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An Exceptionally Brief History of Civilisation
Let’s face it: the world is pretty fucked up.
From individual physical and mental health to international politics and the global economy, things aren’t exactly rosy.
But at a time of immense technological revolution, ground-breaking scientific breakthroughs and the absolute peak of human knowledge, can we not do better?
Let’s see what the fuck is going on.
To understand where we are today, understanding history is essential. It’s a huge subject, though, and can be pretty fucking dry at times. So, to take the edge off, here’s Going Rogue’s exceptionally brief history of civilisation.
Around about 10,000 year ago, some tribes of hard as nails hunter-gatherers figured out, they could plant crops, such as wheat, and domesticate animals, such as goats. This meant they could stop pilfering one area and having to move on, and instead could chill the fuck out and make their own food. Goat: the original fakeaway. (1, 2)
Since there weren’t as many treacherous journeys wandering into wolf territory, and, since food became abundant, the OG Granma obviously used to put on mega spreads. This led to bigger and bigger tribes. Win-win, right?
More people meant more mouths to feed, though, which meant more crops were needed, which meant more people to work the land, which meant more mouths to feed. What a headfuck.
This feedback loop meant human population began to rise significantly for the first time. It also marked the start of a struggle between chilled out farmers who just wanted to plant their wheat and tend their goats, and nomadic tribes who wanted to roam freely but also wanted to dig into some goat sandwiches every now and then. (But were about 7,000 years too early for the lunchtime special at the Toby.)
Over time, farmers figured there’s strength in numbers, so bigger and bigger tribes grouped together, eventually figuring out how to control rivers and build irrigation systems to become the true GOAT farmers. (I couldn’t help it.)
Next, some savvy farmers figured that creating large irrigation systems would help all the farmers, but someone had to do the work to build and tend to the system. So, by taking a few dry goat sandwiches from each farmer, specialist workers could focus on the irrigation system. And just like that, shared interest was born, and with it, ultimately, the First Estate (the government). (3)
The thing is: growth continued. So, the Godfarmer who ran the irrigation system continued to create more for the farmers. One of the first developments was thought to be shared religious spaces, temples where people could begin to ‘specialise’ in religion. And so, the Second Estate was born (the clergy).
(The third estate became the peasants. Isn’t it a proper government thing to do to come along all second, start creating estates and shit, begin at one and tell the OG farmers that they come last?)
Over time, as farmers became poor or tight-fisted, the Godfarmer, much like all good, loving governments do, enforced his civilised ways onto the farmers using violence. This will have meant people specialising in violence for the first time, not just for self-preservation.
Now, whether the farmers wanted to or not, they no longer had the upper hand. What was intended to make life better, farming the land and raising a few goats, had made things inconceivably more complex.
As time went on, settlements became villages, villages became cities, and cities became great empires.
But empires rise and fall.
From the Akkadian in ancient Mesopotamia, to the Egyptians and Romans, to the more recent colonial empires such as the French and British Empires–each empire brought as much human progress as it did tyranny.
Nation states as we know them today are a relatively new phenomenon. England started the ball rolling by establishing the commonwealth in 1649, starting the transition of power from the monarch to the government, but proper nation states as we know them now weren’t really defined until the late 18th century. That’s around 250 years out of 10,000 years of ‘civilization’ that we’ve lived in nation states. (4)
Putting that into perspective, if you lived to be 78, and your life was equated to our civilised history, modern nation states would come along shortly after your 76th birthday.
The main point in the history lesson is this: civilization is a new-born baby on the global stage. Its purpose is to make things better, but it is still growing and finding its way. And nation states have only been here for the blink of an eye. They aren’t guaranteed to be here forever, and arguably they’re already showing symptoms that they won’t be here that much longer. (5)
Life has one primary goal, from which all other goals are born: to survive. That’s why we eat, sleep, breathe, work and fuck.
It’s also why we, like all living things, have self-interest. We need to take care of ourselves to ensure our survival. The problem comes when that self-interest isn’t balanced with the system we’re a part of.
We live in a world of shared finite resources but an economic system with a target of perpetual growth. These are obviously at odds with one another, which leads to immense levels of inequality and a pilfering of the system for individual gains.
