The rat race is over. Past generations used work as a means for survival. For some of us survival is no longer contingent on the work we do, so we have the ability to to ask what can we do that we enjoy and contributes to the well being of society. There is work that promotes goodness in the world, work that has a neutral effect, and work that results in a net negative for society.
Those with the ability to do so, should figure out how to make sure their work is aligned with promoting goodness in the world (or at the very least a neutral effect). If we continue to pursue activities that negatively affects society, it begs the question what was the point of of all the advancements propelled by and sacrifices made by past generations? Was it so that we could blindly & selfishly fill our coffers, or was it to help humanity flourish?
Like it or not, we can’t abstain from the important work of shaping humanity, as humanity is a function of our individual beliefs and actions. What I do and you do everyday professes our values, hopes, dreams, and ideas into the world and society, collectively creating humanity.
Although, this has been true for every generation it is truer for us. In the age of social networks & globalization the affects of our individual decisions are amplified. Unlike before, the folks that bear the brunt of our decisions are sometimes outside of our communities living in nations that many of us will never see. As the environment continues to degrade and human rights violations pile up, the out of site and out of mind mentality is no longer an excuse for inaction.
This is the burden that comes with advancement and we have to be willing to step up and take responsibility for shaping the world that we live in. What we do today will definitely define us for many years to come.
I know the difficulty of the path I’m advocating, as I haven’t had the courage to take it wholeheartedly. What this path could mean is sometimes acting in ways that some may claim are irrational, such as making decisions to maximize societal well-being instead of maximizing personal income. It may mean to stop investing in companies that don’t promote your values despite the high ROI. It may mean being more mindful of the attitude you bring into your everyday interactions in the world. It may mean professing your beliefs to others no matter how absurd they seem.
This is a difficult path, however, by abstaining we are reducing our intelligent selves to drones that are blindly following the path that those in power have laid out for us. It is time to wake up.