Thoughts On Making A Difference

Song suggestion: Hide and Seek, Imogen Heap

I've stopped to think about the impulses behind some of my actions. I then thought about the impulses behind other people's actions. 

I know this may be over-analytical, but let's say I wanted to change a part of me that is constantly upsetting people around me and causing re-occurring discussions. I've noticed that I am capable of avoiding big discussions, or avoiding hurting people, if I always challenge my impulses. Even in relation to the smallest of things - I believe the impulse behind a look, a small movement with your body language, a joke, or anything that may upset someone, is the same impulse that makes you take an action with the actual intention of hurting them. The only difference, is that we don't realise these impulses are there all the time. These little ones I am talking about are at a sub-conscious level. It takes a lot of effort to be vigilante in this way, but I have found that it is worth it. If I really want to make a difference to those around me, I think it will be by paying attention to the small things that I will succeed. 

I think that if I want to make a difference, that difference is going to have to come from within. I will have to first enact the change within me. And, the ability to change from within will come from observation: understanding who I am, what I do, and most importantly, why I do it.

Now, let's say I wanted to make a difference by influencing others to be better. At what point do I cross the line and realise I am simply imposing my views and beliefs upon them?

Do you know when a play, a film, or an album, presents a really good critique or satire of the world we live in? What does this kind of art make me feel? Primarily, I think I feel excited. Excited, that someone is speaking their mind. It's coming from a place of truth, and I think it usually comes from a place of goodness. But, does this kind of art always come from a place of 'wanting to make a difference'? 

I don't think art has to necessarily mean something specific, it can mean anything. I think that fundamentally it should express... But, if the point of said art is to satirise, parody, criticise, doesn't that automatically imply that the hand behind the creation was trying to achieve something beyond expression? If we assume that that the creator wanted to achieve something more, what would that 'something' be? Change? 

Are some of us out there to inspire change? If so, what change? For the better? How do we define 'for the better'? What is best for me, may not be the best for you, right? 

But, let's say an artist does want to change something in the world, or bring light to an issue through his art... I think that art, as a medium, does make a difference. I have found myself re-thinking my actions because of films I've seen, songs I've heard, art I've admired and performances I've been inspired by. I think that it is hard to argue that art is not a strong medium for influence, revelation, change and revolution. 

Great, so that thought seems to have reached a conclusion. But, something still bothers me about the idea of wanting to make a difference, or inspire change.

I have tried to inspire change in my life, through art and through dialogue, but I haven't succeeded in changing much, and this remains a frustrating part of my quotidian life. 

I think there may be many reasons behind my frustration and my lack of success in that area of my life. At a first glance, I realise some of the people I am trying to inspire don't actually want to change. This makes me sad, because I spend the majority of my waking life trying to improve who I am; seeing people satisfied with mediocrity challenges my faith in the world and in human nature. 

But then, I give it further thought and I realise, sometimes there are things that shouldn't be changed. Or, that there are things that don't change by having someone pointing them out as a flaw, but rather from inside, when the change is ready to be received. This makes me disappointed with myself, because I should know better than to impose thoughts and beliefs on anyone. 

However, some people, some forms of communication, some mediums, some trends, have a massive effect on people and change their lives from one second to another. So, perhaps it's a question of how much power and influence I have on others as a person? In this case, there isn't much I can do. It is frustrating, and sometimes I wish that the messenger didn't have that much of an influence on the message. The truth is, we don't have time to think very deeply about things, and if we do, that usually means we're unemployed. 

The really frustrating thing though, is that in relation to that last scenario, sometimes these 'things' that have massive influences on people are irresponsible and cause what I would judge as a bad influence. 

I like to categorise things and I like to find patterns in them, that way I can generalise about them. This helps me to understand the world around me. Naturally, I then started to look for traits that unify, under one umbrella, all these particular things I have observed to have a massive influence on people. 

I learnt that there isn't necessarily any unifying trait behind all the different mediums of influence, other than the fact that they are massively exposed to everyone - I guess, I am now talking about all forms of widely advertised media. These have the power of allowing us to connect to the rest of the world, exposing us to more information than we are capable of retaining and, I believe, have the power of dumbing us down. It is becoming easier and easier to be brainless and not think for ourselves. I wish I could change that...

So that got me thinking, yes, I don't have the power alone to influence people in any significant way, and that will be the bane of my life, as long as I remain in the same position within the society I live in. But, if I do care about something and if I do want to make a difference about it -  using something I am good at as my medium, then that is what I am going to do. That is all I can do. And it is good enough for me, no matter how frustrating it may be. 

I will however, try to hone in my abilities to do this over the years, and part of that will involve opening my eyes, understanding and categorising, which types of 'change' I consider good and which types I consider bad. 

In relation to art specifically (as opposed to a personal influence I might try to have on people), how do I draw the line, in my mind, between the art that is truly out there to inspire change and the art that is being influenced to be an influence? How do I differ between honesty and a fad? That's what really matters right? Is it just a fad? Dishonest charity is not something I enjoy being a part of, so I will stay vigilant, so that I always create from within and think twice, every time I am creating with the intention of inspiring change. 

Right now, I would like to inspire people to be different. Be different. Just be different. Be yourselves. Don't follow the crowd. Just be who you want to be, be the person you think is the best version of you. Don't go with the fads and the trends. Create your own trends, or don't at all - not everything has to be a trend. And, not everything has to be original! That's what will most likely make it original, ironically... 

I would also like to inspire people, in the spirit of being the best version of themselves, to challenge their impulses. Don't let anything pass you by, as exhausting as it may be. It is worth it! You don't need to travel far, nor meditate for hours, nor find a mentor to discover the truth, the truth about yourself and the truth about the world. All you need to do is question yourself and the world around you. Be inquisitive. Question. Let's be better. Nature evolves, so let's get with that trend and do our part for the improvement of mankind. Change comes from within.