Throughout my short life I have come across many potentially powerful people in terms of influence across the world. Woup, actually, ‘across the world’ was a stumbling stone that made the conversations interesting, or better even – conflicting.
I will never forget a conversation I had with this guy… Friend of mine but let’s call him ‘a guy’.
You know this person who naturally has a strong voice? Someone who the crowds automatically follow and do not question? Have you met anyone that has a gift to influence & impact people positively?
Imagine that person. You have it? Good.
Now, imagine that same person, a good friend of yours, comes up to you one day and tells you: I’m done. This makes no sense. I just cannot make a difference.
Well, this exact thing happened to me. And I was angry at him. For giving up. For taking the passive stance. But at the time I didn’t have enough arguments for why should he just keep on doing his thing. And still, upon recently I was out of adequate vocabulary until my dear friend sent me a video that exemplified all too well a point I tried to make.
*(If you don’t know who Jordan Peterson is and are just a tiny bit curious about life circumstances, check his videos. Start from somewhere. And be ready for a crazy ride.)*
What is he talking about? Gaining self-respect and confidence. Could be. I looked at it from another perspective. Power of a single actor, word and an action. How can we reach masses? When he said it, it seemed too obvious and easy. It is about a NETWORK. Connections. We are social beings. Each one of us relates to another person, or a dozen, hundred, thousand people. And this is exactly where ‘the guy’ was wrong. Let me break this to you… If you have 100 friends, and half of them like your message and spread it (50), supposing that each one of them has 100 friends of their own that equals 5000 brains receiving a message upon which they could decide whether to spread it or not. Let’s say that 1/3 decides to tell it to 5 of their friends –> 1666 x 5 = 8330 If 1/3 of these like the message and spread it… Ok I think you got it.
Let me give you some more examples:
- X: Hey, so why don’t you eat meat?
- Y: Because I think it’s bad for the environment, animals and ultimately for myself.
- X: Bah, so what is one vegeterian gonna change?
- X: Hey Y, how about we start recycling today?
- Y: I mean, it’s good to recycle but what sense does it make that we do it if many people don’t? And in the end they throw everything at the same place. Really pointless…
Same thing applies. One person doing something exemplifies the point to other people who may choose to follow with the example, or not. And I’m not even talking about the self-concept that is being developed by choosing to do what you feel morally obligated to…
Another example to finish up:
You’re in a meeting. The issue is being discussed. You contribute your opinions by suggesting A. They say: “Oh, very well Pepita. That sounds interesting. … What about doing B?”, so you leave the meeting feeling angry and worthless because they chose B and haven’t taken into consideration A. But B is actually AB. Because it came after your suggestion. Your contribution made a re-route in the meeting. To what extent, it doesn’t matter. Even if B is very different to A, the fact is that B came after A was suggested. It is a chain of events, one affects another. On the way to the decision many factors were taken into consideration and each input counted. IT MATTERS. Everything you say matters. Everything you do matters. Slightly changing the route may end up with a completely different destination by the end of the trip.
So say, contradict, add, expand, modify. But just do it. Your opinion matters. Your words matter. Your actions change.
There is only one thing worse than not speaking up. And that is to tell lies. Lies condemn, damage and hurt people and yourself. At one point or another. There is only a small number of variables you can control in your life. One of them is what you say or what you do. So you might as well do it properly. It’s your right, as long as it doesn’t overstep other people’s rights.
And here we enter the limitations world, one that I’d like to support talking about theories. I’ll be quick and clear. Stay put.
Determinism vs Free will
The determinist approach proposes that all behavior has a cause and is thus predictable. Free will is an illusion, and our behaviour is governed by internal or external forces over which we have no control.
It postulates that all our actions are a direct cause of external factors: environment, society and circumstances. That is hard determinism that was first developed by Skinner and behaviourism models. All the behaviour can be explained and predicted, that is to say, if in time T with influence I1 happens H then always in the combination T + I1 = H. This would make it easy to predict human behaviour. The middle point would be soft-determinism. It suggests that some behaviours are more constrained than others and that there is an element of free will in all behavior. Determinism says that everything happens for a reason, as a cause of a chain of events.
Free will talks about human agent being in total control of their actions. On the scientific level, it’s about quantum-mechanical unpredictability (look up Dr Quantum – Double Slit Experiment on YouTube!). On the psychological level, consciousness testifies to our moral freedom. This theory states that we exercise freedom by voluntary attention, deliberation, choice and sustained resistance to temptation. It also posits that we are influenced by motives, not necessarily the strongest ones, but the ones we choose.
To sum up. There are three actors: natural laws, culture and you! How they interact is extremely complex, but each part plays a role. There is a temporal gradation between choice and determinism. Further in the future we have more possibility, and free will can work wonders. We can use our imagination and hardly can we imagine all the limitations that will arise once we get closer to the present moment and that situation we wished to occur. In the present moment, deterministic plausability grows stronger. Limitations appear and the action doesn’t have to develop as we imagined because of factors we didn’t take into consideration.
Place yourself somwehere on the continuum. Discuss it. Think about it at least.
I’ll stay with the one Mr Jordan Peterson tries to explain:
We are active agents of our choices, but, our choices are constrained by a multitude of factors.
It’s not black or white. Words and actions aren’t deemed to change people’s minds. But they might! There is a probability. Like Mr Jordan Peterson said: “If you are mildly articulate, speak up your mind.”
Will you take that chance?
Hopefully this post reaches that ‘guy’ and many other ‘guys’ and guys of guys of guys who found themselves in similar situations.
Go and rest your brain, you did well! 😀