These days it’s like everyone’s got a plan to change the world, because, let’s face it, it’s way past time. We’ve been dragging around this clunky industrial thinking for the last 150 years or so!
Thankfully the world today is alive with fresh, alternative ideas. All forms of eco-capitalism, collaborative consumption, free market libertarianism, Universal Basic Income, cryptocurrency, contributionism, resource-based or open access economies are tantalisingly on offer.
But which one is the right one? And how do we get there?
Well, we might be asking the wrong questions here. Why? Because in reality, no system defines us. We define it.
Imagine an ant colony for a moment. It has all the appearance of highly organised social order - but there is no order. The ants' 'system' is nothing more than the cumulative effect of their individual actions - not some scripted 'ant law'. In other words, when lots of individuals in a group behave similarly, a pattern appears that looks like a system, but it's not something that's imposed from outside. It's an effect.
Think about what we call our system: laws, government, money, capitalism, religion, etc. Many of us like to complain about them, but the truth is, every social system we engage in is born primarily of our fears and expectations.
Laws and government exist because most of us fear strangers or loss of livelihood. Religions exist (by and large) because many people fear death or crave meaning. Corporations exist because people buy the things they produce. Trade and capitalism exist because we continue to engage in them. All these systems exist because of how we are.
So if we accept that our 'system' is nothing more than a reflection of us, then it surely follows that in order for us to create a better world, we only need to start re-shaping our own behaviour towards the world we want.
I think it’s probably safe to say that all the above ideas for a better system share the same basic desire: The fairest, most compassionate and sustainable society possible.
So if we truly wish to manifest the fairest, most compassionate and sustainable society possible, then we only need to begin adopting those values as much as possible into our daily lives. And when enough of us do that, we are literally manifesting that world between us in real time.
Here’s my round-up of nine good habits that I think we should all be engaging in to begin creating the world we all want to see: (Please share your own ideas in the comments too)
Spend less on new items. Buy second-hand, borrow, lend, share, give, fix, re-use, upcycle. Make buying new your last option, not your first.
Joy doesn’t come from things, it comes from experiences. Seek out rich, rewarding experiences with people you love and fill your life with them.
Learn how to grow, make and fix your own. There are free tutorials online for just about everything now and it’s very rewarding to produce things and upskill yourself.
Gift your excess things and talents to those who need it. Accept gifts from others. Help normalise unconditional giving and service as a way of life.
Still the mind and listen. This helps you re-evaluate your desires and expectations away from the noise of consumer culture.
Avoid sensationalist media. Learn to identify when someone is trying to trigger you emotionally with anger, fear or shame. These are just tools to win your dollars or engagement and don’t represent a realistic world view.
Become more aware of the living world. Take on a pet that needs a home. Take nature walks. Go vegan, or drastically reduce your consumption of animal products. It’s healthier and helps us to appreciate our shared space in the world.
Find and connect with like-minded people who are doing the same. Find ways to work together to make it easier. Solidarity helps reinforce our determination when engaging in 'non-standard' behaviour.
Inspire others with your micro-victories in changing your world for the better. Even if they don’t seem interested now, you are planting seeds for when they are ready to listen.