The tragedy of the commons is where individuals act independently and according to their own self-interest, but through their collective action they deplete or spoil the resources for everyone, including themselves.
Imagine a lake with 100k fish. Each month, 5k new fish are born and 500 fishermen use the lake.
Each fisherman knows this, and they know they can take 10 fish per month forever. Over a lifetime (50 years fishing), that’s 6000 fish per fisherman, and the lake will still have 100k fish remaining in it for their children and grandchildren, for each successive generation–until the end of time. (Well, until the sun engulfs the Earth, but you get the picture.)
But each fisherman has no way to know the others are only taking their 10 fish share. So, acting out of self-interest, they make sure they look after themselves, as that’s the only way to guarantee they don’t lose out as others prosper. They don’t want to totally take the piss. So, they only take double. 20 fish. Who can argue with that?
The result of this would be a lake without fish within 15 months, each fisherman getting a total of 296 fish each before it was totally empty. The fish, having taken billions of years to evolve, will never grace the lifeless lake again.
This is, of course, currently happening on a global level.
Our seas are destined to become fishless before 2050 (6) and in just the last 50 years we’ve wiped out 60% of animal life (7). The water we drink is loaded with enough microplastics that us, our parents and our children all swallow up to a credit card’s worth of plastic every week, whether we drink tap water or bottled water (8). And, as rising sea levels and extreme weather events create over a billion climate refugees, things aren’t exactly set to improve (9).
2020 was a pretty shit year by any standard.
Political destabilisation, both globally and in leading democratic countries, rampant wildfires, the worst on record, a global pandemic leading to a second pandemic of misinformation, and economic collapse that will shake the world for years to come.
What if all of these things were somehow connected?
What I didn’t tell you about the rise of nation states is what factors came together that made them possible.
The 19th century was a hotbed of instability. Political instability led to the government reform act (previously less than 3% of the population could vote), industrial revolution brought about unprecedented prosperity, urbanisation and social reform created the modern working class and social pressure lead to the abolition of slavery. More changed in 50 years than had for the previous 500.
We are currently on the verge of the next iteration.
Today, if the government took away the rights of 97% of the population, there’d be riots and revolution. But 200 years ago, that was standard. (10)
The Overton window is the name given to the set of ideas that the public feel is acceptable at any time. This, of course, changes over time.
Some people drive these changes, via activism, art and anything they can muster. Other people resist the changes, screaming that things should stay the way they are. Others again want to move things back in time, creating a golden age that is barely even a memory anymore.
When it comes to progress, though, once the cat is out the bag, putting it back in is difficult. That’s why societies tend to get better, fairer and more progressive over time. (11)
Right now, political instability is rife as the population becomes pissed off with the limitations of capitalism and democracy. The ongoing technological revolution has created a world where more is possible than ever before, giving people the power to evoke change via developments such as the internet and cryptocurrency. Systems are collapsing around us: political, financial, ecological and social.
Things are on the move. Where they move, and which way the window goes, will be determined in the coming years and decades.
Our political, financial and social systems are simply ideas in our collective minds, the best way we’ve managed to organise humans so far for the greatest good. They can change, falter and be replaced with other systems and the world moves on.
Nature is different. Nature has evolved over billions of years into a synergistic and complementary system that is beyond our full understanding and way beyond our ability to truly replicate. Each link in the food chain is important, each species serves its role in the whole.
We seem to think we can detach from the natural world and still thrive. The truth of the matter is that no matter how far we stray, we can never escape nature. We are nature. Our psychological detachment from nature just separates us from its immense benefits. (12)
Currently, a felled tree is worth more than a living one. But that’s not the real value of nature. The value of nature is unquantifiable. It provides us the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we irrigate our crops with. (13)
Whichever way we look at it – the natural world is essential to the health and prosperity of the planet we live on. And we’re destroying it.
You might feel, like many, that there’s fuck all you can do to stop any of this fuckery. That one person doesn’t stand a chance. But that really isn’t the case.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the butterfly effect. The theory that everything is so connected that a butterfly could flap its wings in Brazil and create a ripple effect that causes a tornado in Texas. This is based on chaos theory, a mathematical headfuck that shows how complex systems produce ordered events. (14)
The idea isn’t that the butterfly alone powers the tornado–but that the butterfly plays a part in creating a situation whereby the tornado would come about. Without the butterfly, the set of events would be different, and the tornado may not have happened.
