Yesterday my gf surprised me with tickets for a Henry Rollins performance at the Zuiderpark Open Air Theater in the Hague. It was my first time seeing him perform; I thought he was insightful, funny, emotional and sharp as a whip. One of the things that stuck with me was the point he made about how change is not something that happens because of ‘ the us’, large groups who stand united in their beliefs, but because of the ‘ you’s, the individuals who bring about change one person at a time.
Afterwards, I wondered whether whether Rollins is or has become a cynic, who let go of the ideal of change as a mass movement or whether this idea, the belief in the power of one, is a sign of our modern, individualistic times. More and more, social change seems to be brought about by action of a singular person, often enabled by social media. Never before have we been this enabled by technology to reach (and mobilize) the masses.
The weekend before my best friend had complimented me on the volunteer work I do in the LGBT-community. Apparently, she realised after watching footage of the Gay Pride how important it is that there are people who are rol models for diversity. I found it really moving that she felt compelled to tell me this and it made me feel both proud and humble at the same time.
Hearing Rollins speak, I realized that I truly believe that one person can make a difference and that we should stand up for what we believe in and help those who are not able to do so (yet).