The illusion of an external solution

It never ceases to astound me that human beings continue to hope for external solutions to their problems from political, government or religious institutions which promise the moon. With this approach, we in fact surrender our power because we have always been taught that we are powerless and that salvation can only be found on the outside, as a good docile compliant sheep.

But how can we imagine for a single second that a solution can come from the outside? How can we solve a personal problem by handing over our responsibility to someone else? We cannot blame institutions, as they only exist because we humans have created them as a screen behind which to hide in order to cleverly pass on our responsibilities and inconsistencies.

No government is capable of solving a problem which we are avoiding or trying to keep hidden. How is it possible for us to earn more, pay fewer taxes and work less and at the same time continue to live longer and longer? This is mathematically impossible. Even a young child capable of putting two and two together can see this. When a majority naively elects a head of state for his ability to lie in an appealing way, making promises which are as miraculous as they are unrealistic, I have to ask, who is to blame? The manipulative politician or his electorate, who is willing to believe in Santa Claus? Who is the sillier of the two? It would seem that, while we claim to be victims of a system, we are in fact victims of ourselves, in our incapacity to consistently take responsibility for our personal choices.

  • You feel you are being dominated by your boss? Become your own boss!

  • You can’t stand the tabloids? Stop supporting them by reading them!

  • You can’t find happiness in love? Stop expecting to find it in someone else!

  • You are appalled by the exploitation of cheap labour in emerging markets? Buy local and accept to pay 10 times as much!

With these few deliberately provocative lines, I simply wish to turn our attention back to our own responsibility. Each life path is paved with solutions, but human beings are so firmly entrenched in their institutions that they have lost sight of their independence. They wait for society to give them a job, to feed and protect them, make them happy, decide in their place, give them access to the divine… to such an extent that they feel comfortable in this assistance-based system, and then blame it systematically for all their problems and dissatisfaction.

Nothing comes from the outside, especially not happiness. If we don’t like our lives, we can always try to escape, but our problems will follow us wherever we go. Nothing can be changed from the outside if we do not start by changing within. When we can master our difficulties without trying to put the blame on someone else, we will finally recognize our own responsibility and become conscious of the solutions which we hold.

Everything is possible as long as we do not consider ourselves to be prisoners of a system, as long as we fully assume our choices consistently and responsibly. Someone who fully assumes a personal choice, as painful as it might be, has infinitely more merit than a person who delegates his or her decisions to someone else, the better to criticize them later on. Sincere action requires great courage as it is free of all forms of cowardice and victimization.