Perspective: To Rule The World

Jun 13, 2019

“The world is a mess and I just need to rule it.”  


This quote, from Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible, the tongue squarely in cheek musical – released online years ago – is at once brutally honest, refreshing, and terrifying.   


Maybe it is because the world is indeed a mess.  Maybe it is because the world has always been a mess.  And maybe it is because so many of us, even if we are not conscious of the fact, have often thought those very words: “The world is a mess and I just need to rule it.” 


So many of us feel perfectly entitled to provide our opinion on how others should do their jobs.  Whether we shout at Washington about the gridlock, our local educational board about the direction of the schools, or the writing duo of the HBO series Game of Thrones about how to write a final season, we like to tell others how we would do their jobs. 


Underneath such entitlement lurks the problem of what it means to rule rather than lead: because with rule we need not worry about compromise.  With rule we need not worry about context or responsibility.  With rule we shape the world in our own image, which is necessarily limited and only a fraction of the entirety of human experience and complexity. 


What if, rather than sit on the sidelines and muse upon how we would do someone else’s job, we would be better served look inward, and revise Dr. Horrible’s mantra: “the world is a beautiful and complicated mess and I just need to lead by example and work with others and find a way to make it better.”    


I’m Michael Perry, and that’s my perspective.