Conscious Conscience

Something is happening to me.

When I started this blog, it was all about the money. Well, there was always the higher cause to think about of course which was one of the reasons I latched onto this whole idea in the first place, but the main benefit was clear, to save up enough money to get out of office block central, and into do-what-the-hell-I-likes-ville.
Over the last year I’ve been reading blogs, books and articles on a wide range of subjects all connected to achieving financial independence, and am finding myself gravitating strongly towards the ones with clear social and environmental morals at their root.
The funny thing is, not so long ago I was the type of person who might mock someone for being a vegetarian, yet the following week be up in arms about what I saw in the book slash docu-film Fast Food Nation. I think the same accusations could be made of a lot of people, and the only way I could carry on living without significantly changing was to simply forget about those things that made me feel uncomfortable and guilty, and push them as far to the back of my mind as possible. I wonder how many people who watched that film or read the book actually gave up eating meat for example?
The two huge drawbacks to this mindset are:
  • A life of self-imposed blissful ignorance is clearly no way to live. You are fooling yourself, and there is always that niggle at the back of your brain, eating away at your credibility and self-belief.
  • Living out a life that goes against your moral values is not conducive to long term and sustainable happiness. If there is a conflict between your conscience and your actions then the likelihood is that you will lead an unhappy and unfulfilling life.
I have always had a conscience, for as long as I can remember, just like the other 99% of the rest of the human population on Planet Earth. But I, like many of those others no doubt, seem to have misplaced it and treated it badly for many years, mainly during my late teens and twenties. I remember as a child being intensely distraught at seeing all the wrong that there was in the World, so maybe my reaction to this was to bury my head in the sand, knowing that there wasn’t really anything I could do about it. Now I’m all grown up (I like to think so at least) – that situation has changed somewhat. OK, so I still might not be able to solve World hunger in one wave of the magic wand, but there are many small actions I can do to make this world a better place, and the more people that are doing this (and I don’t know, say, blogging about it), the more will join in – you all know how going viral works, right?
I’ve also read a lot of articles this year about living life on your own terms, fulfilling your goals, and never giving up on your dreams, but that is all bullshit if your dream is simply to become rich enough to quit work and tool around on the internet for the rest of your life, or have amassed enough wealth to sit on your yacht every day. I’ve genuinely started to think people who are smart enough to reach financial freedom at a young age have got power that the average person hasn’t (the power of time!), and we all know the saying about power and responsibility. Whether you are blogging about something meaningful or just getting involved at a grass roots level and spreading the word on the ground, I really think we as a community should be doing more than just travelling about, tending our gardens, and generally hiding ourselves away from the big scary World. Luckily this has already started (years ago I might add) but we still need to make even more noise to get your average Joe / Joanne to sit up and take notice. And in my opinion there are still far too many blogs out there that are laser focused on the money side of things.
So anyway, the crux of all this is that I am going to work hard to make next year the year when I am acutely aware of what my conscience is telling me, and act accordingly. I’m currently working on my predictable blogger “2014 Goals” list. There will of course be some financial goals in there, otherwise this would be turning into a rather crappy personal finance and early retirement blog, and fast, but it might well end up being quite an unpredictable list compared to the average PF blogger, or even some of the FI bloggers out there!
This is not just a bunch of idealist, hippy bullshit: The internet is making radical and rapid change of popular opinion not just a possibility but almost an inevitability.
This is real, this is happening.
I can feel a wave of change happening around the World.
I can feel it in me.
Can you feel it too?