Everybody wants to change the world, it is part of what makes us humans. But what world do we want to change?
The “world” can mean the larger world around us or the small world of our families or just us or our circle of friends - world here is our external world: the world of our senses.
Change comes in many sizes, small changes be it in the family or personal, large national revolution or global natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. Change isn’t one size fits all.
Smaller changes have more chances of success. Large revolutions tend to end in reinforced status quo - the larger the change, the more interest there is to maintain the status quo and resist change.
Real change takes small steps over a long time. Just as nature chips away at a mountain over eons, so change works best as a drop of water eroding a mountain. Real change is made when it stays under the radar of interest groups and opponents.
This wasn’t always been the case, large revolutionary change were possible in times where worker unions still had a clout. Where entrenched political power wasn’t interwoven with the economical interests of large corporations.
Combined with the individualised ‘Me, myself and I’ social media society makes it difficult to bring groups of people together under a common ideal. We are left with individuals fighting against windmills.
Ironically though this provides an opportunity for societal change through the individual. If enough individuals were to make positive changes just for themselves, then the result is a societal change.
Using social media to promote my small changes might lead to enough individuals making small changes to have a massive societal change - without anyone noticing.
We are the raindrops, our polluting, wasteful and destructive culture is the mountain.
We all know that sharing is caring and making other people happy makes yourself happy. This might seem a little selfish especially if you expect happiness to be waiting for you around the next corner.
Happiness doesn’t have a timetable. It will come back to you but happiness likes to spring surprises on recipients. It loves being spontaneous and unpredictable. Anticipation is the enemy of patience, avoid it.
If you have a problem with anticipation try packaging happiness into little presents and leaving them for others to find. Making strangers happy can leave anticipation reeling in the realm of non-existence.
Often though we don’t know what makes others happy. Strangely it’s as simple as looking in the mirror: what makes you happy? We are all very similar when it comes to happiness.
Wasting time in queues - no one likes standing queues. So if someone helps by letting you go in front of them, that would make you happy. So the next time you’re at the supermarket doing your weekly shopping, let the person behind you with one to two items go in front of you.
Getting something for free - freebies make life cheap! We all love presents and we all love surprises - so getting something for free, completely randomly combines all good feelings. So try this next time you go to a cafe: leave enough tip for the next person to get a free coffee. (This is actually a thing in some places in Italy.) The next person will be pleasantly surprised and you know you did something good for someone.
Origami is a habit that teaches both patience and dedication. But it can also be used for sharing happiness. If you’re dedicated origamist, then you’re usually making small models all the time. Leave these small models lying in cafes, restaurants or wherever for other people to find. Many a child can be made happy by a paper dog.
Alternative to origami are cutters - printers that cut instead of write on paper. Using these, you could create hearts that can then spread happiness in the public space.
Digital detox with human interaction. Helping people to find their way is instant gratification. Instead of people orientating themselves with a popular maps application, a local can just ask the path-seekers where they want to go and then perhaps even walk a little with them.
We all know the situation either from the person doing the favour or as the person accepting the favour - what to do in response?
As someone who receives a favour, you want to revenge yourself by doing the other person some good. However what if the other person did not do it for the response but for the act of helping?
So in a philosophical sense, the person accepting the favour is now in an uncomfortable position of not being able to respond-in-kind since that would offend the giver but the accepter has a inbuilt moral compass that says they must respond-in-kind. What to do?
One way of getting out of this is for the giver to tell the accepter to do something that they, i.e., giver, found enjoyable or always wanted to do but didn’t find the time.
The idea being that the accepter then experiences something that they would normally not have experienced. As a favour to the giver, they are brought to experience something new for themselves. Of course, this should be something beneficial and not negative for the accepter - be kind to a heart that is true.
So if you do favours for your friends and family and don’t want anything in return, then remember that the person accepting the favour might have a moral compass that makes them feel uncomfortable if they don’t reciprocate in kind. So give them a way out by suggesting something they could do for themselves as a favour for you.
Consider making your friends, to your family. Not in the marital sense but in the emotional sense.
Call your friends something like a brother-from-another-mother or cousin-brother or simply sister. Surprisingly this is actually practiced in quite a few cultures, not necessarily western culture.
In doing this, we gain a closer connection to our friends - there is a difference between arguing with family and arguing with friends. You care more for you family but your friends are traditionally not that close to you.
Which can also be carried over to animals, these are our fellow passengers on spaceship earth and we should also respect them.
If you happen to believe in reincarnation, then you might not have realised but animals also have souls. Now imagine if your ancestors were reincarnated as that steak on your plate?
Consider also the lives of the animals that we consume. Their lives are extremely focussed on one thing: becoming food for us. They have no freedoms and are basically considered nothing more that a resources that can be exploited.
In a world that has a climate issue, it is also important to remember that the resources required to breed, raise and kill animals are very straining for the planet. These resources could be used more efficiently than fatting up a cow, getting a chicken to lay an egg or feeding a pig (pigs don’t swivel in the swill in the industrial production of pork).
Of course I also enjoy meat and I’m definitely not telling anyone do not eat meat, just less meat. Perhaps eventually we also will become vegan - change has to start somewhere.
If there is a alternative to meat, then perhaps just try it. If you go to a restaurant or cook at home, be conscience of alternatives to meat and don’t reject them out of hand.
Consideration of all things great and good makes the world a more pleasant place, including consideration of plants.
We all do it and we all have done it: purchase flowers for someone we love.
We then proceed to put those flowers into a vase with water. We then begin to observe the death struggle of those very same flowers. Once their beauty has dispersed, we end the flowers misery by throwing them away.
Next time purchase a flower in a pot.
Nurture and love that flower as you do the person for whom you purchased the flower.
Don’t Give A Flower is a small step in the big scheme of things.
There are many more small things that we all can do - e.g., turn off the lights. Leading by example is perhaps the best thing to be doing in this case.
Clear examples that anyone can apply to their lives are ideal.