work well without some kind of balance between the needs of the many and the greed of the few. You will see the dichotomies of all World Systems, in and of themselves, and amongst each other when you are older. For now, just keep in mind that extremes in one shape or form create general misery for the majority.
My end-goal is not a diatribe of one strata of society against another. Or even to pit people against one another. Quite the opposite, in fact. I may express disappointment, as most people do, but that is not my point either. I demonstrate as frankly as I can the way that I see we are living, to encourage the positive, find solutions to the negative, and sort out everything in between. I do this through self-analysis.
I want to speak about the way we, as a species, might be able to surmount hurdles which were placed in our way, and are an intrinsic part of who we are. We, of course, cannot do it without you. A species is as much a single person as it is 7.5 billion humans and increasing daily. We each have problems to solve through our lives, to lead better ones. We learn how to surmount our challenges, with the limited equipment we are given, and hope for the best.
Our societies must face bitter challenges to grow and prosper as well, and not only continue along the boom and bust cycles they have been following since the human race was still young. I posit that we face challenges as a species that if we fail to overcome, we will not survive, any of us.
Since it is the goal of every organism to pass on its genes to the next generation, it would be a great tragedy for the human race not to do so, for we would be remiss in our genetic programming. No big loss for the Universe, of course, but sad for all of us who think we are heading somewhere.
My idea, therefore, to set ‘Humanity’ as the highest ideal, would be to supersede all other ideals we live for now, whether it be money, in most cases, or deities, or food, or revenge, or sex, or any of the other smaller pursuits that we go about chasing in our daily lives. Even though they are natural, not placing anything above ourselves takes the focus off our survival and places us in front of a mirror. We can preen and take selfies, and be all about ourselves, but if a sizable portion of the population remains unconcerned about the welfare of the whole planet, we are doomed to failure. I do not say this to invoke fear, but it is a very real possibility. I’m also not saying that that should be our sole purpose. I’m just invoking the fact that it should play some role in our daily lives.
This is why it is important to analyze and question yourself about your course, your goals, your knowledge, and your desires as well. It is important for us all to do it, because otherwise we leave the power in other people’s hands. People who want to tell us who we are, and what we should feel, and what systems we should obey. Self-analysis leads to questioning, and questioning leads to more knowledge, which creates freedom from the shackles of conventional thought.