Once again, last night I was told that the ideals I strive for are nothing but dreams and utopias that will never happen and therefore don’t matter, since what’s important is “reality” and how things actually work now, as if that has any relevance other than to determine what needs changing. The fact that pretty much everything we take for granted today was an impossible dream, or in some cases perhaps a nightmare, until somebody made it reality is, of course, entirely lost on people with this mindset, which unfortunately are the tremendous majority. After all, perhaps the most defining trait of being “normal” is apathy, accepting things as they are and not pushing against the current for a clear cause, whether due to not believing that anything better is possible or simply due to wanting others to take the risk and do the work instead.
The problem with that, of course, is that it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. It takes many, from all over the world, to make something major happen. One can’t do it alone, or with a hundred or a thousand or even ten thousand, but those who want to fight are few and scattered while those who won’t are billions, and all it takes to fight in favor of the status quo is to not actively fight against it. Those few at the top, who reap the benefits of the current state of affairs, share a part of the blame, but things are as they are mainly because of the billions who don’t actively fight for change, who tolerate the current situation instead of saying “this ends here, now” and acting on that statement. Their lack of action, their acceptance of the status quo, creates way more than the necessary critical mass in favor of the current conditions and renders the efforts of the few willing to fight next to useless. To use terms that are now widespread, the scheming of the 1% can be defeated, but the apathy of the 99% is a much tougher adversary.
There are, in fact, many ways to create change with sufficient people, but just to name a very obvious and effective one, is anyone honestly going to tell me that if a million people, not to mention more, would sit down one day in the middle of the capital of an European Union country, particularly one of the most important ones, or in the capital of Canada, or maybe that of Australia or even the United States, with a clearly stated and fair demand that would be not only in their best interest, or that of their friends and families, but in the best interest of the large majority of people and of the world as a whole, they’d be ignored? Of course, it’d be even better if this would happen in all of these countries, or even all over the world, but it may be enough if it’d happen in only one of them, especially if that million won’t include only citizens of the country in question, but people from all over the world, and at least a hundred or so from each developed country.
Now keep in mind that I’m not talking about regular protests, where there could be disagreements, nasty elements, agitators, excuses for the authorities to intervene. I’m also not talking about events with a schedule, showing up between this time and that time and then going back home. I’m talking about gathering that critical mass and having everyone just sit there on their butts, calmly, saying they’re not budging unless the powers that be figure out how to meet their demands, immediately and in full, and remaining there until they’d die of thirst and hunger if need be. So are you going to tell me that any of the countries I mentioned would ignore this, or that they’d dare to arrest, kill or let die a million or more, especially if many would be citizens of other countries, if they’d see that they have no way to make them budge or sway them with anything that falls even the tiniest bit short of meeting their demands?
As I said above, if that would be tried by small groups, and when it comes to truly major demands that’d require completely changing the way the world works even tens of thousands would still clearly be a small group, it’d be a complete waste, as at first they’d perhaps be ignored, and eventually they’d be arrested or mopped up one way or another. And, of course, there are parts of the world where even such large numbers may face a similar fate, regardless of the potential international consequences. But if a sufficiently large number of people would be sufficiently determined to do something like this in a country that definitely can’t afford to be blamed for a million or more corpses filling its streets, the authorities would probably try some of the usual tactics for the first couple of days, but then they, and all the others who currently maintain this system, will be forced to give in, fully and unconditionally.
What’s strange is that, for a clear pessimist, I sure seem to believe in the possibility of good things happening more than anyone else I ever talked to, as long as we’re talking about the very big picture. It’s true that, for example, some things can’t be done until their time comes, until we reach the level of technological development required, but it would seem to me that the time for many changes is now, and that one of those changes whose time has come is that which was the topic of the discussion that triggered this post, namely eliminating the finance-based system and the need to earn a living, offering everyone not proven guilty of a serious crime the healthy food, clean water, comfortable housing and quality medical attention required to survive at no cost and switching to a fair resource-based economy for everything else.
After all, contrary to popular belief, if something is as it is, it doesn’t mean it can’t be changed. Even if something has been more or less this way since the dawn of civilization, throughout nearly all significant human cultures, it doesn’t have to continue being like this in the future. Once again, everything’s impossible until it gets done by somebody who never heard or, more likely, never believed that… Though what’s most unfortunate is that every single person who doesn’t believe that something is possible makes the task of those who try to prove them wrong ever more difficult.
“Folks have been conned into thinking they can’t change the world, have to accept what is. I’ll tell you something my friends. The world is changing every day, the only question is who’s doing it.” (Reverend Will Dexter – Babylon 5)