This is what happens in complex systems. They’re unpredictable, and each little part contributes to the whole in potentially massive ways.
The earth is a complex system of complex systems. And you are the butterfly. Whether you want to or not, your role in the whole is now unavoidable. For years and years, your actions have changed the world. This is absolutely undeniable. And, for years to come they’ll change the world, too.
The world will literally never be the same again because you were born.
The theory of six degrees of separation claims that you’re only ever six connections away from anyone else on the planet. And it’s more or less correct. (15)
That means you could get a letter to the queen if five consecutive people agreed to pass the letter on.
To understand how interconnected the world must be for every single person to have connections that are only six deep before reaching every other person is a surreal headfuck. Trying to draw that on the back of a cigarette box would be a right fuck on.
What it means though, is that the ripple effect from your actions can very quickly spread around the globe. Nobody, not even Lizzie, is separated from the whole.
That’s why self-interest without system-interest is so misguided. We prioritise ourselves at the cost of the world, not realising that the weaker the world gets, the weaker we are, since we are inescapably a part of it.
You can’t weaken one end of a spider’s web without weakening the web itself. By destroying the system we’re a part of, we are destroying ourselves.
The internet has fuelled debates over morality: what is truly right and what is truly wrong. But these debates have raged in philosophy for millennia, and still do.
I believe that there exists both objective and subjective morality.
That is, morality that is universal (objective), such as everyone agreeing that hurting someone for no reason is wrong, and morality that only some people believe (subjective), such as whether abortion is right or wrong.
Subjective morality, then, since it differs between two people, must be based around belief systems. But since belief systems are simply maps for the world, they cannot provide morality alone. They can only distort reality enough to create false, subjective morality.
In this instance, there is an objective truth that has been distorted by the different belief systems between two people. As such, if the pro-choicer and the pro-lifer swapped belief systems, their subjective morality would change.
Does this mean that both are bullshit? No, I believe it means that when this happens, one has rational grounds, and the other has been conditioned into morality that is belief-dependant. Therefore, there must be an objective standard for morality. And, the only way I can understand it, there is: to minimise harm or maximise benefit.
This opens many more debates that are beyond what we need to address here, but my point is this: there is a genuine right and wrong that isn’t dependant on opinions.
Some people will have you believe that their opinion matters as much as objective truth. That simply isn’t the case. Since separation is a myth, and we’re all in one chaotic and complex system, net harm, or net benefit, are the only ways to determine what is ultimately good, and what is ultimately evil.
The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice
Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King said this on the civil rights movement in 1968. He was quoting Theodore Parker who said the same thing over 100 years earlier when predicting the end of slavery. It’s without doubt one of my favourite quotes.
It’s also dangerous without context.
In his headfuck of a book, What If We’re Wrong, Chuck Klosterman explores the changing nature of the world, looking at the present as it might be seen in hundreds of years. The book helps us understand we’d be naïve if we thought things would look remotely like they do today, or if we thought things were ever constant. They’re not.
The direction of the change is the central question of the book, and the premise is this: we have no fucking idea. The second we think we do, we’re probably more wrong than ever.
Conspiracy theorists will have you believe that the world is ran by nefarious elites who worship Satan and drink the blood of scared children. Believing this, of course, absolves them of any responsibility to change things. They can shrug and claim ‘they’ are all powerful, and that nothing can stop them.
The truth is much scarier: nobody is sailing this ship.
The world is too large and complex with too many different, competing interests that it is impossible for any one party or group to control. Understanding the systems in place both in corporations and governments easily shows this.
What is happening is almost eight billion people looking out for themselves and their own interests in a shared-resource system.
If objective morality is defined by maximising the net benefit (or minimizing net harm), then there must be a consideration towards the system over the individual to ensure a moral society.
Instead, in our system governed by self-interest, those in positions of power are simply looking out for their interests at the cost of the system. They aren’t evil, they’re just doing the same as we do: taking care of themselves. They just have the ability to take much, much, more.
The problem is, by them taking from the system in unsustainable ways, this maximises net harm and therefore minimises moral good.
