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  • Writer's pictureScott Francis

Become the Solution

We're find ourselves living in bigger communities than ever before. Cities are growing, but the whole world is connected. Our on-line interactions are increasing the reach of our actions, and opening us to a wider field of influences. This has both the potential to accelerate our progress, and the chance to escalate conflicts.

We've made so much technological progress, so quickly, that we are expecting cultural change to match pace. Culture is inherently conservative (don't easily give up solutions that worked on past problems). It is the collected wisdom of all our intellectual ancestors. We have a complicated set of ideas that contain a great deal of value & momentum.

Not everything we've been given is useful for addressing current problems. Some of the problems of the past recur, so it's useful to have a depth of historical knowledge. Some of the problems stay solved, and we have a tendency to forget about them. Some problems are brand new. And some new problems grow from the way we solved a previous problem.

None of this is new to our current time. The world has always been a challenging place to be human. Humans have always faced serious problems, and drawn strength from facing them together. One of our major strengths is in sharing ideas. The families, groups, tribes, nations, religions, and cultures we form are a source of strength & protection.

Each individual is incapable of knowing all the tools of their culture, and the solutions to problems solved in the past; we need a reliable cultural transmission to keep the memory of problems & solutions available to future generations.

But a culture won't solve a new problem; that's up to the individual, because cultures don't take risks - individuals do. It's up to individuals to develop courage, try new solutions, speak openly & honestly about what they try, what worked, what didn't; and inspire others to take up the path towards Better.

Best case a solution to the new problem is found, worst case we have more accurate knowledge of the problem. This is the hero's responsibility - to develop competence through increasing acceptance of risk, to face a seemingly impossible problem that everyone else runs from, or is destroyed by.

The individual nature of heroism - accepting risk, seeking novel approaches, going where other fear to go - is what makes heroes seem crazy to others. But most people can't see you from your point of view - your acquired competence (specific trials, challenges, wounds), your mapping of the fearful problem, your ability to find inspiration through risk. They can't understand the world in the way you do, so they can't do your work for you.

So you must lead. As I must lead. We must all lead, each on our own paths, though the examples of our own sacrifices, exercising our own responsibility. Become the new solution you want to see to this problem.

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