“With great power,
Comes great responsibility.”
So said Uncle Ben to the nascent Spider-Man with his dying breath. Words of wisdom. But much more important and powerful, is the truth we all need to hear when we feel we have no power and so deeply wish to do something significant and good in the world. The secret words are this:
“With great responsibility,
Comes great power.”
So what’s the big deal? Why should this switch-a-roo of a few words have such a profound impact? I’ll give you a hint. Have you ever heard of a little thing called “The Law of Attraction?”
The Law of Attraction is quite simple. It says that whatever we focus on, whatever we believe, whatever we pour ourselves into with passion and emotion, we attract those things into our life, and create those things in our reality. This same philosophy is sometimes referred to as “You Create Your Own Reality” in modern spiritual circles. Perhaps you’ve also heard the phrase “Ask and you shall receive.”
While there is much nauseating woo floating around these ideas in our present wonderful golden era, the New Age, there is also a core of deep and profound metaphysical truth. While it is up for debate whether our thoughts magically create reality, or quantum mechanics is secretly conspiring for our higher good, or angels or spirit guides or aliens or other benevolent unseen beings are pulling the strings behind the scenes to manifest us coffee and good parking spaces, one thing is clear and true: Things are only possible if you believe they are possible. Our thoughts are indeed able to change our reality, because our frames help us see opportunity, and opportunity seized allows us to create an entirely different future.
Our transportation systems, the internet, government, business, every gadget you’ve ever played with, every book you’ve ever read, people on the moon, EVERYTHING starts out as an idea. Everything starts with one person thinking “Gee, I bet that might just be possible.”
So we have ideas and we create our own reality. Whoop-dee-doo. We can choose our ideas and focus on certain things we want, then we eventually figure out ways to move towards what we want, and see the path to achieving our goals. But what does all that have to do with Spider Man and Uncle Ben?
Here’s the deal. I hear a lotta shit about people trying to manifest a better relationship, more money, a more fulfilling job, a happier life. All good stuff, to be sure, and as long as reality doesn’t have other plans, it sometimes works.
But why not take this Law of Attraction thing all the way? If we can truly manifest anything and everything we want, why not manifest a perfect utopian world? Well, that’s exactly what I’m proposing. The Ultimate use of the Law of Attraction: Take responsibility for the ultimate happiness of every being in the universe now and forever into the future. Sound far out? You wouldn’t be the first to accuse me of that.
Here’s the thing though: This really is just simple application of the Law of Attraction. It’s simply, however, on a much bigger scale. And it’s partly the hugeness of the goal that makes it even more likely to succeed. The bigger and better a goal is, the more the universe actually wants it to succeed. Sadly I don’t hear this talked about often enough in Law of Attraction circles, but part of what determines how likely we are to be successful in manifesting something, is how aligned our goal is to the highest intention and highest good of the universe. You getting rich doing nothing and retiring in Tahiti isn’t likely one of the universe’s deepest desires.
The impulse of the universe is for every person to awaken to their greatest potential, live their happiest life, and have an interconnected exponential web of mutual growth and flourishing where every person is supporting every other person by each being the best version of themselves, spiraling upwards in every direction out to infinity.
Therefore, having the goal of a utopia where every person is ecstatically living a life of purpose, meaning, fulfillment, and deep happiness is as in alignment with the highest purpose of the universe as is possible, making it not just possible, but inevitable. The more you try to achieve this goal, the more the universe will, indeed, conspire to help you out. It is what everyone ultimately wants, and therefore, it is the direction in which the universe is already growing anyways.
Furthermore, because it is such a BIG goal, it is profoundly energizing. The bigger a goal is, the more we want it. What sounds more exciting, increasing your income by 10%, or increasing your income 10x? Get it? Got it? Good. Living in a perfect world where there is no war, no poverty, no suffering of any kind, and everyone is supremely happy and thriving and living together in joyous harmony, as we venture out to colonize the stars and the whole universe. And you’re the hero responsible for making it happen! Sounds pretty cool, eh? Well, you see the appeal then.
Even if you don’t fully achieve this goal in your lifetime, it is still supremely fulfilling and rewarding moving the world in this direction. There is nothing more satisfying in life than helping people. And the bigger your thoughts and beliefs about what is possible, the bigger your goals will be, and the more expansive your focus and ability to see opportunities will be.
One way I frame my ultimate goal is this: I want to do more good than everybody else in the history of the world has done combined. All the MLK Jr’s, the Jesuses, the Ben Franklins, the Gandhis, the Steve Jobs, etc. etc. etc. ALL OF THEM. I want to do more good than everyone else put together.
When you start thinking that big, you start seeing things that nobody else sees. You start doing things nobody else is doing. You start dreaming. Reading books. Thinking about the biggest thinkers who have ever thought, than thinking much, much bigger. You start looking at the systems of the world, and improving them in your mind until they’re far beyond what anybody else conceives as possible. You see far, far into the future, and you see how every event happening now takes us more or less quickly towards that future. You start developing yourself to the outer limits, you start pushing yourself to the farthest reaches of human development. No obstacle is too great, no challenge to daunting, no pain not worth it, and titillating candied distractions lose all their luster. You are pure ecstatic enthusiasm itself, at the deepest level. You are unstoppable.