Evil is rarely what it is in films and books. Evil is simply unrestricted self-interest. It’s corporations killing our planet to add an extra zero to their bank balance while the rest of us eat plastic and feel guilty about it.
If I asked you who had the power to change things, who would you say? Politicians? Corporations? Billionaires?
Politicians only enact the will of the people. If a majority government is voted into power, they’re morally bound by their manifesto. The manifest is their proposition on which the people vote. Therefore, the people determine what politicians can and can’t do.
Corporations exist for one primary purpose: to make money. They make this from from people. Heinz are the biggest baked beans supplier in the UK, their market share is in the region of 70% (16). If everyone decided tomorrow to stop buying Heinz in favour of Branston, Heinz would eventually have to stop making baked beans.
Billionaires hold more power than anyone else. Money gets shit done. But even billionaires have their limits. First, the vast majority of their wealth is held in the form of assets, majorly corporations (17). We’ve just seen who really controls the corporations. And their influence is bound by the same laws as ours. And we’ve just seen who controls the laws.
What I’m obviously getting at here is the myth that power only resides with the big players. It doesn’t. The people, via social pressure, have influenced society far more than individuals, politicians or corporations.
It was social pressure that led to the abolition of slavery, women’s rights, civil rights and more recently LGBTQ+ rights. Around the world, there are countless more examples from history, and many struggles are ongoing.
Researchers have even shown that once at least 3.5% of the population are truly engaged and come together behind a cause, change is inevitable. From studying 323 campaigns from around the world, in those where engagement passed 3.5% of the population, every single one of them led to success. (18)
Without effort, those who are only governed by self-interest will continue to rape, pillage and pilfer our planet until our world is so polluted and destroyed that our children and grandchildren will never forgive us.
Without work, evil triumphs. With work, justice will. That’s the context Martin Luther King’s quote needs.
One reason many people don’t give much of a fuck about problems outside their own life is that there’s so much to enjoy in life. Why waste it chasing something as trivial as progress? (sarcasm intended.)
Sex, intoxication, junk food and limitless amounts of entertainment in any form you can think of–life in the 21stcentury is a hedonistic paradise.
But as Nir Eyal points out in his book, Indistractible, we’re pretty poorly wired for hedonism alone. Eyal explains that boredom, alongside something called hedonic adaptation, makes it almost impossible to satisfy us with hedonism alone.
You’ll know this already. That’s why when we actually get what we want, it’s never quite as good as we expected and we’re quickly looking for the next thing. And even the things that blow us away, we’re still pretty quickly back on level ground looking for our next kick. (19)
Finding deeper purpose in doing work that means something to you is the answer to this problem. Instead of constantly chasing highs, having purpose can drive you and keep you motivated consistently, giving you something to lighten the load of being human.
And fuck, hedonism doesn’t go away. You get to have both.
Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.
So far, I’ve told you that the world is forever changing, that it’s currently looking pretty fucked, that we’re at a crossroads where we can go any direction, that without work, relying on self-interest, it’s going to continue to get worse, but with work it’ll become better.
Still, this isn’t the biggest reason for you to want to change the world. You are.
Let’s pretend the world is hunky dory and there’s fuck all to worry about. Instead of focusing on the world, let’s focus on you. Yes, you, you sexy fucker.
Existentialism deals with what it means to exist as a human being. In it, there are four pillars of existence: isolation, responsibility, meaning and death. (20)
Death isn’t something we can bargain or barter with. It remains immovable and unflinching, but I believe the best way to come to terms with it is by making the other three really fucking count. The saying goes: you only live once, but if you do it well, that’s enough. Living an exceptional life is the only way to fight back against the inevitable ticking of time
Let’s look at the other three and let me ask you a question about each.
Isolation refers to the fact that your experience is strictly your own. Nobody else feels your feelings, has your thoughts or experiences life the same way you do. And nobody can.
This can make life overwhelming at times, and we’ve all had moments where we’ve though: nobody understands.
Forming meaningful connections can obviously help with this issue. The deeper and more meaningful the connection, the better.
Is there a better way to connect with others and give isolation the finger than to work towards an important, shared goal based on deep and conscious values?
Responsibility here refers to the fact that life happens to us all, for seemingly random reason events occur in our lives that are way out of our control, but ultimately, whether we like it or not, we have the responsibility of dealing with the consequences.
