by Kelly Byquist
I have gained a better perspective of the world this quarter. I have learned that the media can hide the truth, that people are willing to sacrifice their lives for what they believe in, and that hope can rise from a nation filled with anger and despair. Every day we read stories online and in newspapers about natural disasters, civil wars, rebellions, shootings, raids, and the like. These stories do not give us a feeling of comfort, confidence, courage or morality. Instead they fill us with fear and anxiety, and maybe even dread and depression. Despite these types of stories, there is good occurring in our world each day, and many newspapers do make it a point to share these stories with the public.
It is great to be aware of what’s happening in the world; in fact, you will be regarded as knowledgeable and intellectual if you read newspapers. What you don’t want to do is read the news and get bogged down by what it says. If you do this, you will be viewed as a pessimist, and no one wants to be viewed in that light.
Albert Einstein once said, “You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it,” and he is very right. There is no way for problems to be fixed if the solutions are at the same level as the problems themselves. In order to find answers one must rise in consciousness, to a higher vision, and view the problems from a grander perspective. Now, if we take all of the tumultuous stories that we read in the newspaper and try to find a solution from the same basis as the problem, a solution will never be found.
We all want to make a difference in the world. We want to be a problem-solver, instigate change, and we may even want to turn our entire career paths around to fight for something we believe in. While many people want to do something, many do not know how or where to begin. Some may think they’re insignificant in the world and are therefore incapable of helping, and some do not know how to contribute any farther than raising awareness. Well, this quarter I’ve learned that every single person has the opportunity every day to contribute in a positive way to issues facing our world. There really is, once you know how, a way for every single person to spur change and make a difference in the world.
The first thing to know is that change starts with the individual; change starts with you. It does not come from external forces or powerful weapons. Change comes from changing yourself and your life. Once you change yourself and your life, your family-life will change, from there your town will change, eventually your state will change, and then your nation, and at some point, the world. An unknown author says it best, “When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.”
I also enjoy this quote by William Saroyan, which is found in his novel The Human Comedy, when a young boy at war during WWII writes home to his family, “I do not recognize any enemy which is human, for no human being can be my enemy. Whoever he is, he is my friend. My quarrel is not with him, but with that unfortunate part of him which I seek to destroy in myself first” (167). Change starts from altering and challenging our own experiences, which will eventually change the world.
“But how do you change your present situation?” you may ask. Well, it is by tackling the issues that the world is facing. The challenges that the world is facing may come in different forms than what may be presented to you, but they stem from the same train of thought. For instance, if I find myself feeling enslaved by the education system I am in, I am meeting a similar dilemma as when someone feels enslaved by his/her country’s government and political leaders. Although the people in these two scenarios are experiencing completely different situations, the fact remains that both are feeling a sense of enslavement from something that seems outside of their control.
Next comes the acknowledgment of the power of thought. Our thought is very powerful, and every time we overcome a challenge, we prove its validity not only for ourselves and our own lives, but for all of mankind. So if the things I experience throughout my life are similar to the challenges facing others around the world, as I see and find a solution to my problem I will involuntarily be affecting the world and how it deals with the given issue. “So how do we change the world?” you ask. You live it, and prove what is good and right and true, while also knowing that your thoughts are blessing both you and all of mankind. It is in our best interest to master the challenges that we face, because in doing so, we will find the solutions to the bigger issues facing the world.