Project FearNaught- ‘What Does It Take to Change the World?’

Let’s get back to the question at hand. In the opening article of Project: FearNaught, I said that I wanted to start the conversation that changes the world.

That’s exactly what I intend to do.

What does it take to change the world? That is the question. The answer is still in development, and each of you reading this now will play a role, if you have the strength of will to rise up and join me.

Many different answers have been offered. Some will say that love is the only thing that can change the world. Others will argue that honest education and the ability to think critically are what’s needed.

It may require small acts of kindness. It may take discipline, and virtue.

What does it take to change the world? It takes all of these things, and more. It also takes honesty. Honesty with ourselves, and honesty with each other. Sometimes it will demand honesty to each other. That’s a scary thing. But there’s no room for fear here.

Fear leads to withdrawal, and hence to ignorance. This fast grows into resentment, blame and hatred. Some may say that fear leads to self-betrayal, but this is not true. There is nothing a man can do to betray his inmost truths. He only reveals them. And fear, fear can do this like nothing else.

Fear has changed the world many times.

Fear of the way things used to be, and fear of how they could be. Fear of change, and fear of losing what we have.

Fear of the other.

Fear of ourselves.

Fear of standing up and shouting—only to find that we are alone.

So, what does it take to change the world? Fear. Or a lack thereof. Sure, love can do it, so can education. So too can all those other things in varying degree—but that’s precisely because those gifts are the death of fear.

You don’t need love to change the world. You don’t need schools, or libraries, or healthcare. Fear alone can change the world.

Fear is at the root of all human ambition and control. It is fear which keeps us willing to accept our present circumstances, and fear that has delivered us into them.

And that’s why fear is our target…

So, what does it take to change the world?

If a man seeks to change the world, he must first change himself.

I do not have all the answers, and it will be up to the good readers of this site to take this spark and set it to light upon the tinders of their own communities. By design, ‘Project: FearNaught’ has room for all, and by design it requires the input and participation of the masses. This is not a top-down proclamation, but an essential call for community discourse. With that being said, it must also be stated that, by its very nature, ‘Project: FearNaught’ demands utter self-sincerity of its readers and participants. Without that, you will be reading the potential answers to questions you’ve yet to articulate.

So, take this with you— for if you want change, then it’s your responsibility to make it happen. Take it to the streets. Look fear in the eye, and call it out on sight. Own it in yourself, and point it out in others. For we must first know our fear if we seek to escape its paralyzing hold.

Think, talk…and Fear Naught.

Be part of the debate:Project FearNaught is an effort to start the conversation that changes the world. As such, your voice is key to our ambition. To add your input, questions, or comments, click here.

-Jeremy Arthur

‘Truth Ink.’

Advertisements

The Brad OH Inc. Happy Times Children’s Blog Post

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green DesklampI’m afraid I must apologize in advance. I don’t have any cute cat pictures to share with you, nor will I be indulging in any hilarious memes. I have little talent for the sort of viral content which is so popular these days—I find myself grounded in my age, and can offer little in the way of contemporary distraction.

But that’s not the only apology due to you, and that is in fact precisely the purpose of this article. Certainly, you have a great deal to entertain you—the myriad distractions and novelties provided for you surpass by far the offerings of any generation prior. Sadly, you may grow to find that dependence on such toys often stands in the way of imagination—that lauded gift given to you by birthright and discouraged by reality. Do not let it wither within you—for the future depends upon the imagination, hope, and problem solving skills of your generation.

We welcome you to this world with open arms and sagging spirits—excited for your arrival at the same time we are shamed by the condition of the world we present.

Fear, distrust, and desperation are the leitmotifs of our present day. The distractions you will be subjected to have already taken their toll on us, and the failures of my generation will be the chief inheritance of your own.

The deceptions you face will inevitably be even stronger than those which sundered us from decency and good sense. You will be tempted by greed, misguided by vice, placated by contentment, and pacified by placebos—a constant stream of assurances that if you bury your head in the sand and allow time to slip by, everything will be ok in the end.

Of course, that is not the case.

It’s not an enviable situation we leave to you, and that is the reason for our apology here today. But with it, I offer something else, and that is encouragement. Perhaps a challenge even, for I expect you will find that far more enticing.

Be better than us. Expect more—not for yourself, but from yourself and all others as well. Demand that your generation rises to the incredible potential it holds in secret, and refuse to accept anything less than the beauty of which you are inherently capable. Pursue science, and knowledge, and faith, and justice. Do not blindly accept the systems around you, or fail to seek answers where there is doubt. Question all, and where you find the accepted answers do not satisfy you, question further still.