Responsibility also means freedom – we get to choose our path through this life.
But as we’ve explored, we exist in an interconnected web of events that can have profound and far-reaching consequences.
So, simultaneously, we have to deal with our shit, but our shit is impacted by everyone else’s shit.
Wouldn’t changing the world, then, be the right thing to do to improve our own situation even if the rest of it didn’t matter?
Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist and philosopher, as well as being a holocaust survivor. In his legendary book, Man’s Search for Meaning, he recounts his experiences in different concentration camps and lays the foundation for his theory of Logotherapy.
What Frankl realised was that it wasn’t the strongest or the fittest that survived the concentration camps, but the ones who found meaning in their suffering.
Those who had wives or children they swore to find, or those whose spirit, the sheer act of surviving, meant something.
Frankl didn’t outline something new of course. The notion of purpose is littered through ancient philosophy and religion, from Buddhism (called dharma) to Sufism (being of service), the idea that by attaching ourselves to something bigger that we are, we’ll find meaning in life.
Is there any bigger question that the meaning of life?
Finding some grand purpose is the answer to both the evil in the world, and the sadness in your soul.
What that purpose looks like, that’s where shit gets interesting.
In an intrinsically meaningless universe, it is up to people to create meaning for themselves. Some do so through having children, purposeful work, loving relationships, leisurely pursuits, artistic expression, acquiring power and wealth, or any other method or manner they can find that gives them a raison d’etre.
Dr Clifford Lazarus
What society will accept changes over time.
Everything is deeply connected.
Objective morality does exist.
Self-interest, without systemic interest, is immoral.
The arc of the moral universe bends towards justice because people dedicate their lives to ensuring it does.
Purpose is the antidote to the human condition.
To become a real force for change, the superpower you’re going to need is empathy.
Human’s aren’t all that different. We all just want safety, comfort, acceptance, love, connection and recognition. Still, these desires manifest in some superbly fucked up ways.
By being empathetic, you can understand that underneath the fuckery of other people there is a human being ruled by fear or pain. Their lashing out is just because they aren’t able to handle the responsibility of living their own life well.
Being able to understand this can give you insane levels of peace in your own life, and also help you considerably in changing the world.
If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him… We need not wait to see what others do.
The rather lengthy quote is what has been famously paraphrased to “be the change you wish to see in the world.” I prefer the original, though. It highlights everything that this step is trying to outline.
By embodying what is lacking in the world, we can move the world a small way closer to that outcome. If everyone done the same, the world would be healed.
Becoming the change is the ultimate first step. If the world is cruel, you can’t improve it with a cruel mindset. And by becoming the change, you give others the permission to do so too.
Imagine there was a lighthouse that always showed you the way in life. Imagine it showed you exactly what was possible for humans to achieve. Something that lit up in times of doubt to show clearly and brightly that doing the right thing was possible.
Now imagine that lighthouse isn’t a lighthouse but a person.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Becoming a lighthouse means throwing off the shackles of fear that our narrow and sick society has placed on us and living to our fullest potential. In doing so, we not only give others permission to do the same, but we inspire them to as well.
The purpose of life is finding the largest burden that you can bear and bearing it.
Going Rogue deals with a lot. The idea is that we first fix our own fuckery and then we move on to help fix other fuckery outside of ourself.
I like to think of this process in terms of concentric circles:
We need to sort our own shit out before we try fucking with the world, otherwise sooner or later our own shit is going to pull us down.
On the other hand, strength in one circle gives you more chance of improving the next circle.
Having control of your mental and physical health so you can be the best version of you means you can show up better in your relationships. Having strong relationships gives you the power to influence your community. Being part of a thriving community allows you more leverage to change the world.
But what do I mean exactly when I say change the world?
It starts with being a good fucking human. (Different from fucking a good human being, but almost as much fun.)
If each of us took care of our own side of the road, the world wouldn’t be in such a mess to begin with.
And yes, in spite of what some fuckwit may have told you to justify their shitty behaviour, being a good person doesn’t change that much person to person. The way I see it, these three points should see you alright.
These are ideals, and you won’t always embody them 100%. But by following these as best you can, you’ll not only considerably improve your own life, but you’ll improve the world significantly too.
