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Duration:03:34
Uploaded:2015-05-15
Last sync:2018-04-28 06:10
In which Hank delivers a message for the class of 2015, and also for everyone else. This is a magically weird time in the history of our species and it's time to be a part of it.

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Hank: Good morning, John.  So, by studying the traffic patterns of our educational channel CrashCourse, I can tell that students are currently freaking out and watching 20 episodes of CrashCourse Chemistry back to back to back, and that can only mean one thing: very soon, a large group of people will be graduating into the next stage of their lives.  And for those people, and also other people, I have made this video.

Hello, future dead person.  I have an uncomfortable truth for you.  You are very likely one of the luckiest and most powerful people who has ever existed on this planet.  Now, you almost certainly do not feel powerful, it's difficult to feel powerful unless you suddenly have more power than you once had or have much more power than the people around you.  So you don't feel the power all the time, and it's probably good that you don't, 'cause it might be crippling, but in terms of absolute, not relative, power, you are basically a god.  You can hold the sum of all human knowledge in the palm of your hand.  If you've ever taken a hot shower on a cold day, you have experienced a luxury that the vast majority of humankind could never even dream of.  You can write down a thing or make a video and potentially millions of people will be affected by it.  That's not normal.  That's lots of power.  So what's all that power for?

Well, I'm not going to lie to you, this is a complicated time.  I, for example, have absolutely no practical advice for you.  Your future career is probably going to look different than any other career that ever happened ever, so, so you're gonna have to be thoughtful and careful and maybe even a little bit cunning, and by the time you reach retirement age, jobs might not be a thing anymore, so blehhh. 

There is one thing that I can definitely say about the world as it  exists right now.  We are, at this moment, both creating and solving problems faster than we ever have before.  So your job, the only thing anyone can ask of you as a human, is to solve more problems than you create.  Also take care of yourself and have a good time, ideally, but you are very powerful, and you can make your world and yourself better so do that. 

As for how to do that, um, I've been thinking a lot about Eve Online.  Eve is a massively multiplayer online space capitalism game that takes place in the fictional galaxy of New Eden and sprawls across more than 7,800 different star systems.  And just like in the real world, every player in Eve decides for themselves what success is.  But overall, the culture of Eve is one of theft and distrust and betrayal and greed.  The developers of Eve didn't build this into the world.  That culture was defined by individual people taking individual actions. 

Now this is interesting to me, because I also live in a world that was created by the actions of people--obviously, you know, the creation of the world also had some stuff to do with physics.  But our culture is just the collective actions and decisions of people.  And that culture is, at this point, the single most important factor in the health and sustainability of our species.  And we all get to collectively decide what that culture is. 

Now, it might feel like we have no control over this, that we're at the whims of what has come before and that we're destined to end up in a cutthroat world of ever-increasing inequality, but not if we decide to not live in that world, not if we choose compassion.  We collectively decide what world we're gonna live in by being that world. 

That's the real power you have.  It's not your job, and it's not your bank account.  It's a power than every human has, every human ever has had, and it has nothing to do with immortality or fame and yet, I think that it might be the most important thing that every person does.  And the reason we educate ourselves and improve ourselves is so that we can be more effective at making these positive changes, at creating more solutions than problems.  Because in the end, your actions are what build our world, so don't take that for granted.  And, John, I'll see you on Tuesday.

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