Is it irresponsible to try and change the world?

18 Jan

A few months back, perhaps a year or so, I can’t remember, I got into a heated discussion with someone over politics and religion. Nothing unusual right? Well it was for me because, at the time, this was a person for whom I had a great deal of respect an admiration for, and to hear this coming from her blew me away. I’ve often thought about what she said from time to time, and it’s always bugged me. We had plenty of fights, but this one really stuck with me.

She told me something to the effect of “It is irresponsible to try and change the world because you might mess it up even more.” Just ponder the implications of that for a moment. Don’t try and improve things because to might make them worse. Sure you might make them better for people, but you could make it worse. What struck me immediately, though I didn’t tell her to her face, was the irony of that coming from her, a woman attending college with me.

She could go to school, she could get an education, she could vote, she could dress as she pleased, do what she wanted, etc. She was able to do all of this and not be married and pregnant at 12 because generations of women before her had the audacity to be irresponsible and fight for change. The next thing that struck me was just how convenient it was for her to be white, upper middle class, and born in the US in the late 20th century when previous generations had already secured the rights she now took for granted. Of course it doesn’t affect you too much if the world stays the same! You’ve already got everything!

And yet I was the irresponsible one for wanting to make it better, for feeling like having the power to change things for the better gave me the responsibility to do so. I’m sorry, but this just boggles my mind. Am I missing something here? Is it really irresponsible to try and make the world a better place because, heaven forbid, you find a way to actually make it worse than it already is?


5 Responses to “Is it irresponsible to try and change the world?”

  1. humanitarikim January 18, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    I couldn’t agree more. The funny thing is I am currently writing a piece with a very similar theme. Moderate Pacifism. It really irks me.

    What it comes down to is this… if no one bothered we would get no where. If everyone was complacent, social progress would cease to exist. Fight for what you believe in, Godless Paladin. We need you.

  2. Greg Christopher January 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    Yes, that woman is a hypocrit. Sorry

  3. teo January 24, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    heaven forbid? 😉

    Her argumentation is simply stupid. Even stupider as “what if we make the world better for nothing (e.g. there was no global warming after all)”

    But I have to say that may times people have said to me, that it’s so naive to believe, that I/we/someone could change the world and I’ll see when I grow up and take real responsibilities. Is there a greater responsibility than feeling obligated to do something for our crashing world?

    Sometimes I just dream of having the youth of my parents/grandparents – nature, growing own vegetables and taking care of your animals, working hard the whole damn day, after this going to a “party” with the other villagers every evening, having the closeness of a family, that you can have when all of you sleep in one room every night, not caring and not having to care about us ruining out planet…

  4. greengeekgirl January 24, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    I can sort of see her point… of course, I don’t know if this is her point cos I don’t know the context… but it can be kind of embittering to look at how much “progress” has turned out to be kind of a nightmare in some cases. But to say that it’s irresponsible to try to change things goes a bit far. We’re not talking about the space-time continuum here, after all 😉

  5. godlesspaladin January 24, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    Yeah, we had several fights like this. Eventually she stopped reading my blog. (Except for the times she comes back to dig up old mopey posts from me ages ago to remind herself how much she now hates me. Another big fight of ours was over my disdain for religion. (I’m planning a post about that one too because it’s an interesting concept that I’d like to get your views on too)

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