Kindness tastes like sugar. Judgement tastes like shit. It doesn’t matter how you cut it; this is the only way to live a good fucking life.
What’s more, if everyone followed this advice the world would be free from every single problem we have, and there’d be no need to write this behemoth of an article.
I believe the overwhelming majority of people are good people deep down, but that the overwhelming majority also become fucked up. They carry with them a whole cacophony of fuckery that combines to make a great big layer cake of fuckery.
Most people never take the time to understand these levels of fuckery. If you have, that puts you in an immense position to begin helping others, too.
This is the concept of the Going Rogue journey, of course. To share what I’ve learned so far on my journey to help others on theirs.
This concept of developing insights and sharing them is as old as the scriptures and most notably the path of the Bodhisattva in Buddhism. If you feel this journey has helped improve your life in some way, sharing it with others is a gift beyond anything you can buy.
This can be done in any number of ways. By just showing up in your relationships and demonstrating the three points above, your action will inspire others to do the same. People rise and fall to the level of their relationships; this can inspire those around you to rise.
There’s so much to be done at local levels. From setting up a beach clean, to helping at your local food bank, to checking in on your elderly neighbours, to volunteering your time to charity events, to hosting local fundraisers, etc.
It can also mean helping with the local sports team, getting involved in community projects, building a network of local businesses, working with local government, etc.
There are no hard and fast rules other than the intention to make a difference where you feel is important, and the effort you put in. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
Digital communities are another way to change the world. You can build your own community around something that matters to you or join and contribute towards one that speaks to you. You don’t need to lead, not everybody wants to, but knowing that you can lead is important. Your limitations are what you determine them to be.
One area digital communities are thriving is where creativity is concerned. By creating art, not only do you express your humanity, but you share your humanity with others in a way that enriches society as a whole.
Art can be drawing or painting, digital design or fashion, but it can also take the form of music, filmmaking, poetry, writing short stories, dance, etc.
You can even create a new artform by blending two or more concepts that are unique to your own life. Paint with your dog, remix your kid’s first words into a music track, dance with trees that blow in the wind, design a clothing range using a computer algorithm.
By now, you get the picture. Express yourself.
No catchy titles here. You, your circle, your community, and your planet. That’s because these things are yours, and they’re yours to take personally.
Global goals are goals that move society as a whole towards some better future.
These are mammoth tasks that span a head-spinning array of topics from misinformation, to underrepresentation of minorities, to global inequality, climate change, habitat destruction, virus and disease control, overpopulation, the list goes on, and on, and on.
This is a moment. Right now, the world battles COVID-19. There’s shitloads to be done just in that area alone.
Will all of these problems likely be overcome entirely in our lifetime? I doubt it. Is this a path to glory? No. Is fame and fortune promised? Fuck no.
The essence of getting involved in these tasks lies deep at the heart of how societies function.
Today, the way our systems function is a direct result of the incremental changes over the millennia, one layer of progress laid on top of the last towards some common goal. And as such, the society of tomorrow will be shaped by our choices and actions today.
We live in the most comfortable and free society in the history of the known universe simply because previous generations didn’t stop fighting for what was right and just.
They key to achieving difficult things is leverage.
Traditionally, leverage can help you move a big object with relatively little force. But there’s lots of different things you can leverage, such as money, networks, technology, education and attention.
These tools can allow you to move huge things, such as societies, with small things, such as computers.
Sometimes, it’s just a case of trying and trying until eventually things give way. Like opening a jar, the first person always loosens it for the second.
Other times, the right combination of events need to occur for truly magical things to be possible, and then you need to act at just the right time.
The key in both situations is leverage. When it came to opening the jar, the second person leveraged the work done by the first. When it comes to getting the timing right, the person in the arena, ready to strike, having done the work on themselves and their other circles is able to leverage the right combination of events.
There is much work to be done. You only need to choose where to begin.
Changing the world isn’t about sacrificing yourself and living a life of destitution – you can change the world and life a good fucking life at the same time. In fact, I believe living a good life and changing the world for the better are two sides of the same coin.
The Japanese, being the brilliant fuckers that they are, have developed a very elegant way to look at this.
