How To Change The World
It doesn't start with cleaning your room. It starts with cleaning your neighborhood.
I live in a pretty well-off area in the Hill Country. I was able to cop a place to rent for a decent price, so I am definitely one of the poorer people in the area. The spillover of Austinites (there’s 128 new Austinites everyday, so imagine the unwanted tourists and wannabe-Texans coming over every weekend to LARP as wine connoisseurs and beer snobs) as well as Yankee and West Coast refugees really seems to have made an impact on an area that, for the longest time, was just quiet, well-off old German-Texan money. I’m from East Texas, so at least I don’t feel as unwelcome and invasive.
What any American can notice, whether they are nomadic or stationary, is how our shut-in and hedonic lifestyles, with absolutely no societal judgement or wrist-slap, has left an impact on our environments. The leftists and apatheists can spend all day mocking and degrading the right-wing and religious, and yet the logical conclusion of their materialistic, metaphysically-ignorant lifestyles have become the norm. America’s obsession with self has disallowed us to wake up from our thrashing nightmares of self-worship and constant need to fill our ever-empty desires.
It isn’t just spiritually-damning, and we see how it has gone so far that pedophilia is becoming a norm that parents aren’t allowed to fight against. However, we have become so atomized, we are completely disarmed and demoralized to know what step one even is to fighting evil. Surely, spreading information and ideas, making our voices heard, organizing, etc is all effective and admirable. However, the real issues are so microcosmic; we’ve forgotten what a civil society even looks like.
Seeing childish, young adults every weekend, who never experienced any kind of transition to adulthood other than turning eighteen, moving to a frat house, and getting blackout drunk, who have come into the town that I have busted my ass, have been frugal, and attained skills and a job that give me the ability to live here, and treat it all like dirt by littering and being genuinely low quality people. . . it’s lamentable. Now, we can spend all day whining about how childish, and ungrown millennials are (well, all of American consoomer culture), but we allow the devastation of the alcoholism, gaudy vanity, and overindulgence overwhelm our morale to the point we don’t do anything to fight back against it. We take no steps, whatsoever, to better our surroundings, and make it known that we prefer civility and community over economy and spiritual rot.
Which has brought me to the first step, I am personally taking, to better my community, since the churches seem to do nothing:
I have been going for frequent morning walks. I’ve started to notice the eyesore of litter buildup. At first, it was just a beer can or bottle here and there, and then my brain started overnoticing all of it, and I wasn’t able to enjoy my walks, as every step I’d take would reveal yet another beer bottle or can. Mind you, this is literally the most beautiful part of Texas; people vie for property here. I text my landlord and ask him if the county has any kind of cleanup crew, and he tells me that they don’t seem to have one. So, when I came back home from a short walk, I grabbed a trash bag, and started on another journey down my same routes, picking up trash.
What I realized was, other than just young people and the absolute dreg slobs of society throwing beer cans and what have you out of their windows, there were pulltab cans from easily over forty years ago just a few steps away from the road! There are literal countries like Belarus and Russia where this just doesn’t happen! My landlord went out on a walk as I was doing it, and assisted me in my chore, and I am grateful for his help, because it would’ve taken much longer.
However, that was only the beginning. There’s still so much litter on the roads around us that has to be picked up, and yet these rich, idle boomers are happy to put the blinders on and ignore the rot of the culture and environmental decay that they have allowed as younger generations continue the same socially and spiritually rotten decisions.
Our culture is one of consumerism. It is one of nothing but the self. Breaking out of this selfness, and focus on one’s own wants and needs, we begin to look around us, appreciate the little things with such immense, overwhelming endearment. As we do this, we start to become sensitive to the small little things that our cultural soul has hardened to, and chosen to disregard as unimportant. The little things, the things that pile up and cause so much spiritual dismay, are at a peak, and now, a breaking point.
That’s why Jordan Peterson misses the point with the whole “clean your room” spiel. It’s good for the vast swaths of fatherless boys and young men who need a little bit of a wake-up call, but in a world that is falling in on itself, I say that the room can be left a little messy - go out and clean the world.
It starts with you. You might look crazy. You might look arrogant, but who gives a single damn what people think about you doing what needs to be done. So now, when I go out for my walks, I am going to take a trash bag with me, and start picking up the pieces that so many careless boomers and carefree young morons let pile up, just like the grime and dirt that has built up in their souls and culture.
I don’t care what anyone thinks. If they aren’t going to clean up their mess, then I will. Somebody has to do the bare minimum, and I’m happy to be that person. I’m no savior, Jesus was. I’m not a great guy or some oracle or bringing some great advice or knowledge that no one has. I’m doing the least of what should be done. So, not to sound vain, but it must be done and it must be said: there is so much crap built up. Do the least good deeds possible, and if every one of us start living through example, not caring what others think, and doing the dirty work that no one else will do, I guarantee you: the right doors will start opening, and the world will really start to look better.
Just like Mr. Prudentialist talked about on my podcast with him — You have to be willing to go out and organize with your community, do the work, create emergency protocol, bring up to local leaders issues to be dealt with, and maybe start talking about how bad things have gotten. I can talk all day long about what we need to do, but all it does is remind me how idle I have been, so to not seem extremely foolish and arrogant, I implore you — go outside, and start picking up the trash that no one else will.
”There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve.”
An Excerpt from Walden, by Henry David Thoreau