Saturday, November 08, 2014

Be the change?

"Be the change you wish to see in the world"--It's no wonder this saying (let’s call it BTC) has become so popular. From its sense of immediacy to its spiritual turn of phrase, BTC hits all the right notes. It doesn't hurt that it is commonly attributed to Gandhi, even though, as writer Brian Morton has noted, the closest Gandhi came to BTC was a passage including these words: "If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change." 

Although BTC echoes some of Gandhi’s themes, its phrasing and emphasis are notably different. What is clear is that its concise form delivers a potent message about the potential for transformation--and this provides us with a window into contemporary values.

BTC suggests that if, for example, you wish for more patience in the world, you should be more patient yourself. Presumably if you succeed in becoming more patient, then you have increased the global level of patience. Furthermore, your example may encourage others. This appears plausible, and in cases like this BTC seems to provide good guidance.

What if you seek a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions? You can’t “be” less greenhouse gas emission, but following the spirit of BTC, you should aim to produce less emissions yourself. But suppose you want an improvement in the human rights situation in Burma? How can you “be” such a change? Here, there isn't much guidance. BTC is sometimes interpreted to mean “If you want to see change in the world, then do something.” But this is too broad. BTC is more than an encouragement to take action--it’s about personal change as a vehicle for transforming the world.

Like many sayings, BTC is a mixed bag. To its credit, it encourages each of us to examine the role we play in larger-scale problems, and it calls us to take action. But troublingly, BTC hints that any problem can be solved by changing individual behaviours. Thus, the problem of greenhouse gas emissions could be solved if we carpooled and used public transportation, used less energy to heat and cool our homes, and so forth. But while individual lifestyle choices are clearly important, the problem is much more extensive and complex than this. Greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed not only to individual choices but also to large-scale industrial and agricultural operations, not to mention military activities. It might be argued that such factors can ultimately be traced to individual lifestyle choices: companies only produce what customers demand, governments simply respond to the public will. But this is simplistic: companies may be driven by the market, but they also affect the market through advertising and political influence; governments respond not only to the public will, but also to powerful people and corporations.

Regardless, we still face the question of how best to effect change. BTC encourages each of us to change ourselves. But even in problems where individual behaviour plays a central role, broader issues are often involved. For example, automobiles are a major producer of greenhouse gases. But our reliance on them is part of an intricate web of social and economic factors, such as urban sprawl, public transit options, tax policies, and government regulations. If complex problems are seen largely as personal lifestyle issues, structural factors may not get the attention they deserve. At its worst, a focus on personal lifestyle can become a fetish, and broader issues may be ignored.

During the American civil rights movement, many wished to see an end to racial discrimination. BTC would suggest that those people should have worked to end their own discriminatory behaviour. But discrimination was more than an individual behaviour, it was an entrenched institutional problem. The civil rights movement used political action such as protest marches to press for structural changes in American society, such as desegregation of schools and the outlawing of discriminatory employment practices. Of course, in many cases personal transformation and political change go hand in hand. However BTC tends to encourage--and reflect--a belief that personal transformation is sufficient.

Another interesting aspect of BTC is the distinctly spiritual tone in the words "be the change", echoing the transformative themes so common in religious traditions. The notion that transcendent meaning may be found in personal change need not stand in opposition to an understanding of the mechanisms by which broader change can be effected. But BTC conflates personal change with change in the world, hinting that in some mystical sense they are the same thing.

Equating personal and societal change obscures the mechanisms by which change is actually brought about. To understand these mechanisms, we need to pay closer attention to the messy connections between our efforts and their outcomes, including the role of other contributing factors, barriers to change, possible synergies, and the unanticipated consequences that our actions may produce. A commitment to change requires considering the pros and cons of various choices in the face of inevitable uncertainty. Unfortunately, BTC may cut this process short.

The popularity of BTC reflects a concern about our role in the problems of the world and a desire to bring about change, but it also reflects our society’s preoccupation with self-improvement, which sometime veers into self absorption. BTC deftly substitutes personal transformation for global change. The risk is that even as it empowers us to transform ourselves, BTC threatens to further disengage us from the world.
Bookmark and Share


Blogger Lunameadow said...

I think great site for these post and i am read the most of contents have useful for my Carrier.Thanks for these useful information.Any information are commands like to share him.

Oracle Training in Chennai

11:50 PM, May 16, 2017  
Blogger Mahalya sree said...

After looking into a handful of the blog articles on your site, I really like your technique of writing a blog. I book marked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my website as well and let me know your opinion.
Office Interiors in Chennai
Interior Decorators in Chennai

5:43 AM, June 21, 2017  
Blogger Adam Milne said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:14 AM, July 17, 2017  
Blogger Adam Milne said...

Really very nice post. Be the change; Nice concept you have brought up.

5:15 AM, July 17, 2017  
Blogger viji said...

you are posting a good information for people and keep maintain and give more update too.
seo services india

4:15 AM, July 19, 2017  
Blogger Freddie King said...

Thank you for taking the time and sharing this information with us. It was indeed very helpful and insightful while being straight forward and to the point.
Mc.gutscheine | | saludlimpia

11:43 PM, August 02, 2017  
Blogger Ginger Sanches said...

It is very pity to read that these changings can lead to such dangerous consequences. Read more about this here custom writing essays. Thank you for sharing.

6:48 AM, August 28, 2017  
Blogger Soundarya S said...

This is extremely great information for these blog!! And Very good work. It is very interesting to learn from to easy understood. Thank you for giving information.