This is the holy grail of purpose. It’s the big one. And we all know people who’ve found themselves their ikigai and we’re jealous as fuck really happy for them.
Will everyone find one single sweet spot that fulfils their ikigai? Probably not.
Does that mean that one doesn’t exist? No, does it fuck.
We live in a time where you can literally carve a job out as anything from an emoji translator to someone who creates chewing gum that cleanses your chakras. If there was a time for ikigai to flourish, now would be it.
But many people choose a different way. They choose to complement a mission with a profession, or a passion with a vocation.
This way, you achieve the same four objectives: enjoy life, improve the world, get paid and do work you’re good at. You just do them in two separate areas.
One example could be working an office job (profession) and volunteering in your community (mission).
Another way could be working as a nurse in your day job (vocation) and creating music in your spare time (passion).
The less fucked up you become, the more fucked up the world seems.
This is what I call the growth hangover. And, if you’re not careful, one of two things can happen: you can let the world’s fuckedupness drive you back into old patterns so you feel more comfortable, or you can become bitter at the world for the way it is and switch off completely from living a good life.
There’s a third choice here: you can change the world.
Renegades, mavericks and rogues have changed the world countless times before and they will again. They are moving right now, all over the world, playing the game of life and changing the world.
Right now, there are changes afoot. And I know there’s a growing desire to contribute to what those changes look like. Consider this a formal invitation to join the private Facebook group, We Are Going Rogue.
The group is simply a safe and convenient way to look at what work needs done. There are no obligations or commitments, it is simply an open forum to discuss all things Going Rogue.
This is about creating a better world, but also creating a better life.
It’s not about numbers. Three driven people can achieve more than three thousand unmotivated people. It’s about opening dialogue and beginning to figure out where we can apply leverage to make sure the arc of the moral universe bends the right way.
There are other ways to change the world. But one way to find leverage is in numbers and joining together to make changes happen gives us more chance of success.
I’m not looking for conformists. I want those who see the beauty in the world and have a deep desire for more of that beauty but recognise that there is a fuckload of work to be done, too.
It is invisible and invite-only, so if you’re interested please get in touch.
This step is a personal one. I can’t decide what your purpose should be. Hunter S Thompson puts it best in his famous letter to his friend. (21)
You ask advice: ah, what a very human and very dangerous thing to do! For to give advice to a man who asks what to do with his life implies something very close to egomania. To presume to point a man to the right and ultimate goal— to point with a trembling finger in the RIGHT direction is something only a fool would take upon himself.
Your purpose is determined by you and you alone. This step is simply my best way of explaining things the way I see them.
By examining the concentric circles above honestly, you’ll get a good idea as to where you might want to apply yourself. The beauty is that the options are pretty much limitless.
Here are some questions to help you get a handle on things.
Step 1: You
Step 2: Your Circle
Step 3: Your Community
Step 4: Your Planet
Finding your purpose, your reason for being here, is your ultimate responsibility as a human being. No matter what you do, you’ve already changed the world by just being in it. It’s time to think about what you want that change to look like.
What society will accept changes over time.
Everything is deeply connected.
Objective morality does exist.
Self-interest, without systemic interest, is immoral.
The arc of the moral universe bends towards justice, because people dedicate their lives to ensuring it does.
Purpose is the antidote to the human condition.
Becoming a lighthouse for others can change the world.
Empathy, kindness and acceptance can change the world.
Contributing to your community can change the world.
True self-expression can change the world.
Make no mistake, the world is our responsibility.
Leverage is the key to changing the world.
1: Early human life 2: Early human social life 3: Much of this is taken from Andrew Marr’s History of the World audiobook 4: The rise of nation states 5: The Demise of Nation States 6: Fishless oceans by 2048 7: 60% of animals wiped out since 1970 8: We ingest up to 5g of plastic each week 9: Up to 1 billion climate refugees by 2050 10: The Great Reform Act and the right to vote 11: Societies improve in the long run 12: Tuning in to the Earth’s Natural Rhythm 13: Human life depends on nature 14: The butterfly effect 15: Six degrees of separation 16: Heinz, the baked beans king 17: Where billionaires keep their money 18: The 3.5% rule for activism 19: Hedonic adaptation 20: The four pillars of existentialism 21: Hunter S Thompson’s letter