If you’re anything like me, you look out at the world and see so many things worth fixing.

It could be something that keeps happening at work, like inappropriate behavior or comments.

It could be a problem in your community, like inequitable allocation of resources or failure to address an important public health issue.

Or, and I’m just spitballing a hypothetical here, it could be your government using your tax dollars to fund one or more ongoing genocide(s) despite widespread protests both domestically and internationally.

Whatever it is, you know it when you see it, and it makes you mad.

Time to get on your horse and rush in, right?

It can be tempting to want to rush in and confront the problem head on and there is certainly a time and place for direct confrontation.

In each of the examples above, no change could happen without the courageous actions of those who are willing to stand face-to-face with those who would cause harm.

Marchers with signs at the March on Washington

Recognizing that, you might think the best option would be to walk right up to your boss and give them an eloquent and well-reasoned piece of your mind.

While that can be a very effective tool in realizing change, it may not be your best move in every circumstance. Systems of power, while almost always outnumbered, are rarely outgunned or underfunded.

That’s why we occasionally need to consider other strategies that, when combined with direct confrontation, offer us a greater chance of success for creating meaningful change.

The Machinery of Evil Requires Operators

There was an amazing Star Wars show on Disney+ called Andor (yes, I’ve referenced it before in the post Heroic Revolution).

One of the things I loved so much about that show was the vivid depiction of the banality of evil. It showed the day-to-day bureaucracy that keeps the gears of progress spinning backward.

What it also showed was the power of creating tiny cracks in that system.

Whether the problem you seek to influence is global or local, it is unlikely the result of a single person but rather a collection of interconnected pieces. Those pieces need to coordinate and remain well-lubricated in order to function effectively.

Any small breakdowns in that coordination and debris clogging the gears can significantly compromise its operation.

Once you understand this, it becomes clear that dismantling an unjust system can gain significant momentum by adding a little bit of sand in the gears.

An Abundance of Simple Mistakes meets Malicious Compliance

It’s amazing how much you can change by either choosing to do nothing or conveniently misunderstanding the instructions.

  • When leadership wants you to rat out the people on your team, it’s funny how forgetful a person can become in the midst of all these other priorities.
  • When you’re asked to deny a claim submitted by someone suffering from a terminal illness, it’s amazing how clumsy fingers can be on a keyboard. Did you accidentally approve that?
  • When your role is vital to keeping the gears of the machine moving forward, before you quit, you might spend some time forgetting to send communications, sending the wrong information, showing up late, or making other silly, yet simple, mistakes.

It’s not like you’re some agitator from the outside who is deliberately making trouble that disrupts the functioning of an evil or unjust system. You’re just an old fashioned, hard-working person with a bad short term memory and who makes a mistake here and there.

Luckily, honest mistakes like these are nothing worth firing someone over.

Besides, it’s only a few grains of sand in the gears, right?

We know this works

If this didn’t work, then power structures wouldn’t spend so much time trying to keep resistance movements divided. They wouldn’t spend so much time trying to infiltrate organized movements to sow seeds of fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

If it didn’t work, they wouldn’t use it themselves, or work so hard to keep each grain of sand separate.

Perhaps what we need right now are a lot more people coming together to stop the gears of injustice from spinning.

Grab your shovels, we’re going to need a lot of sand.

I hope you enjoyed this post.

If this is your first time here or you haven’t yet become a subscriber, I hope you’ll join me.

If you’re already a subscriber, I hope you love it enough to help support my work as a writer by becoming a member, where you’ll also get all sorts of other benefits.


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *