Matthew Cohen, MSW

Matthew Cohen, MSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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Social Change Might Take 1000, Let’s Start Anyway.

One of the main reasons that social change is hard to come by is that it simply takes time. A person might read that and think I mean 5 years, or maybe 10, but that is not what I have in mind. A real social movement could literally take thousands of years to be effective. At the heart of it, we are trying to change a human culture that has evolved over thousands of years, it only makes sense that a lasting change should take as long.

One could point to cultural advances as evidence that change can happen much quicker. This could be evidenced by the computer I am using to spread my message at this very moment. Yet, I simply am trying to communicate my thoughts, and feelings, this is not a new approach. The means cannot be confused with the motivation. When I talk of social change, I mean changing the motivations by which people wake and work each day. In other words,  changing the “me and mine” mentality into “us and ours”.

I believe that our culture teaches us to be guarded and selfish. Competition is prized above cooperation. This is obvious when you see a little kid who excels in some sport. Immediately everyone is trying to train them into a competitive machine. Yet, I do not believe that human nature is selfish. A mother with her newborn is all the evidence I need for the compassion embedded in all of us. The instincts of the mother are beyond words, a very beautiful commentary on human potential. In addition, we were all there being held; we all want to recreate that type of peace. Maybe we just go about it wrong. We try to beat people into submission so they will be there for us. We look toward “fame and gain” to seduce others into entering into union with us. We forget that the union is always there waiting to be uncovered. We do not need to be con artists tricking others into loving. People want to love, they just don’t feel safe to do so.

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