I was listening to a clinical psychologist on a podcast the other day. His thesis was ‘if you want to fix the world, the best thing you can do is fix yourself’. It’s been a good few days since this string of words entered my ears and still I find it echoing around my mind.
It’s deceptively worded. If you want to fix the world, the best thing you can do is fix yourself. The simplicity of how it reads belies the true difficulty of exacting it into reality.
Because fixing oneself implicitly requires admission that one is not perfect, and human consciousness of this day and age isn’t exactly geared for such humility. We are still animals, and all animals fight for survival.
What separates us from other animals is that we have changed the battlefield; the biologically traditional food chain no longer applies to us, so instead - to atone to our genetic competitiveness - we fight amongst ourselves.
The consequence of this new paradigm is the introduction of something else that doesn’t appear to exist elsewhere in the animal kingdom: selfishness. Defined where necessity blurs into desire, where want begins to prevail over need and toxic materialism becomes the consequential norm.
Lucky Roland, if you want to fix the world, fix yourself. My internal dialogue swings relentlessly back and forth like a tennis match of pride versus guilt. Balancing the comparative success of my efforts to improve my contribution to the planet is a wobbly dance between self-reassurance that I’m doing my bit and condemnation that I don’t do enough.
Despite such a melancholy rant I don’t believe that all is lost. We still have morals and ethics, we still have the power to combine our efforts as our fellow mammals do in the wild. A beaver doesn’t build a dam for itself alone, just as the elephant herd doesn’t move on until all have crossed the river.
We’ve still got time.