There are only people
As everyone else, I’m consuming an inordinate amount of news in this crazy period. At the same time, I’m also reading the masterpiece Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari.
One thing that he so clearly and insightfully states in the book, is that while there are objective mathematic equations and physical or biologica laws, there are no such things as objectively right ideas or objectively true institutions.
I remember reading “If you cut open someone, you won’t find human rights in there” or a similar statement in the book.
Reading this book in this period has made me think about the news in a much more worrying manner.
The big takeaway for me is that there are no rules. All the checks and safeguards that we assume are not some unbreakable physical laws. They are just words on papers. All it takes is for someone to ignore them and for others to not do anything about it.
Democracy is not something magic that once instituted can never be taken away. Many countries have descended into weird kleptocracies. Wars have been started in very peaceful periods. It is all possible.
In the end, there are only people and their actions.
We can choose which people to support and which actions to take.
But one thing I’m beginning to think is that in the face of rule-breakers, people that follow the rules will have a very hard time winning.
The football (soccer) match example
Imagine a soccer match where one team suddenly starts grabbing the ball with their hands.
There are a number of people that could object to this based on the rules, but the same people could also not say anything.
It’s true that there are multiple checks, but it just takes a couple of people to nullify them very fast.
The referee could still award goals. The federation could still mark the match as a valid one. The media could portray them as “testing the limits” of the system.
In such a scenario, all the other teams playing just with their foot will have a pretty hard time competing.
You can escalate this however much you want, and can see a league where this team is the only one allowed to play with their hands, or the only one allowed to play — period.
I unfortunately don’t have a great conclusion to share here if not an encouragement to start seeing the world with a different set of eyes, one where everything is possible.
I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid… you’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.
Looking to do your part? One way to get involved is to read the Indivisible Guide, which is written by former congressional staffers and is loaded with best practices for making Congress listen. Or follow this publication, connect with us on Twitter, and join us on Facebook.