Accept nothing. Change everything?
Muse #506 - Really?
This was the billboard from the Toronto Star our local newspaper advertising themselves.
When you accept nothing. You change everything.
Truth we need for the world we want — Toronto Star
At the offset initially, it seemed to be an excellent idea to me. But on deeper consideration, this seemed to be an extremely flawed idea. Why?
I am a change agent helping facilitate change for a living. I have a healthy dose of skepticism and often look at the world through a dystopian lens. Yes, it helps that we accept nothing. But accept nothing at all? That seems a little too egoistic, isn’t it? That nothing should be accepted. There is a lot of good I see in the world. In my work, there are people giving their best every day. In complex systems, especially human systems I have learned that the best is to look for the positive and accentuate or amplify it. And de—accentuate or de-amplify the negative. That is how change happens.
One does not change everything. We change only what needs to be changed, within the constraints of what could be changed at that point in time.
So with deeper analysis, I find that the journalistic approach of the Toronto Star is flawed. Questions and curiosity are important to understanding. When we do that we don’t accept a few things and we do accept a lot of things that are worth accepting. Worth repeating. Worth spreading. Worth amplifying. I am very wary of the journalist truth that they are referring to in those adverts. That “truth” and its biases are a big part of the problem in the world today. Irrespective of the news network.
And we certainly don’t change everything, just for the sake of changing everything. That is a recipe for disorder and chaos. We humans like predictability, calmness, and peacefulness. It is not required to stir every pot continuously. We can let a lot of things be. They are fine as they are. Without being meddled. Especially by journalists who want to self-perpetuate most problems, so that they could be in business - and survive as a clan.
Change for those things worth changing for the better should be enough. And we can even do it without the journalists and news networks in the middle bartering it - they are very much more part of the problem rather than the solution. Many a problem could be better solved without additional folks stirring the pot and creating conflict and confusion. But I know that is too much to ask in this media-crazy (or crazy-media) world that we live in today.
In the illusionary hope for the much simpler times… when things weren’t this way.
My revised rewrite of the quote:
Don’t accept unnecessary pain and suffering that are worth removing and alleviating. Act to take a stand and to help change those things for the better.
— Srikanth Ramanujam
Say a big “No” to the Toronto Star adverts. Don’t fall for that journalistic self-fulfilling trap BS.