Java training in Chennai

5:15 AM, September 12, 2017  
Blogger saravanan said...

This information is impressive; I am inspired with your post writing style & how continuously you describe this topic.
Web Design Company in Chennai

2:46 AM, October 03, 2017  
Anonymous Berbagai cara said...

patience and consistency to do the best, changes should also be done together with others not necessarily own but together so it will be easier

11:52 AM, October 22, 2017  
Blogger subuvenni said...

Really i like this blog and i got lot of information's from your blog.And thanks for sharing!!!!
SEO Company in Chennai
SEO Company in India

5:17 AM, November 02, 2017  
Blogger Sumathi said...

I appreciate your efforts because it conveys the message of what you are trying to say. It's a great skill to make even the person who doesn't know about the subject could able to understand the subject . Your blogs are understandable and also elaborately described. I hope to read more and more interesting articles from your blog. All the best.
Vitiligo Treatment

4:58 AM, November 06, 2017  
Blogger Gayathri Vishnu said...

Great post!I am actually getting ready to across this
information,i am very happy to this commands.Also great blog here with all of the valuable information you have.Well done,its a great knowledge.
Pigmentation Cream
Dandruff Shampoo

6:30 AM, November 08, 2017  
Blogger PREETHA said...

Such a great articles in my carrier, It's wonderful commands like easiest understand words of knowledge in information's.
SEO Company in India
SEO Company in chennai

Digital Marketing Company in Chennai
Digital Marketing Company in India

5:00 AM, November 09, 2017  
Blogger Nicole Bolton said...

Really, these quotes are the holistic approach towards mindfulness. In fact, all of your posts are. Proudly saying I’m getting fruitfulness out of it what you write and share. Thank you so much to both of you.
Logistic ERP
Logistics Software
Fleet Management Software
Logistics management software
Warehouse Management Software

6:53 AM, December 05, 2017  
Blogger Domnic said...

Such a nice blog.Anybody want to know How to trace the mobile with location and get more details for tracking.Read this blog...

Mobile Number Tracker | Phone Number Tracker With Location | Mobile Location Tracker | How To Track A Phone Number | Phone Number Tracker | Phone Number Search

6:25 AM, December 07, 2017  
Blogger สุพรรษา ทองมี said...

Thanks for the information.

2:31 AM, December 20, 2017  
Blogger omar2002 said...

It's very beneficial to me.

แทงบอล sbobet

3:40 AM, January 02, 2018  
Blogger kfc55 said...

It is very interesting and I would like to know more about this.
ทางเข้า sbo
ทางเข้า sbobet

4:25 AM, January 03, 2018  
Blogger srinivasulu said...

Thanks for sharing valuable information.
seo services in chennai

4:11 AM, January 04, 2018  
Blogger sujitha said...

Information is too good and very usefull, thanks for sharing this wonderfull information Best Chennai SEO Company | SEO Digital Services in Chennai

4:19 AM, January 06, 2018  
Blogger boonmee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:10 AM, January 07, 2018  
Blogger Karnati.Balachandra said...

Information is too good and very usefull, thanks for sharing this wonderfull information Best SEO consultant in Chennai

1:15 AM, January 11, 2018  
Blogger boonmee said...

Really very nice post. Be the change; Nice concept you have brought up.




3:05 AM, January 11, 2018  
Blogger TONLOVE69 said...

These posts and I read most useful content. Thanks for sharing.

sbobet mobile

1:06 AM, January 12, 2018  
Blogger Jonathan David said...

Extremely, these statements Essay Help Online are the comprehensive approach towards care. Truth be told, the majority of your posts are. Gladly saying I'm receiving productivity in return what you compose and share. Much obliged to you such a great amount to both of you.

8:30 AM, January 18, 2018  
Blogger Mark petterson said...

Extremely, these statements are the all encompassing methodology towards care. Indeed, the greater Essay Writing part of your posts are. Gladly saying I'm receiving productivity in return what you compose and share. Much obliged to you such a great amount to both of you.

5:37 AM, January 24, 2018  
Blogger Toni444 said...

Yes my friend I think it's a great story and it's really scary. Wow, I like it a lot.




4:45 AM, January 29, 2018  
Blogger mozav007 said...

Thanks for sharing valuable information.

แทงบอล sbobet

1:22 AM, February 01, 2018  
Blogger Nishanth Kannan said...

Thanks for your wonderful information..

SAP HR Training in Chennai

4:09 AM, February 12, 2018  
Blogger chaithanya 4414 said...

This information will be very useful to me .Thank u...

SAP ABAP Training in Chennai

1:30 AM, February 13, 2018  
Blogger lakshmi deepa said...

This blog was very useful for me waiting for more blog.

SAP MM Training in Chennai

4:38 AM, February 19, 2018  
Blogger Guru Guru said...

I feel happy to have Spent my time in reading such a useful blog.....
SAP Training in Chennai

6:56 AM, February 20, 2018  
Blogger Ancy merina said...

Very amazing blog on a fresh new topic. I am definitely going to use the information provided in this blog because of its novel and fresh. Thanks for sharing such valuable information with everyone.
Best website development company in Bangalore
Best web design company in Bangalore
Ecommerce Website Design and Development Services in Bangalore
Outsource magento ecommerce services india

2:39 AM, February 21, 2018  
Blogger Tamil said...

I really like this blog.And i got more information's from this blog.thanks for sharing!!!!
SAP Basis Training in Chennai

6:22 AM, February 21, 2018  

Post a Comment

<< Home