Be the Change

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

The world right now is in serious need of incorporating the value of self accountability. To assist this I would change the social focus from material toys to relationship health.

This would call for societies and individuals to reflect and act in a way that accepts their impact on the world. I see a lot of social agendas that mimic this idea of healthy relationships, but I do not see a serious implementation of core values needed to educate children on their relationship to the world. It is critical that there is a foundation for parenting and education that includes individual impact awareness in personal, social, and environmental areas. This would call for each person to take accountability for the actions of the governments, institutions, and corporations. I see our social standards as being incomplete, and immature without this acceptance of responsibility. By taking accountability for all our relationships we can begin to regenerate human dignity and ecological wellness.

There is no doubt that the technological age that we have found ourselves in has some benefit. However, through reckless consumption we have exhausted many resources, which must be renewed for continued survival in a healthy way. Also, there is a clear deterioration of individual confidence within social structures. Between these two factors I see the ability for people to reach their true potential becoming more depressed. The results are apathy, fixation on distractions, disease, and a sense of isolation. If we can begin to transfer the value system from that of material gain, to one of building relationships, people will begin to feel more empowered to take action in their personal health, and collective wellbeing.

One example of this need is a the trend to support social projects that “feel good” without taking action in ones personal life. A person may feel temporarily that they have invested in some act towards supporting social change, but they have not taken responsibility for their own part in the problem. I see huge trends toward promoting cures for different types of cancers. The relationship between electronics and chemicals in promoting cancerous changes has been established. One may feel good supporting the “cause”, but no change will be made unless direct responsibility is taken. The consumer can demand safer electronics and responsible chemical usage, but it is widely left up to the corporations to make these decisions. This is an illustration of the disconnection from personal accountability. I sense that healthy relationships would make it easier for people to make real social changes.

When speaking of these relationships I am considering foundations of wellness as experienced through direct awareness of the impact and influence of the individual to and from society, family, and the environment. Through my childhood education I was encouraged to feel a sense of social acceptance through scholastic accolades. While this can be beneficial as one side of an equation, there needs to be equal importance put on achievements in conflict resolution, personal health, and environmental engagement. It is important to see that each individual has a direct influence on these relationships, for good or bad. Each relationship can be strengthened through awareness and conscious engagement. Through encouraging positive relationships a child will feel more confident and empowered to creatively innovate solutions through self respect.

Further, it is crucial that one is not disconnected from the impact of their life through the institutions that they are a part of. While it is easy to say that you disagree with a nations inferior labor ethics (including dangerous work environments, slave labor, child labor, and unfair pay rates, and environmental destruction), as long as one continues to support the institutions that demand purchase from these countries, there has been no change. Can one say that they are promoting freedom when the judicial systems have been privatized? We have been disconnected through veils of material perfection. Under the veil the true cost of materialism and corrupt institutions is clear. Understanding that each act has a direct impact could allow the individual to lift this veil, and hopefully desire to take responsibility within their local influence.

The most positive change humanity can make is to take responsibility at all levels to create sustainable structures based on harmonious relationships. This is not a step that can be made solely through the intellect. This is a step that requires the full heart engagement. Taking responsibility offers a bleak reflection in our modern crises, but only in gathering the courage to do so will we engage the strength that is needed to challenge the current paradigm. By inspiring the upcoming generation to respect their impact we promote a stronger sense of connection, and self, that encourages a desire for accountability. This shift from material aspiration to interactive engagement within relationships is a needed change to elevate social dignity, and promote global well-being.

[excerpt from a scholarship essay]

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