SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 257: “Would You Change The World Or Yourself?”

The table turns on me this afternoon when I find myself the interviewee. An occurrence that catches me completely off guard in exposing me to a glimpse of the emotions that must be felt by those I approach.

And the greatest of these emotions are two: Empathy and curiosity. Empathy because I know how hard it is to approach a stranger, and curiosity for obvious reasons.

But in this unexpected sidewalk solicitation, there is a humanistic calm. A feeling that is void of consumerism, distanced from that of a political poll taker, and reserved in its energy.

It’s basically this, “Hi… We’re working on a student project and would like to know if you would be willing to answer one question?”

How can I decline? “Sure I’ll answer your question if you answer mine.”

What can I say… I guess I have no self-control in overcoming my negotiating mind. But I assume you will approve of my being the diplomat in this situation.

Plus, I’m smitten by the enthusiasm and courage of my new street acquaintances: Roving interviewers Shane and Nicole.

They’re question is to the point and thought-provoking, “Would you change the world or yourself?”

I won’t bandstand in reporting to you my response; that would be too self-absorbed. Let’s just jump to what Shane and Nicole have to say.

Question One:
“If you could give the people of the world any advice, council, or pass on any wisdom, what would you say?”

Know what you have.

In life… In the world.

I wouldn’t really change anything. I think the only thing that really needs to change is people’s perspective.

So be aware of what you have, and how blessed you are. That’s what I would say.”

“Ask yourself, do you need everything that you have? Maybe you’ll come up with the answer yes, and maybe even, that you have way more than you need.”

Shane and Nicole’s launching remarks lead to a shared hope for a united society as well as general conversation of the laws of attraction. And mid discussion, Nicole, spontaneously drops a killer title.

“It’s like the collective mind,” she says.

The collective mind…? Although the title sounds like the premise to a brain controlling sci-fi epic, its connotation in our chat is much more sublime.

What I think Nicole is telling us is that we need to think with each other. Not for, or against one another. Just in consideration of others. She proposes a united outlook; an outlook, that although hidden within each of us, can manifest itself as an unseen magnetism. We call it intuition, gut instinct, emotional reaction, possibly community or as applicable to our exchange, attraction.

Question Two:
“Looking ahead five, ten, fifteen, twenty, even one-hundred years or beyond, where do you see the planet, or the people being? Or how, or what, do you advise us to do regarding the future?”

I just have, like, an emotional reaction, because the future scares me.

Overpopulation and just everybody taking more away from the earth than it can really provide us.

I’d like to be optimistic about it. But it just doesn’t look very good in my opinion.

I think the earth is going to strike back. We just don’t know when or how.

We should all try to be self-sustaining, individually living near your work, where you have to be… walk everywhere.

Take as little as you can. Literally, that would not only be unselfish, but selfishly thinking for everyone in the future.

Take care of yourself. Don’t be so self-centered that you have to take from everyone else around you.

That how I feel about it.”

“My reaction is kind of different, I feel pretty optimistic about it.

There is definitely going to be a period of anarchy, especially within the United States. I think that it will affect the entire world.

But eventually… I feel like globalization will continue, and with the advancing of technology, the lines between races and different groups of people will begin to erase.

I think that with travel and everything, that eventually there are not going to be different ethnicities. I think that we all are going to mix together, and that is really going to bring the world together as cultures.

I see that as really positive, but I don’t think it is really going to go there very easily.

I do see a lot of corruption in the government. We’re definitely going to see some anarchy in the world.”

Nicole mentions her perspective of the world getting smaller – A point that has been brought up often. A fact that is strongly influenced by the advances in technology and the worldwide web.

I have to ask, “What do you think of the internet?”

Nicole speaks out, “I can’t stand it! I like to see people and talk to them. I don’t want somebody telling me that they are going to Facebook me. I feel like Facebook is an excuse for people to not actually communicate. I feel like our interpersonal skills are really suffering. We are all becoming introverted and have difficulty connecting.

The Internet in general creates anonymity, so people just can do, or say, things without really feeling attached to it… like there is no backlash on them. It is so impersonal!

They can say the most terrible things. It’s like if you were driving in your car, you flip people off, you scream obscenities at them. And, because your protected by the four walls of you’re car, you’re not looking directly into the other person’s eyes. You’re not having the same accountability.

It’s just times ten on the Internet and Facebook.”

We all accept that the Social Network is here to stay. But in this acceptance, may we parlay in one generalization. If we are going to use it, let’s use it responsibly.

Nicole encapsulated a vision, “I feel like globalization will continue, and with the advancing of technology, lines between races and different groups of people will begin to erase.”

Nicole is correct in her prediction of the time it may take to build her dreamed of global community. Yet in her dream there is accountability. And at its core is at least the beginnings for a greater respect for the world.

In pulling from the words of Shane, “Take as little as you can. Literally, that would not only be unselfish, but selfishly thinking for everyone in the future.

Take care of yourself. Don’t be so self-centered that you have to take from everyone else around you.”

That how I feel about it.”

Nicole, Shane, thanks for the prompt. Perhaps it’s time for us to do a little erasing?

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Om Prakash Sharma says:

    You can not do any thing to change the world but you can attempt to change yourself,it may make a difference to the world. And as Shane says give more to the earth and take less from it.


  2. I’m currently working in a position of service to others, and more and more I think the only way to change the world is to change yourself. By changing yourself, you can lead by example and inspire others to change.By respecting others, learning to listen, working hard, and being open with one another, I think the world will be a better place. Too many problems in this world are caused by us not understanding one another.


  3. itchierfeet says:

    In response to the students question… I would change myself. I am a firm believer that you must lead by example, and so you must live what you believe or preach! I have never been able to change anyone’s mind by telling them to change, but I have changed what people do by doing it myself, they see it is ok/easy/achievable, and so they are more likely to respond positively. Being positive and excited about your own change also helps to encourage change in others too.

    Richard, I am enjoying your posts, thank you.


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