How to Change the World

“If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Accomplishing something noteworthy always requires intimate familiarity with the great work of others – an understanding of the history of ideas in a chosen field, and its masters.

In the West this truth is often overlooked amongst our glorification of rugged individualism – that most pioneers in a field personally knew the greatest living masters of their discipline – and it was only after soaking in all that knowledge and practicing their craft in a conventional manner that they were eventually able to innovate.

The simple reason for that is that often, especially in complex matters, you have to know what is before you create what isn’t.  For the self this is true as well – it is difficult to truly change unless you know who you are.

So the practical lesson from this is simply – study your history, get to know the greats that came before or are contemporary with you.  Know what is.

Then switch it up, and yes – change the world.


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