Impotence and the importance of small things
When confronted with such a vast collection of persuasive powers and institutions it is difficult not to feel insignificant when measuring your small personal efforts of progress and empowerment against mighty authorities, writes Bertrand Russell When you feel you have little to offer take heed of what Russell points out
“There is no end to the small events that have great effects. If a certain subordinate German official had not decided to let Lenin go to Russia in 1917, Russia would not have become communist. If one or two Republican Senators had voted to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, the United States would have been a member of the League of Nations and might have preserved the peace of the world. I will not pursue further this catalogue of petty mistakes leading to great misfortunes. My motive in making the catalogue is to show that hope is not irrational. If small decisions can do great harm, they can also do great good, and it is therefor irrational to let our hopes be smothered by a sense of impotence”. Russell Reader
A fact that has just come to light in the public domain which illustrates Russell’s point. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Oct 1962. A Russian submarine commander was given the order to fire a nuclear warhead. The officer refused, thus possibly averting the disappearances of life on the planet.
There is no one person or activity responsible for most great achievements. What is usual for change is a whole variety of small achievable things carried out by the many and more than usually accredited to the great