These things take time. Your whole lifetime frankly. I’m glad I started along this line of thought when I was a little kid. I think every kid should be encouraged to think in this way.
This way of seeing the world provides a powerful inner compass for your life. While your decisions and ideas may not align or make sense to many of the people around you, you can see more and more clearly over time how it all fits together. The closer you get to embodying your understanding of this way of creating a new reality for yourself and the world, the more confident, energized, and charismatic you become. You start attracting to you everything that will be useful to achieve your goal. But it all depends on this inner vision of your goals, having a clear picture of this vision and how all aspects of everyday reality fit into and interact with it.
This way of thinking about things does tend to give one a stupidly ridiculous high self-image. Like absurdly so. I try not to talk about it too much, because I would have to explain all of this to people for it to make sense, and even then I suspect some may still look at me like I’m a little crazy. But here it is. I think of myself as the most important person who has ever lived on the planet, not because I just naturally feel like I’m that great, nor because I’m covering over some massive secret psychological inadequacy. No. I choose a self-image this grandiose purely for practical purposes. By really believing in myself ON THAT LEVEL, I am able to manifest actually being that person. And because it’s become so fundamental to my worldview and who I am, it’s not a gimmick or a trick when I tell myself I’m that important. I actually fully believe it. It’s become so true for me, that saying I am more important than everyone else who’s ever lived put together isn’t a crazy idea to me anymore. At this point it’s totally blaze.
As you might have guessed, this way of seeing the world could certainly spin off into psychosis. I will state that now as a very real danger, as I have experienced it myself as an adolescent. All of this must be fully grounded in reality and brought to integration with very practical, real world application of these ideas in day-to-day life. When the ideas become more important than being grounded in the real world and finding ways to integrate and apply these ideas, that becomes a problem. It is important to mix this philosophy with a fully practical and down-to-earth approach to daily life.
This worldview is an experiment. I haven’t ever heard anyone express anything exactly like it, though I’ve heard large chunks of it in many places, which is part of why it seems to me that it holds at least some validity. The test of whether or not these ideas actually work will be in the application of them. If they are successful in moving us towards a better world, they are useful, and I believe true. If not, or if they are even harmful, they should be locked away in a fiery molten cave somewhere. The proof is in the pudding. And I like pudding.
Another phrase that encompasses this philosophy is teleological pragmatic utilitarianism. Let me break that down for you.
Teleological—simply means determined by the future. Rather than choosing something simply because we feel like it or for some immediate gratification, we have a powerful vision of what we want the future to be like, and we make our decisions based on what it will take to move us toward that future vision.
Pragmatic—means practical. I’m not assuming anything magical here. Not denying it either, simply saying we can assume the world is completely logical and scientific, and every action has practical, predictable consequences. Therefore, we always take practical, real-world, concrete proven steps in the direction of our goal, and these build up and over time eventually create success.
Utilitarianism—the philosophy that the ultimate goal is to bring the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people. There are many different types of pleasure and definitions of happiness, so you might say it is bringing the highest quality of happiness, to the most people, and having them sustain it for the longest time. This of course includes travelling to space and colonizing all other stars in the universe, so there will be as many happy people in the universe as possible.
Essentially what I am doing is taking responsibility for everything in the whole universe. Some kid who speaks a language I don’t know is starving across the word in some country I’ve never been too? My fault. Infant genital mutilation? My fault. Poverty, famine, war, mental illness, quiet desperation, anything less that perfect harmony and happiness—All. My. Fault. I take responsibility for every last thing that happens in the universe, and therefore, I assume the power to change it. Every decision I make, every second of my time, every thought I think, every book I read, every conversation I have, everything that ever happens in my life; it’s either taking me closer to that goal, or further away from it. It can be both exhilarating and horrifying at times. But ultimately it becomes commonplace. It’s simply the way I’ve chosen to live my life. And I hope I can encourage others to do the same.
I’ll add something about how I define ‘reality’ in this worldview. So many people get caught up thinking that what is in front of them is reality. It’s not. Reality is everything that ever has been and ever will be. The future is just as real as the present. Just because we can’t see it right now doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. That’s a very myopic and infantile way of seeing things, thinking that because it’s not here yet it’s somehow less real.
In this view of reality, all consciousness from all time is assumed to be equally real. And so the butterfly effect becomes very, very important. The tiniest action I perform now can have colossal implications for entire future civilizations, assuming our species lives on indefinitely. If every action I ever perform makes me one of the most important people to ever walk the earth, then in ten-thousand years, the impact of my life could help billions or trillions or quadrillions of people to thrive and prosper. Because I see all of these potential realities as just as real as—and because of its scale, in many ways more real than—our current reality, taking responsibility for this whole potential future becomes all the more important.
With the internet having just come into being, the earth just approaching carrying capacity, globalization, and many, many more critical current trends, this is the most crucial time in the history of the planet by many, many orders of magnitude. For all we know it could be the fulcrum of the entire universe. The fate of all reality rests in our hands. With great responsibility comes great power. Will you choose to be responsible?