Find new answers—or create them. Evaluate what you have, challenge what you’re told, and never settle for less than you are capable. Change systems, laugh loudly, and tear down political structures which are meant not for your benefit but your containment.

Scream, bang walls, and rage like only youth can. Get in the faces of your elders and show them that you can do better—remind them of the truths you take as sacrosanct—which they have long forgotten. Be better than us—it will be a shame which we can happily bear in our twilight years, watching with unbridled pride as our failures are buried in history and your victories shine all the brighter for the difficulty through which they were achieved.

And through it all of course, remember to have fun.

-Brad OH Inc.

The Heights Flags Dare Not Fly

purelyspeculationAside from writing, a significant portion of my week is comprised of driving to and from schools. As a result, I’ve recently made a disturbing observation. It seems to me there is seldom a day which goes by that the school flags are not set at half-mast.

I’ve noticed it far too often to chalk it all up to an observer or expectation-bias, and ever since noting the strange trend, the evidence has only mounted. Truthfully, I can quite accurately make the call as I head out in the morning—I can go through my entire day, and I won’t see a single flag flying at its full height.

For a while, I would try to play recent newsfeeds through my mind, sifting through the long lists of tragedies to try and pinpoint the precise reason why the flags might be lowered. Another bombing in a far off country? A videotaped execution becoming a number one hit on YouTube? Missing indigenous women? A recent school shooting? It’s hard to keep track—and that’s likely one of the most cold-hearted thoughts that’s ever crossed my mind.

Sadly, the fact is there can hardly be a day that goes by when it would be appropriate to fly the flag high. Tragedy is abounding at every turn, and we need never look too far to find some reason to keep the flag at half-mast, and our hearts shrouded in mourning. Indeed, even the briefest purview of recent events will surely be enough to convince any feeling human that to hoist the flags to their full height would be an act of callous audacity.

It made me wonder; has it always been like this? It seems that no matter how far back we look, the world has been mired in a constant string of atrocities and calamity. Are they more common now? Is our instant access to world-wide media making the situation seem more dire than it is, or could we truly be approaching the so-called ‘brink’?

For years uncounted, people have felt that society is falling apart and the world as we know it is coming to an end. Plato famously criticized the youth of his day (~340BC) by lamenting that “The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.” It remains a familiar feeling to this day. Every generation grows to worry about the future, and fear that the youth set to inherit this fragile little ship of ours will not be up to the task. Doomsday prophecies, threats of revolution or decay, and predictions of cataclysmic environmental disasters have maintained a place beside weather and work as some of the most ubiquitous topics for daily conversation.

But if the flags these days are any indicator, such anxieties don’t seem far off the mark. Our environment grows worse by the day, and those working to save it are embattled from all sides by those who seek only profit. So too with human rights, fights for equality, and pleas for representation. Gun violence runs rampant—challenged for the crown of ubiquity only by poverty and the failing light of hope in the hearts of the needy. Explosions rock the world hourly, cold-blooded death-cults call for our heads, and here in the ‘free-world’ the echoes of long-forgotten jack-booted feet and beer-hall bravado once again eke their way into our political conscience.

Those naïve few who proclaimed that the age of racism and hatred were behind us now hang their heads in shame, and once again the shadow of ignorance spreads across the map of our future. Standing as we are on the brink of such chaos, sky-lining against the half-lowered flags, one can’t help but wonder how close we are to that brink, and what it would take to finally shove us over?

Will it be like the most recent financial crisis? One panicked businessman making a knee-jerk move over night? A chain-reaction of self-serving backroom deals that sell the rest of us down the river? Will it come like daggers in the night, or will it come, as the old adage goes, wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross? Will there be martial law? Riots in the streets? Baffled TV-reporters mumbling through static-filled screens? Smoke and strife, or stony silence?

That I cannot say. It may be all, or more likely none. It may well go unnoticed, as it has for so long already. One small change, then another, all wrapped in the propaganda and misinterpretation so definitive of our times. But none of that concerns me. The road ahead is already laid, and I look not to how its course runs, but rather to who will travel it.

Again, my thoughts turn to Plato, and the defiant children he so sorely lamented. They are still around, and indeed it is them who we should be watching most intently. But perhaps that’s another issue entirely, and one we’ll cover in greater depth next week.

-Brad OH Inc.