saving the world

July 18, 2007

I’ve given up trying to help people and I’ve given up trying to save the world,  instead I’m just going to do my own thing and hopefully a few people will be interested. I’ve learned that people don’t want to be helped. And I’ve learned that the world doesn’t want to be saved.

I’ve also learned that maybe trying to help everyone else is a substitute for something else. And I’ve learned that that it’s a good way to disconnect from people, to turn them off. I guess I was lucky to start doing a radio show, that way I could talk about the issues the concerned me and the people who wanted to listen could do so and the people who didn’t could just switch off and everyone was happy. (I say everyone but there was this one guy who kept ringing up and demanding that I play music instead of interviews…).

I don’t know if I ever converted anyone like I intended to. I know I changed a few minds about a few issues but whether anyone had a wholesale mind shift like I did the day a guy in Canada handed me a Noam Chomsky book, I don’t know. It’s what my ego wants of course.

Lately I’ve concluded that rather than trying to change a lot of the world a little bit I could change a little bit of the world a lot. More specifically I could change the world of my friends and family a whole lot by changing myself. (Easily done by shutting up and listening).

You might think that if I’d figured that out I’d be doing well but somehow it doesn’t feel that way. Like my radio show the readers of this blog can turn me off whenever they want but if you were to experience my views in person you’d be in for quite a different experience. It doesn’t help that my father (and main role model throughout childhood) was a school principal and prefers to address people rather than talk to them, or that I am quite excited by some of the issues I wish to discuss but really no one deserves a badgering about an unknown issue like I can do. These days I tend to swing the other way and say nothing at all and am then quite nervous when I do speak up which is hardly any better.

Karen is much better about this, she doesn’t try to tell her friends anything but when they are having a serious conversation and one of them admits that they don’t feel like being so hard on their kids, or so rigid with their baby schedule she is able to encourage them to listen to their instincts. It’s much nicer and very effective to affirm someone else’s instinct like that – especially when they are in an environment that discourages the loving instinct just letting someone know they’re not alone is a powerful thing.

This ties in to what I’ve been reading in The Different Drum. The chaotic second stage of the community building process outlined by Scott Peck is often characterised by people trying to force help on each other. Really it’s an attempt to create community by eradicating the differences between people. Unfortunately true community doesn’t arrive until people stop doing this and start to accept their differences. Outside of a community building workshop people can just walk away or be obstinate but just like a primitive villager has no where else to go people in Scott Peck’s workshops have committed themselves to staying the distance so eventually they learn from it, empty themselves and move on into a true state of community. True community is also characterised by the fact the people become good at listening.

Scott Peck says we areunableto stay in commuity because our old habits of seperating ourslves from other people will come back in unguarded moments. I wonder how many generation it will take to lose that tendency.

It also ties in to some of the man stuff I wrote about a few posts back;

…I’d like to be engaged and really listen to people who talk to me but it seems to require such a lot of energy to do that – to be specific it seems to require a lot of emotional energy which I just don’t have.

Probably the emotional energy thing is a part of our problem. If we’re being honest though another part is that we shouldn’t have to bother with unimportant people when, as men, we have so many other important things to do…

I wonder how much space, time and ego-death I’ll need before I am ready to just listen to people.


One comment

  1. […] some of the ideas I discuss while doing this, then that’s great but I’ve pretty much given up trying to convert people these […]

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