A Dreamer and an Activist

I went to my history professor’s office hours a few weeks ago and while we were talking she mentioned that her next area of study was the ’60s and ’70s. She said she wanted to answer this question: is love enough to change the world? 

My first instinct was to respond emphatically: “YES! Love can change the world!”

But this year I have been working on translating my beliefs into actions. I have been focused on actually doing something about the things that are important to me. I don’t want to spend my whole life talking and never actually do anything.

So I had a mini existential crisis in my history professor’s office. I had these two parts of me– the dreamer and the activist– giving me two opposing answers to the same question. I thought about this question as I left her office and for several days afterward.

I know that love is powerful. I have seen it in my own life and in others’. I believe strongly in the power of good thoughts and intentions. You don’t even have to take my word for it as it was actually proven in an experiment done by the HeartMath Institute. In this experiment, a group of people each held a beaker with three strands of DNA. They were told to partially unwind two of them (to different extents) and leave the third alone. Half of the people thought about unwinding the DNA while also employing positive emotions and intentionality. The other half thought about unwinding the DNA with no positive emotion or intent. The people that employed love and intent successfully unwound the two strands of DNA while leaving the third unchanged. They literally changed DNA through positive emotion.

This is mind-blowing.

They altered reality through thoughts and emotion.

((If you would like to read more about this study you can look at a summary from the institute that ran the experiment here and you can read the actual report here. I highly recommend looking into it!))

So love is powerful. But is that the answer to the question? Is love enough to change the world? What good are thoughts and ideas and emotion if we do not allow them to propel us into action? Does the power of love negate the need for this action?

In wake of the recent Las Vegas shooting, many people expressed their love and support for the victims on social media. People sent their “thoughts and prayers” to those affected. Although this is obviously a good sentiment, it also became a point of outrage.

“Thoughts and prayers are not enough,” the internet screamed, “Help us.” 

People began to offer real tangible solutions to the problem. Locations for blood drives were shared online, fundraisers were started, pictures of missing people were circulated.

Is love enough to change the world? 

The thoughts and prayers (and love) were good, but the medical and financial support was better. Finding missing people was better. Action was better.

Eventually, I came to my conclusion.

 Love changes people and people change the world.

I am both a dreamer and an activist. I love people fiercely. I use my intentionality to make a difference. But I also act whenever possible. I don’t let myself be powerless. I go out and I do things and I let my actions make a difference too. As a college student, I am full of dreams of changing the world and making things better. I want to shape public policy and end poverty and hunger and save the environment and curate equality. I want to make a difference and have an impact.

This question was important to me because changing the world is on my agenda.

Love changes people. It can physically alter strands of DNA and it can physically alter your reality. You can use it to empower yourself and those around you. It can change people. And people who are loved and loving and empowered go on to change the world.

I want to be one of those world-changing people and I want my friends and family and neighbors and peers to be those people too. So I will continue to be both a dreamer and an activist and I would like to invite you to do the same. Join me in a daily attempt to change the world. Spread love. Act on your morals. We can make things better.

You are now part of my world-changing army, and this is our motto:

Love changes people, and people change the world.

Leave a Reply

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