You create the new world by perceiving it. Success coaches have been criticized for citing a law of attraction by which your environment manifests what is in your mind. They probably mean that you think your way to success. I cannot answer for them whether they are positing a supernatural power.
This blog keeps both humanist feet on the ground. Article 37 indicates that “realizing” means both “becoming aware of” and “achieving.” In article 80 I stated “To ‘realize’ a renewed world is first ‘to become aware’ of it; and following that, to ‘achieve’ it.” To catch a vision is to create a mental picture, and to realize the vision is to implement it. We are driven by the good that we are capable of doing.
One person always changes the world. At the very minimum, you do so by being a member and by contributing unique beliefs to the world. We come together in this blog to compare our visions and take encouragement for achieving them. There is no substitute for your vision.
We are small
The ant is small compared to the anthill. The fact that you feel small reveals that you are aware of something bigger. If you know about more hunger in the world than you can fill, rejoice that you are so broadly aware! Now decide calmly what share of the situation you will address.
I have referred often to the balance between resources and consumption, ability and needs. Recent articles have probed the capacity of every person. Even acknowledging our abilities, all of us are also deficient in something. It is a matter of degree, and to assure survival we interact and overlap with each other; we join a social contract.
A quadriplegic needs help consuming food. I need help growing food. We differ in degree of dependency. Fortunately, we interact with people who have great talent in food production and distribution. In balance, some talent within each of us is a resource for some need in another person. Together we constitute the ant hill. Every little person counts. Even if you feel indistinguishable from the other ants, you are not discardable.
We see big
There is a story that FDR, President Roosevelt, went out to the White House balcony and stared at the stars for several minutes. According to story, he turned to his aide and said, “We can go in now. I feel small enough.” It was healthy for him, with the whole world daily looking to him for solutions, sometimes to feel like one ant. Therein he was a great example.
Correspondingly, sometimes it is good for us, the smaller ants, to perceive the vision of FDR mentioned in an earlier article, the four freedoms. The human “ant colony” depends on high social order, hopefully supported by every one of us. I have called this our interdependence.
Including the big needs
I deliberately praise your awareness of world hunger. If that awareness is missing, you are in a dead-end shell. If that awareness is too strong, you are overwhelmed. Somewhere between those extremes is the right level to match your talents. The overall sum of the world’s needs is mind-boggling. Only by joining talents can we address the global picture—not only thinking about food, but rather with respect to all humans’ needs (article 27, FISH).
Self-aware people aren’t built with the instinctive patterns we observe in ants. We are not pre-fitted with all the inbred behaviors that assure survival. This is good. Being dependent on individual learning, as we are, may appear less secure than running on instinct, but it gives humans the benefit of adaptability. Change is constant and behavior patterns from the past are not sufficient for future survival. Meeting individual and aggregate needs of all the disparate members of our family requires constant study, adaptation, and change and is an enormous challenge.
The important one: you
Fellow ant in the colony, please join me in bringing the discussion down to one individual, for example, you.
Years ago, I longed for overall coordination on the world scale. I visualized a neutral think tank (my own University of Chicago?) to provide a centralized resource helping every person find a perfect individual assignment, making us more efficient as a team, and meeting all needs in an orderly manner. Still believing in personal mission, I have widened my concept of a successful system beyond what we formerly called God’s view, the simplistic order where everyone plugs in and receives specific instructions.
There are familiar phrases telling us we are in God or that God dwells in us. They suggest that every human mind is an independent workstation (processor) in a distributed processing system called the mind of God. Every human mind contributes a unique element to that model of divinity, and in that model, self-seeking amounts to polluting the mind of God.
I now respect the role every individual plays in the oversight of the larger order. Centralized planning inherently misses options that you or I could suggest. Every person overlooks something, but our diversity provides the overlap and compensation on which we depend.
You may object that people work at cross purposes and that lack of structure is inefficient. Nevertheless, one-size-fits-all rarely fits at all. Optimally customized solutions are local, specific, and individual. Answers are not uniform because people and their problems are not uniform. While curbing the outrageous, we must not stifle the inspired.
On August 13, 2010, WBEZ Worldview presented the story of Hannah Salwen who, at age 14, longed to accomplish good in the world. She persuaded her father to launch an innovative project. With appropriate democratic participation of the whole family over several months, they ultimately sold their mansion and devoted half of the proceeds to carefully selected projects detailed in their book The Power of Half. It was a growth experience in unselfishness and in group decision making.
Sometime later a guest on the Worldview program referred to that book. He was a financial professional with a specialty in charitable giving. Based on his analysis, he recommended a significantly different eleemosynary approach. He had the facts and figures to show how he would maximize the impact of good deeds.
These contrasting examples make my point that you are important as you live out your decisions. Each person has a special understanding of efficiency. Your perspective in your position is unique. I conclude that different viewpoints contribute valuable richness to the fabric of society. Just as I decentralize “mind of God,” I also decentralize the super-university of social causes. There is no substitute for individual judgment and local implementation.
I deliberately planted the word “talent” above to represent your contribution to the cosmic whole. If your mind did not exist, there would be a fundamental part of reality missing. Without your contribution, important processing would not get done. Your very being makes the world the way it is. This thinking grants you immeasurable respect, importance, and responsibility. For whatever you are, you are creating the world that is becoming. You do not by yourself end world hunger, but your decisions and acts do have cosmic significance. Without them, the world would be poorer.
Have I overwhelmed you? Not so, for I have also emboldened you. The train of articles has pointed out how much you count and how much we reinforce each other. Thoughts breed actions and your being here is contributing to the future—all of it! We share the load, and you matter.