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Jun 23, 2019 23:41:40


by @keenencharles | 388 words | 9🔥 | 247💌

Keenen Charles

Current day streak: 9🔥
Total posts: 247💌
Total words: 68578 (274 pages 📄)

Can you change a system from the inside? It's a question that's come up a lot lately for me in several topics. I've been reading the articles of a local urban planner who's trying to change the government's approach from the inside but seems to be struggling against entrenched beliefs. His struggles and frustrations made me wonder if it was fruitless but he still seemed to have belief.

It also came up while playing Tales of Vesperia. In it two childhood friends chose different paths to fix a failing political system. One chose to join it to try and change it from the inside. The other left and chose to find his own way.

The question reminded me of an encounter several years ago.. I was approached at a hackathon by a local software developer interested in one of my projects. After some brief chat about where I saw the project going and I shared my aim for it to have an international audience he snidely replied that I was one of those who just wanted to leave. He went on to suggest that he thought too few people were interested in developing solutions for the local market. His rudeness aside it showed me a new perspective that I've seen others hold.

I've always believed that change from the inside is almost impossible without significant power. As a small cog in a machine, it can take you a lifetime to amass that power to create systemic change. But you can find power through your own means. Money gives you the power to influence systems outside your domain of expertise. Influence also gives you the power to sway opinions. With power like this, you can be an outsider and still create change through your own will.

I think it's a personal choice how you'd like to change any system. Some are suited to gradually moving stagnant organisations in new directions. Some are better at creating change through their own work. Your own skills and desires will determine which approach best suits you. The path someone takes to achieve change isn't important, what matters is the effectiveness of their actions. It's no use staying in a broken system and praying for change. But if you believe you have the ability to create change eventually then maybe it's the right approach.

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    @keenencharles sooo true what you wrote. I worked in government too as a designer/change agent sort of role, and the pace of change frustrated me. I later realised it's just different systems need different human temperaments for it. Gov just happen to be those systems that need 'farmers' willing to toil the ground, watch the weather and be patient for the seeds to sprout (and for sure they will, just takes time). And realising that was helpful for myself, as I went on to a different path that allows me to change the sytem at the pace that I'm suited for, while still involved in making a difference.

    Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Jun 24, 2019 15:25:17
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      @jasonleow that's great how you found your path to make a difference. I think people can get too caught up in their own beliefs on how to achieve change when it can be done in so many ways.

      Keenen Charles avatar Keenen Charles | Jun 24, 2019 10:07:33
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      @keenencharles yes true. the unfortunate thing is that many energetic, idealistic young people leave the public service without realising that...

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Jun 25, 2019 20:25:09
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    @keenencharles I don't believe in radical changes coming from inside jobs. You always end up molded by the environment you navigate in. All big changes originate from external forces: the Huns conquering Roma, Gandhi taking back India, the French Revolution... As Marx would say it remains a power struggle. Reading about sociology teaches you social reproduction is generalized.

    Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | Jun 24, 2019 09:24:09
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      @basilesamel I agree from the inside only slow gradual change is really possible. Radical change would require entering the system with significant power and that needs a system that's willing to change to give that power to someone.

      Keenen Charles avatar Keenen Charles | Jun 24, 2019 10:14:54
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      @keenencharles Actually when I'm saying radical changes come from outside, I'm mainly referring to organizations not based on democracy, ie companies, dictatorships, colonial empire... I guess it's somehow possible to change a country by voting, Hitler being an example of such radical change.

      Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | Jun 25, 2019 03:43:45
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      @basilesamel that's a good example that didn't even occur to me

      Keenen Charles avatar Keenen Charles | Jun 24, 2019 23:15:39
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