Many people want to change the world. Many people have changed the world. But if our idea of changing the world is fixated on changing others, it is inevitable that the dichotomy of perpetrator and victim exists, and it would appear as a sensible solution to eliminate the perpetrator by force. It, then, misses the whole point, because when we are violent towards others for what we judge to be evil in them, we become violent ourselves. If we kill those whom we perceive to be the bane of society (such as drug addicts), we become killers ourselves. Then we have to rethink our position: Is the change that we created for better or for worse?
In a lecture given by Jordan B. Peterson, he said that if we want to change the world for the better, we have to be willing to change ourselves-- to examine ourselves and undergo transformation and become evolved persons to the point that our mere being, our very existence, becomes that positive change.
Among the advice that he gave, I would like to focus on the the first one, the one that I think forms the foundation for all others. To change the world for the better, we need to change ourselves by orienting ourselves to the good. What is "good" can be defined by the highest good that cuts through time and scope. What is the highest good is that which is not only good for me, but good for my family, and good for society, and good for all beings, and good for the Earth; it is not only good for now, but good for tomorrow, and the day after, and the whole year, and my whole lifetime. One example I can think of is when someone eats fish, and claims that this is good for their health. While it may be good now for the person eating that fish, it is most certainly not good for the fish or for ocean life or for the environment or for the Earth. And as it may be good now because it satisfies hunger and you get some nutrients out of eating the fish, it is not good for your own future when you take in the mercury accumulated from eating fish all the time. So the idea of orienting ourselves to the good is to aim for the highest good all the time and for everyone. It means we are not stingy or limited with the good. We go all out towards that direction.
When we are able to critically look at our own choices, whether it is what we eat or what politics we align with or what we believe about the world, then we become free. We are no longer like the marionettes, the puppets controlled by strings, by forces that we do not see and are not aware of. In terms of personal evolution, we want to change ourselves and grow out of becoming "aged children". We shoulder our place in the world, we own our responsibility in co-creating it, we learn to strengthen ourselves so that as difficult as life can sometimes be, we are grounded by our highest good and do not become corrupt or resentful or hateful.
If that evil in our heart is not confronted and we try to change the world, more evil comes. That is why our first responsibility in changing the world is to look at that line of good and evil that runs down our own heart, and we do what we can to consciously repair our own brokenness, fix our own mess, transform our own darkness. Changing the world can be very dangerous, that is why change has to start from the right place.