February 24, 2014 by Liberty
All people want to make an impact on the world. It’s a natural human instinct. In the most basic way, that is the urge to have a child. In today’s world, there is virtually no logical reason to want to have children. They cost a ridiculous some of money and they provide virtually no value until (possibly) decades later. With social security and other government subsidizes, statistically, having children is a pretty bad decision for an individual.
There are plenty of ways that a potential parent can prevent a child and still have sex. They choose to have that child anyway. That child will last beyond the parent’s existence.
Not everyone looks to impact the world through breeding though. Some people perform charity, others donate money, and some look to create something that lasts forever. This urge is the same that causes people to have children. People want to live forever by making a difference but there is an objection that tends to always be on the back of people’s minds.
It’s Your Life
There is no reason to imply any responsibility for anyone else to improve the world around them. People are not born voluntarily. I didn’t write up a contract with my parents before I was conceived. I plopped out with very little participation on my part. I did not agree to feed them when they got older or build a massive charity to change the world. I have absolutely no implied responsibility. No one does.
You can choose to do with your life. You can change the world with an invention. You can silently change the world eliminating possibilities in a lab. You can charismatically lead people to some good cause. That being said…
You have the choice to spend your whole life harming the world. You can murder millions of people. You can enslave a nation. You can sleep with as many people as you can fool. You can break into stamp collectors homes and stick awesome mosaics of dead presidents on their walls. This is your choice.
Truthfully, the majority of the things you can choose to do are not implicitly good or evil. The world is an unbelievably complex place. One of the classic examples of this might be murdering baby hitler. Is that a good act or an evil act? If you were Hitlers mother while he was a baby then the answer would be pretty obvious. That mother would look at you like you’re the devil. In her eyes, you would be evil. To someone that knew what the baby would grow up to be, you might be a hero. Everything is like that.
Good Or Evil: Who Knows
While this section may look like a bit of a tangent, it’s absolutely essential that the point gets through.
Humans are not privileged to very much information in their lives. One of the most important factors that we can never see is the future. That makes most implications of good or evil suspect. You cannot look at every possible history. You can only look at the one that’s taken place. If it hasn’t taken place yet then you have virtually no information.
The atomic bomb is a very interesting example of this. Was the invention of the atomic bomb an act of good or an act of evil? It was definitely not intended to do good things. Virtually no one would argue the murder of tens of thousands of people could be good but it may have significantly helped in ending the war.
The World War II is estimated to have killed up to 80 million people. The atomic bombs were responsible for 70,000 deaths. That is a fraction of a percentage of the total deaths. Assuming the bomb was not created, tens of millions of people could have been killed. Did the atomic bomb save lives?
Many people even argue that the invention of the atomic bomb has prevented other major wars taking place between atomic countries.
While, I believe there may have been better ways to solve the problem. There is definitely a case to be made in both directions.
The same goes with virtually anything else you do in life. Is it good or evil? In most cases, you’ll never know.
Living For Nothing
The vast majority of people in the world live lives of little impact. They tread lightly attempting to hide behind the mass of people doing the same. It’s the safe way to go through life. Very few people end up getting hung for fitting in with the norm too much. If you choose to follow the general direction of society then you will probably survive.
The average person will get educated a bit, work a job, make enough money to survive, have kids, if they’re lucky retire, and then they’ll die. They do not take the time to ask how they’re going to impact the world. If they do ask the question, they tend to give a few dollars to a charity and pretend that their impact is measurable.
Looking at the record of people that attempted to impact the world, it certainly doesn’t look all that attractive. Some of them get hung in front of thousands of people for their crimes. Even without thousands of people’s anger, you can still get shot by a single person that violently disagrees.
Not making an impact can be attractive.
That, unfortunately, also makes many people little more than mercenaries. Not every soldier throwing someone in an oven likes their job but they show up and do it until they can rationalize it. They don’t want to stand up and suffer the consequences. So… their brain does what it’s meant to do. It says that what they’re doing is somehow positive.
This can also be seen in many cops with drug prohibition. Many police officers don’t believe it’s ethical to lock a kid up for smoking a joint, despite that, they lock them up and permanently scar the child. Even if you believe drug prohibition is wonderful, that cop going against his or her own conscience to not make any waves should make you worry.
In both cases, the perpetrator does not end up factually changing anything. They just tell a story to make themselves feel less bad.
There are facts that can be used to support both sides of most issues. While one issue may have the better factual argument, it’s always better to factually choose wrong than to irrationally decide despite the facts. That’s a habit that can’t be corrected by facts.
Decisions made using facts can be corrected by facts.
Will You Change The World?
Changing the world is a choice.
It might be the smarter choice to not change the world. That being said, the volatility of changing the world might be a risk worth taking.
Some of the people that changed the world most are also the people that benefited people the most for themselves. People that change the world, for the good or bad, sometimes get rewarded immensely. The guys that invented Google mastered a new way to deliver content to users. The were able to use that to build an untouchable fortune for themselves. Drug king pins do the same thing.
Most people trying to change the world fail miserably but someone does not become wildly successful without changing it or promising to change it. Very few people make significant gains for themselves by just doing what other people are doing.
Attempting to change the world almost requires that you’re an extremist. You’re probably not going to write the greatest novel in history by writing five minutes every once in a while. You write great novels by sitting down for hours and hours and hours. People around you may even start to wonder if you’ve gone crazy. Inventors have a reputation for this. People that are looking to do something big need to let go of many of the things that make them normal.
If you want to change the world then become an extremist. (No not the violent kind) Don’t worry if people think you’re crazy. Do what you do with everything you have.
Or… don’t. Will you?
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