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How to "be the change you want to see in the world"

mtran's picture

In class on Tuesday, we talked about long-term awareness and short-term decision, with the case of having to use cars when we are being late, knowing that they pollute the environment. Yet many of our decisions depend largely on their specific situations and giving up good intentions is sometimes unavoidable. Carson was true to say "man can hardly even recognize the devils of his own creation." But even when we do recognize them, we have all become too dependent and used to the convenience of modernity to change. Charlene also confirmed it with a claim "the assumption of modernity, the faith in technological "progress" and rapacious industrialism, along with the miltarism necessary to support it, have left us very lost indeed."

However, does it mean that we can never change our habits? I suppose we all are taught that changes evolve from the smallest and simplest action every individual person can take. And gradually, it works all the way up to become a new habit. The essential factors are determination and patience. The greatest hindrance are excuses for procrastination. Personally, I think a good way to start a new habit is to consider it a must or a normal instead of an alternative. If you are late now, use your car this time just as an exception. Instead of using alternatives (such as bike/public transportation) only when you can, tell yourself to use cars when you have to, only as a last resort. What about you? What do think makes changes possible?



wanhong's picture

Essential Factors

I agree with what you said--"The essential factors are determination and patience", and I want to add that another essential factor is belief. Sometimes people just don't believe that every little thing they did could change the world. Having faith and believe that we are doing the right thing will give us motivation to keep on paying attention to daily details and overcome the "laziness" in "human nature".:) 

Barbara's picture

And sometimes substantial motivation

Faith and belief are somewhat abstract and weird enough, I related these two words to "dignity" on the top of my head when I read your comment. It's actually hard to form a certain belief or faith. For people who are not caring enough about the earth/environment/surroundings, they are unlikely to have spiritual motivation to urge them to make positive changes to the earth. Still, we need their contribution. The more people involved in the changes, the more effective our methods become. Substantial motivation (like candies for kids) sometimes work better for trivial contributions...

Sarah Cunningham's picture

habits are hard to change!

I like your ideas, Minh, and I want to be positive in my own personal choices. What I have been thinking about is how we, I and my friends and the people who think in the same way, are part of some thing much bigger: our whole society, our whole culture, which has a huge inertia in its habits. Another word for habit is addiction! We are addicted to all kinds of machines, because they all work together and more and more our human habitat is geared to and dependent on machines. Everyone needs air conditioning, everyone needs a snow-blower, everyone needs a clothes dryer. We even need machines for our exercise! What is this "need"? I fwe want to participate in society, we are instantly dependent on a million machines. I want to believe we as individuals can change, but I feel somehow it's important to recogise that we are also not individuals, we are just part of a larger beast: humanity, society, which has a will and an unconcscious direction of its own, and which needs to wake up, and maybe is waking up-- but so slowly! so difficultly! We are part of the universe unfolding and what kind of learning, what kind of consciousness is possible now? I guess I have to say I think that we may not be able to learn fast enough to save our species, but that we still need to learn whatever we can learn right now, including being honest about what we can and can't control. We have to realize that we are part of a whole: part of the whole human race with all its bad habits, as well as part of the whole complex of life on earth, and part of the universe expanding. We have to give up our illusion of being in control.

I guess I try and practice being ready to notice when there is an opportunity or an opening for REAL change: whatever that is. I recognise it by feel, or by certain signs. I don't try and talk about it too much, because words are only a little bit useful. But maybe I need to try and use words more, better. Maybe that is why I am going back to college.