Image Courtesy of Mr. XPK
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
– Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
These words of wisdom by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr serve as reminder and check as to how we might best spend our time and efforts. Do we dwell on the unchangeable past, do we plan for different outcomes in the future, do we make changes right now which show that we have learned from our experiences and ensure a better path forward?
Previous posts for this year’s Steampunk Hands Around the World have discussed the value in exploring alternate pasts, understanding the roles and forces in play, and how those ideas help us decide what kind of future we want to have.
Steampunk makes our lives better by giving us the tools and the community to make real changes in our own lives, at least, if not in the larger world, as well.
Steampunks have the opportunity to be role models every day by the example we present to others. It may be our attention and effort in looking well groomed and well dressed or our politeness and courtesy.
Maybe it will be the idea of equality and inclusion, through altruistic actions and egalitarian intent. We can show how there are no true boundaries or limitations on who can do what, aside from a person’s skills and abilities. There is only one biological role for women, and one for men, but all other tasks and jobs in the world can be done by anyone.
Society and culture may want to enforce artificial rules and support peer pressure which limit what a person aspires to do, and it may try to shame those who go against them. Each and every one of us can break that cycle of influence and show others that there are other equally valid paths and perceptions of what is possible.
What an individual can do is not determined by their gender, or sexual orientation, or the color of their skin, nor by any other factor or description other than “Can you do “X”?”
Steampunks can be part of all social changes. We can speak out against discrimination, and exemplify inclusion. We can take action in marches and call our government representatives. Perhaps most importantly, we can have one on one discussions with others, and share our own personal stories.
We may not change the world overnight, but we can work to expand perspectives and understanding, one person at a time. If we don’t at least try, then surely we will always fail.