Wisdom and power – In reality I can only change myself

The world we live in is quite large, separated by that which we perceive, and all the things that exist beyond our perceptions that interact peripherally to create the planet we call home. The universe in which this planet exists is even vaster. So vast that it is hard to comprehend how truly large it actually is.

The amount of energy required to make a subtle but pervading change to the whole universe is as infinite at the universe is. Even if the universe is finite, the energy requirement to modify a small pervasive thing is so much beyond our imaginations that we may as well call it impossible.

Attempting to make a pervasive change to the Earth is also far beyond my power. I can no more change the average gravity, change the time of the tides or make more time in each day than I can change the universe. It is just more than I or any other person can do. Even if it could be done, do we truly understand the consequences of what it is we achieve?

The power of my actions are singularly small, so the changes that I can make, despite all my efforts and all of my will are small. The larger the area that I attempt to affect, the greater the area that power is applied to, giving a smaller change per area average. So if I want to affect a great change, I must make that change to a small area.

Let us pretend that I was instantly teleported nakedly to another Earth like world with no sentient beings. Try not to get stuck on the naked part. I have no equipment and no society to fall back on. Is it possible for me to build a road across the continent? Is it possible for me to build a large damn and elicit hydroelectric power from it? Is it possible for me to make a computer such as I use to make calls from? Generally the answer will be no. The amount of change I can make on this new planet is minimal because my ability to make external changes is small.

The smallest most immediate area that I change is me. By will power alone I can actually change nothing. Only by adding action to my will can I effect change. Vice versa, action alone cannot make the changes that I want. Only by combining my will to my actions does the change become mine, and only by combining these two – will and action – can I affect change.

Like a complex fall of dominos can the change I create in myself inspire others to also change themselves, leading to a combined large effect. With many hands can I create a road across a continent; with many hands can I build a damn; or a portable computer.

If my will and action are aimed at changing many people, then the focus is poor and my chances of success are lousy. If I aim to change me such that I become something which inspires others, then I am closer to success.

For me, the greatest change is the will and action that makes me into what I consider to be good and practical for now and the future. If others are inspired by that, then well and good, and if they are not, then it makes no difference. My idea of good and practical may be different from yours and I should not expect you to blindly follow my lead. My goal for change is me, not you.

Perhaps there is some entity that has infinite power who can change things en-mass simply and easily. Asking such an entity to create a change on my behalf might work. I do not believe that I have the wisdom to understand the consequences of what I ask. My level of wisdom is now far exceeded by the power that I can influence. Many leaders have gained power to influence beyond their wisdom to choose and understand with devastating consequences. Perhaps such an entity would read the intent of my request and find a way to make the change such that there were no unintended ill consequences. I would wonder how much of what has occurred is because I have done it, rather than a powerful parent doing it for me.

Any changes that such a powerful entity performed on my behalf would not be mine, it would be theirs. I may be the domino that initially triggered the change, but I would not be the owner of that change. There would be a level of shared responsibility for the consequence, but my share would be minimal as the change that I made was minimal unless the entity had power and no wisdom, in which case I have really stumbled on a way to have super powers. The will was mine, the action I made was direct and the consequence was huge, even if I used a tool to acquire it. Such is the way with a gun or car. The gun or car is not evil or faulty, the user who knowingly uses it poorly is.

In summary, my level of power is small, which is good as my wisdom is small. My goal is to change myself to better suit my environment and indirectly that will change my environment to better suit myself. By combining my will and my actions, I can make these changes. My changes my trigger many others, but so long as these others are directed by wise people, they are responsible for what they do, not I. If I lead blind masses, then I am responsible and I hope that my wisdom matches my power.

Being more than an accident of birth

I spoke to my daughter today and thanked her for being my daughter. Her reply was to say “thanks, but I don’t actually have much of a choice in the matter, since you are my father.” Who taught her to be so smart?

I pointed out that she was biologically correct, however from my perspective that wasn’t quite the same thing.

For example, I am biologically a father because I managed to spawn a child. However what makes me a father is not the fact of managing to impregnate her mother (try not to think about it) but because I am in her life, being a father. How I interact with her is far more important than the mere fact of my presence or existence, which is far more important than a single point in time that lead to fertilisation.

In a similar way, I am grateful that my daughter was brought into this world, for who she is and who she has become. But I am also grateful for the role she plays in my life, for how she interacts with me as my daughter. I pointed out to her that she could choose to not be my daughter any more  She can’t change the biological fact of her DNA that leads to me, however she could say to her mother “I never want to see Dadda again”. She could refuse to talk to me any time that I am near, she could refuse to do anything that I ask and she could go out of her way to be problematic. Instead she chooses to see me, chooses to talk to me and listen to what I have to say and she does what she can to live harmoniously. It is these choices that I was thanking her for, as well as having allowed me to spawn a child process.

In these ways is she being more than an accident of birth.

Later that same day we were in a car park outside of a shopping centre. We heard a man open up the door to his car and yell out “SHUT UP!” at the top of his voice. My daughter and I looked at each other and said “not a father”.

There is an element of “True Scotsman” in this – a True Scotsman would never do X, this Scotsman has done X, therefore he is not a True Scotsman. The element is important to note, you are who you are (a truism) regardless of anything. Just don’t mistake that you were born as an excuse for the rest of your life. The decisions you make every day is who you choose to be rather than who you are by default. In this case I believe that what I am thanking my daughter for is the continual choices she is making rather than a biological fact.

Pro-actively Adapting to our Environment

Here in Australia we are currently experiencing the tail end of Summer. Where I live we have just experienced another heat wave. The ambient temperature (that is the temperature outside of ourselves) can affect our moods. When it is hot, we find ourselves more tired, less motivated and often skip meals. When it is cold, we may find ourselves depressed because cold usually happens in winter, which usually means less light, which prompts some of us towards hibernation. There’s nothing like sleeping in on a cold morning, hey?

People will react consistently to the same changes in temperature and light. However just because I react in a certain way doesn’t mean you will.

When we notice that we have changed, we are not helpless. Instead we must adapt to the changes. If you find that your appetite is suppressed, then you need to ensure that you eat consistent high energy and high nutritional meals, so that the decreased quantity does not affect your health.

If you find that you are not sleeping well, then work that into your routine as well. For example, if you are sleeping in small bursts, go to bed early so that your midnight wake up allows you enough time for a second sleep before you must get up for the day. If you are finding you sleep longer, then again go to bed earlier so that you can fit that in, and be rigid in getting up on time. If you find that you are not sleeping at all, ensure you have some down time where your body and mind can relax, even if you are not actually sleeping.

We live in our environment, and are affected by it. We must adapt to our environment as we cannot always adapt it to us. We must also adapt to how we have adapted to our environment, since to only react is to lose our selves.