What if it’s all our fault?

I had this really strange realization over the weekend, which is that it’s probably all our fault that the world is in the state it is (however you judge that state to be).

Our fault!

It’s quite a mad thought to me, that it’s our fault. Global warming, child poverty, human trafficking, nefarious politicianing, bribery and corruption – whatever it is you decide is wrong in the world: OUR FAULT.

Bit unfair, maybe?

But it was triggered by me realising how much plastic tat our two children have. Crap they don’t need, don’t play with, accumulated low-cost cheap-labour-created utter rubbish. And then I started thinking about the food we waste at home (I know I don’t look like I waste food, but trust me – I/we do :-). And how angry I get about the recent Guantanamo news, or Ian Tomlinson’s inquiry, or whatever, but know that I actually DON’T DO ANYTHING. I carry on.

And I thought about these words from Tom Bailey:

Work less. Consume less. Live more. Amen…. just as soon as the obscenely large job is out of the way.

Brilliant words that sum up my behaviour entirely!

How I’d love to do that, in theory, I mused on reading those words. But really? Really? Really I don’t seem to want to. I want to work MORE, have MORE, I don’t even know what I’d do if I had more time – either try and start a business or ride my bike more (I’m quite happy with the amount of time I spend with my beloved family!!). I just don’t do idling very well. So I carry on.

And if I’m carrying on, and not doing everything I can to change the world, then I have to take some responsibility – I realised.

The reason I write this is because that’s not the vibe I get from the world around me.

We don’t seem to collectively believe that it’s our fault. It’s big business, or politicians or whoever. But it might as well be Martians. Because by damning them, we’re absolving ourselves of responsibility. We are thus made powerless victims, unless I’ve misunderstood.

There are people I know that do rail against and do expend every piece of their capacity and available resources at making a difference, and I have nothing but respect for them. But I can think of one person – only 1 – that really does this. But we’ve seen around the world people exerting their power and making changes – massive, previously unthinkable changes.

So I’m starting to wonder if it does all come back to us. If it is, actually, our fault. My fault. My responsibility. Maybe by not changing it, I might as well have created it. I own it. It’s mine, the way the world is.

It’s interesting for me to think like that. Maybe one day I’ll do something about it. Maybe we all will.

8 comments

  1. Libby Davy

    Um, yep. Me too. Ever heard the story about “People who buy stuff they don’t really need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t really want in their life?” Watch words indeed…

  2. Libby Davy

    ps – reading Peter Carey [The Illegal Child, following on years ago from Bliss (book and movie both essential] . Thinking of how he survived, nah thrived after, ad agency life and found his soul on the way through. Deep hippy living had a lot to do with it. Themes of Uber Urban / Hippy Fringe explored intensely, fantastically in both books.

    (hint hint)

    • will mcinnes

      Oooh this sounds good Libby, thank you 🙂 And yes, your watch words are mine too. It’s a slippery slope and I’m halfway down it! Thanks for chipping in.

  3. Matt Hill

    I believe it was Ghandi that said “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

    Easy to say. Very hard to do. Gotta start somewhere though.

    For every change you make, I’ll do the same. If we both get 1 other person to do the same, and get them to get one other person to do the same, etc, ….. it’s all achieveable…. isn’t it?

    • will mcinnes

      I totally agree Mr Hill. I do. Perhaps your way is the only way? Maybe the top down governments route will never work? In fact, almost certainly eh?! We have to do it. I am starting to try…

  4. Neil Hopkins

    Hi Will

    Great post – totally agree. I think part of the problem is the fact that changing the world is a remarkably big apple to take a bite from. We need to parcel it up into smaller pieces so that it’s managable.

    Hope you don’t see this as a thread hack, but I posted something slightly similar myself a while back (although it’s more along the marketing lines) – http://interacter.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/becoming-part-of-the-machine-or-how-they-are-actually-you/

    Personally, I think we need to start with the small things that we can change. If 100 people make a small change, that’s a large shift. if 10,000 people follow, that’s the beginning of a revolution…

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