Douglas Rushkoff wraps up _Life, Inc. _with the clearest conception of “act local, think global” I’ve read (and usually seems to be misinterpreted).
Instead of fighting corporations with corporations of our own [like nonprofits–Ben], or working through corporations to reduce their negative impact on society, we’re better off reinventing ourselves as humans. We live on a terrain and in a dimension they can pollute but to which they will never belong. By working on this human-scaled landscape instead, we can create changes in our own lives and communities that stand a chance, in aggregate, of trickling up and changing how the big world operates as well.
We can’t look for those kinds of changes overnight. The grand expectations we have for ourselves and our achievements are really just the false promises of consumerism, brand culture and the politics of revolutionary change. This is the ideological heritage of the Renaissance, and what brought us into the cycle of utopian hopes and alienated cynicism we’re churning through today.
We’d each like to launch a national movement, create the website that teaches the world how to build community from the bottom up, develop the curriculum that saves public schools, or devise the clever anti-marketing media campaign that breaks the spell of advertising once and for all. But these ego trips are the artifacts of the strident individualism we were taught to embrace. The temptation to save the whole world—and get the credit—comes at the expense of steps we might better take to make our immediate world a more fruitful, engaging, sustainable, and satisfying place. A successful movement depends on getting attention from media and institutions that are dead set against recognizing our ability to create value ourselves, and for its own sake. The minute they find out what we’re up to, it’s their job to dash our hopes and return our attention to the false idols they’re selling us.