“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
— Margaret Mead
Recently, I watched two documentaries (The Cove and The Yes Men Fix the World) that, although covering different issues, bring to light the same sort of behavior that is the root for many of our present day issues: from pollution to poverty and social differences, from child abuse to health research (or lack of thereof), it all boils down to one fundamental problem: people who are willing to lie, to manipulate, and to do whatever it takes to make us believe they are doing the best they can, while they are only thinking about their own well-being, and most of all, their own financial wealth. But can we be so easily fooled? Can people be so easily manipulated in an era where access to information is so easy?
“My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She said that achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is in you. Success is being praised by others. That is nice but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about success.”
Just read A social-cognitive approach to motivation and personality (Dweck & Legget, 1988) and found the authors’ approach very interesting. The paper describes how personality factors (implicit theories) and motivation (goals) impact the two major patterns of cognitive-affect-behavior (helpless response vs. mastery-oriented response).
I found this video very interesting, educational and fun. It goes beyond a merely informational standpoint: it generates interest, and appeals to people who would probably not be motivated to read about the topic.
Is it worth striving for an empathic civilization? I believe so. It is certainly not an easy task, in fact it might be quite difficult to do so. Our society and culture have taught us to be individualist beings, to look out for ourself and “ours”, and to approach those who are not part of our “tribe” with suspicion. To a certain degree, we cannot expect perfection, that would be an ideal. But to raise children and educate people in a way that they become responsible, aware and conscious beings can impact not only individuals, but also our societies, our environment, and our planet.
I believe people work with what is given to them. Expecting little from people will, more often than not, result in poor development and lower expectations about oneself. Increasing your expectations on what people can do, will give them room and drive to try to do and be better than they are, than what their parents were, than what society has told them to be.