Poll 12: Failure in Videogames

Hope of Change

Earthrise Obama's victory has engendered a feeling of hope that things might change. Although I do not want to sour this intoxicating feeling, I do feel that people often misunderstand what change entails. Change is not the purview of our leaders, although they may inspire us to change - change is the responsibility of the individual.  It is your responsibility, and it is mine. For the world to change, we must change.

When people think about change, they tend to think in terms of how other people must change to better reflect their values (which they tend to see as the only correct values). If your idea of change is getting what you want, having more people believe what you believe, your hope is naught but vanity.  The harder road is to see how you might change to respect other people's values, or other people's needs, or even needs beyond people. It is this change - the change from the view of the self to the view beyond self - that offers the most remarkable depth of hope.

What appeals to me about the Kantian project is the idea of striving for an impossible goal where all our conflicting demands might be reconciled - perhaps not in actuality, but at least in hope. Kant called it "the Realm of Ends"; I call it communal autonomy. As I wrote about this before:

The ‘realm of ends’ is the confluence of the goals of all people, where everyone is systematically united and offering mutual support towards their various ends. Kant does not believe that this is wholly achievable – he says it is “merely possible” – but he asserts strongly the value of this ideal as a guiding principle in ethics.

I know many of you hold neo-Nietzschean values in which you want to fight solely for your own corner, and not for everyone nor everything, and the great thing about the Kantian project is that because this is what you want, I have to reconcile your need for private gain against my own goal of mutual benefit. This is not easy! But nothing worthwhile ever was.

Mahatma Gandhi said "You must be the change you want to see in the world". This is the foundation upon which all change must rest. The hope of change begins with you, and the hope of change begins with us. It begins with recognising all that is not you. It begins with learning to communicate between different beliefs, different metaphysics, different worlds. It begins when you ask yourself not how other people should change, but how you might change yourself to become what you wish you could be. In this change lies our greatest hope.

Only a Game will return later this month.


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I submitted the how-to for saving our energy infrastructure, financial system and operational budget to change.gov - maybe they'll do something about it. Of course, it's pretty simple (this solution I proposed) when you get down to it, and it's only possible because of technological innovations in the private sector and massive participation from the investing public. So to that effect I concede your point.

But then let's take Afganistan, where a wedding was bombed by US forces the other day, killing dozens of women and children - Obama wants to escalate the war there. Did you know that prior to the US invasion Afganistan produced maybe 10% of the world's opium, it now produces 90%. The money from heroin and cocaine is laundered through offshore banks and ends up on the balance sheets of publicly traded companies as a credit asset, which then pops the value of those stocks by the amount of money laundered times the P/E, so a million dollars of heroin money can turn into fourteen million in shareholder "value". You think he's going to change that? Fat fucking chance, not in the United States of Goldman Sachs.

Hi Patrick! Upbeat as ever. :)

I'm aware of the opium business in Afghanistan, but not at all sure what it has to do with this post, other than a tortured train of connections descending from my mentioning Obama in the first paragraph. Not sure how you can expect to anticipate specific aspects of the Obama presidency's foreign policies with any accuracy, but hey, speculation is free! :)

This wasn't a piece about political weasels, anyway, it was about everyone else.


"If your idea of change is getting what you want, having more people believe what you believe, your hope is naught but vanity."

I have to take gentle and respectful issue with this one. Not for myself, but for the people who actually get respecting others right. I'm not good at that, and I know it. I'm pretty sure when I'm right and other people are wrong, and it makes me want to smack them. I

I'm also relatively certain that there are people out there who have cornered the market on respect and love, Mother Teresa, the Dahli, Ghandi, etc. I can't see how their wanting the masses to change to more closely resemble their views is vanity. It just seems like wanting the world to be a better place to me. Some people actually do get it right.

TT: I graciously accept your objection here. :) But did these exceptional individuals spend their time wishing other people conformed to their standards, or simply being the model person they wished to be? I feel the latter probably applies, and that's the idea I was trying to express in this piece.

Hugs to you and your lovely family!

And that's all from me for the next two weeks at least. Have fun everyone and I'll see you all soon for further nonsense! *waves*

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