I hate (HATE!) the way the economy drives our every decision, how living creatures are treated as commodities, how big businesses run roughshod over everyone and everything in the name of growing their profits. I SEETHE and FUME at smug, self-satisfied politicians who are more interested in their own pocket books than the welfare of those they’re supposed to be representing. I CAN’T STAND the way my [insert expletive here] neighbour thinks it’s ok to chuck his cigarette butts over the fence. Out of sight, out of mind…
There’s probably more, but you get the picture. The thing is, beside my glowing visions of positive change, I still have to come face to face with unthinking idiots who don’t even notice how their actions affect others. Let’s face it, if they did, would they even care?
My solution? Same as most people I suspect – to find a willing audience and have a good old moan.
While complaining about everything that’s wrong with the world isn’t the most effective solution to the problems we face, it’s far more satisfying than silently seething in your own private hell. It gets it out of our systems and warrants us some kind of moral high ground over the forces of evil that impinge on our lives.
But actually, maybe it just makes us feel better because we feel there is nothing more useful we can do.
Part of the problem is, well, the problems themselves. They’re so big and incomprehensible, so challenging and complex that we simply cannot imagine there is any way of making the world work better than it does.
So we satisfy ourselves with a good old grumble about the latest scandal, inserting “disgraceful”, “disgusting” or “outrageous” as we see fit. We indulge in a good bout of righteous indignation; then we get on with our lives. Not hugely productive, but (go on, admit it) kinda fun.
But this only goes so far
As people began to realise how much power they have when they work together, the grumbling has taken on monumental proportions. 50,000; 500,000; a million people club together for an online petition that goes directly to the source of the problem and forces complaints to be heard. This is good; it’s progress. We know it’s working because governments and corporations are looking for ways to stop the criticism that’s making them look bad.
Complaining is a start, but it seems the more we push from one direction, the more trouble squeezes out of cracks around the back.
So while I know that this epic level of grumbling is a necessary stage in our evolution (without these vociferous complainers, we’d never even know what dirty deeds are being done in our name, and they’re certainly keeping the bad guys on the hop), I just don’t think it finishes there.
The biggest problem with this approach is that we’re simply clubbing together to beg countries and corporations to do the right thing. In other words, we still haven’t learnt to believe in our own power.
Not all of us, anyway.
Every now and then, I get a little glimpse of something wonderful. Just occasionally (let there be more!) I get a whiff of someone who has made it their business to find another way.
Just yesterday, instead of just anotheronline petition, I received an invitation to support a grass-roots initiative that fights back at monster corporation Monsanto by taking them out of the loop. Simple, and super-effective.
And that’s not the only one. Rather than moaning about what’s wrong with the world, we’re seeing an upsurge of initiatives that simply bypass the problems themselves. Rather than resorting to the unwholesome power games and dirty tricks that keep others on top, certain companies, organisations and some hugely inspiring individuals just look at the problem and find a way that works for them.
Prices too high in the supermarkets? Get into some guerrilla gardening and make veg free for all. Hate studio control over your favourite bands? Opt for crowd funding. Someone says it can’t be done? Find out for yourself. Moaning just doesn’t cut it any more.
The biggest drawback of the complaining is that it highlights our helplessness. Just shouting at a problem tells us, and the world, that although we don’t like what the big guys (leaving the annoying neighbour out of the equation for now) are up to, only they can do anything about it. This is simply no longer true.
Where we’ve been going wrong up to now is that we’ve been trying to beat them at their own game. This doesn’t work. They’re too good at it, and they have a hell of a head start.
The new way of thinking is to find a nifty sidestep that brings us neatly (and unexpectedly) to the outcome you need. If you can’t beat them at their own game, just create one of your own.
So, a reminder: YOU HAVE POWER. That power lies in your creativity, your genius and your ability to remember who you are. It starts with your happiness.
Right then; let’s have some fun!