Arthur: What's wrong with that?
Curt: Nothing! … If you don't look at the world.
(Todd Haynes, Velvet Goldmine)
What did the people in this quote actually do? Did they dress a little more fashionably? Did they change their clothes? I would suggest that if they did not do so literally, they did so figuratively.
This makes me angry. In the first place, the notion of changing yourself is absurd. If you want to change yourself - then do so! If you want to be kinder, more friendly, more diligent, more loyal, then do so! You can oh so simply think, when you are doing something, "Could I be kinder?" If you can be kinder, then be so at that point. There is no mystery. Surely you can learn greater and more creative ways to be kinder, but that is a perpetual task, and more than a qualitative change.
Do you think changing the world is trivial or personal? Personally it involves sorrow and sacrifice. It is nothing to change oneself. What is that, in the vastness of humanity? It is changing the world that counts. I did change the world. At least - I should correct that - I changed the world within my reach. And, look at that world. Peace, citizens able to build schools and churches and communities without fear. Families able to farm without threat. Peace, order and good government. I did that. I and some few who worked as I did, some with whom I worked.
Look at the world.
Now look at me. I lost my friend. I lost the home we had meant to have. I lost the freedom to go home to Georgia and my beloved South, even if I had been well enough. I lost honour in the eyes of the law, and what remained of my reputation was destroyed by so many who glorified only death and mayhem.
Look at the world. You can drive freely into any of those towns and work and build and start a family.
Look at me, dead alone in that hotel in Colorado.
Changing the world has a price.
Changing yourself is nothing.
Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Word Count: 340
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus