Be the change you want to see in the world
Many might say that the picture of my country and the world I have painted in the previous section will always look more or less the same. Many might also claim that it is impossible to change things on which we seemingly do not have any influence. For them trying to change the state of affairs on a larger scale is an absolutely futile effort. I disagree with them and reject these attitudes – something simply tells me that the world could be a different, better place and that many of us can do something about it.
There is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to our everyday reality and we can all make it better, even on a very small scale. Naturally, rarely can one achieve anything of significance on his or her own, but if a considerable number of people join their forces and work together, the prospects change instantly. In fact, if we combine and coordinate our efforts, the state of affairs can be improved on a greater scale and much faster than most people dare to imagine. This at least holds true as far as protection of our environment is concerned. I base this judgement on countless inspirational stories I have heard and on the knowledge I have acquired so far.
Now, being of the opinion that my country and the world are going in the wrong direction, I am convinced that I, as well as everyone who thinks the same, should voice discontentment and disillusionment. We should try to find solutions to improve the situation and act on them. In this context, I want to underline the fact that I am tired of the state of mind of people around me who constantly complain about how nothing is as it should be. I am tired of them doing nothing to foster change in their own lives and in the lives of those around them. I believe that a person is quite often free (at least in most Western societies where freedom to act is more or less guaranteed) to choose the kind of life she or he dreams of having. I am deeply convinced that a lot of dedicated work and effort can change one’s life in many countries. In a similar manner, I hold that the outlook of an individual’s country stands to a certain extent in the hands of that individual, but only if he or she moves out of the comfort zone, stops complaining and acts. There is an enormous amount of things that we can do to improve our environment and our lives. I believe that those who can should try and do something about it; they should stop complaining and instead start acting. Stéphane Hessel pointed out in his famous book that the worst attitude is indifference that says “I can’t do anything about it; I’ll just get by”. With this attitude an indivudual looses one of the essential charachteristics that make him or her a human being. But it does not have to be like this. I am of the opinion that you should stop blaming others for all the faults in your life and close environment and instead take destiny into your own hands. In brief, everyone can do something about their inner world and about the world we all share.
My belief that the transformation of my country and the world is possible is derived primarily from the younger generation that is willing to engage, that is willing to fight for its future. This is not so much the case in my country yet, as it is in some other countries. Still, I have faith that the time is ripe for change to slowly occur even in Croatia. However, instead of leaning on the top-down approach that is obviously not functioning, my countrymen and I should try a bottom-up approach. We should start organizing ourselves and devising different solutions to daily problems, putting them into action and engaging in the process of learning- by -doing. It is only if and when this happens, that I am certain that we are going to be able to avoid the dreadful prospects that surely await us if we allow the main political parties in the country to continue their business as usual. The book I have written and the project I have conceived are my small contribution to the transformation of Croatia and to making the world a better place for most of us. Only when there are many more similar projects underway can we hope that some of them will bear fruit and ultimately improve the circumstances not just in my country, but in many other countries as well.
Here I also have to mention that a very close person of mine told me a number of times that, if I really wanted to influence the general state of affairs, I should join one of the main political parties in Croatia. In his opinion, it was the only way to bring about change. However, I think he was wrong. I informed him that I trusted not a single one of the active political parties in the country nor their members, for they had already proved their incompetence and lack of any morals too many times to count. I told him that if I were to join any of them, I would have to make compromises that I was simply not prepared to make. Besides, I believe that it is impossible to build on something that has already been destroyed. When I told him that I would like to try changing the situation in the country in my own way, he claimed this to be impossible. Well, with this book and the project I intend to prove that I was right.
Now, I believe that the first step in improving any state of affairs is being aware of one’s position and the goal one wants to reach. In the process, one should detect the possible room for improvement and identify the steps that should be undertaken to realize one’s vision. It appears to me that this should be a universal approach to changing things, no matter if one wants to change his or her own life or something bigger. That is, roughly speaking, the approach I have chosen for my project and for the structure of my book. That is also the reason why I am not hesitant to depict a general picture of my country, despite the fact that it looks rather negative at the moment.
 Stéphane Hessel, Pobunite se!, Vbz, Zagreb, 2011, page 19.
 Writer Neil Gaiman put it nicely: “We all – adults and children, writers and readers – have an obligation to daydream. We have an obligation to imagine. It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that we are in a world in which society is huge and the individual is less than nothing: an atom in a wall, a grain of rice in a rice field. But the truth is, individuals change their world over and over, individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different”. In: Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming, Guardian, October 15, 2013. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/15/neil-gaiman-future-libraries-reading-daydreaming?CMP=twt_gu (Consulted on October 17, 2013)