The longer I live, the more fascinated I am by two things. One is how much control I have over so many issues and events. The other is how little control I have over so many issues and events.
The reason I can control so many things is because they are, for the most part, a matter of choice. For example, I can choose to be happy. I can choose to be relentless and move forward in the face of adversity. I can choose to increase the odds of living a longer and healthier life by eating well and exercising. I can choose to read and fuel my brain with knowledge.
On the other hand, I have no power to stop a mentally disturbed pilot from killing hundreds of passengers by nose-diving into the ocean — or flying into the side of a mountain. I have no power to stop murderers from escaping from prison. I have no power to stop natural disasters — such as earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods — from occurring.
However, there is a bit of overlap in some of these areas. For example, when it comes to natural disasters, I can increase the odds in my favor by doing everything possible to prepare for them in advance. So even though many events are beyond my control, to one extent or another I can lessen their impact.
But on most macro issues, there’s no overlap. I can’t make a dent in ending worldwide poverty, no matter how hard I try. Neither can I choose to put an end to war. And as I watch another circus unfold in the race for the White House throne — and listen to the candidates promise to continue to increase their control over our lives — I am again reminded that I cannot stop government aggression against its own citizens.
The reason poverty, war, and political tyranny are beyond my control is because powerful people have too much at stake to allow anyone or anything to get in their way. Let’s get real here: Poverty, war, and political power are extremely profitable businesses, and if the ruling class believes you’re a serious threat to its agenda, you might just end up looking like an anti-Putin journalist who overdosed on radioactive poisoning. (continue reading)