I was careful to use the word "might" in the title of this article.
I could have said "YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD BY DOING [X]" - where [X] is a variable, and just substitute whatever crack-pot idea you can imagine for [X]. But no, I said "might".
"Changing the world" is a hubris-ridden enterprise to begin with, a dangerous road ...
It's like those ZEN or Buddhist sayings that get bandied about - "throw a stone into the sea, and it creates waves ..." (yes - and duh). If 6 or 7 billion humans "throw stones", into the "sea of existence", you get LOTS of waves - and they interact, and not always in nifty ways. So I think there is reason to be suspect of anyone who says "I want to change the world", because, frankly, that's where Hitler started (I'm sure he said, "gee, how can I get crap to align with MY sense of awesome"). Hitler's "awesome world view" kind of sucked for everyone else.
Therein lies the flaw: in your desire to "change the world" you are imposing values on the world.
You chose course of action [A] versus [B], and by doing so you are saying "choosing this course of action, [A], is the best'est choice EVA!". And, from your perspective, that might be true. But we are not gods, despite the ego-driven neocon American-exceptionalism culture we are immersed in, and it is far more likely that our "grand schemes" are closer to "stony thoughts" than something we should implement in reality.
Let's tell a quick story about "changing the world", and good intentions, and why you might be wrong about doing it, because [A] could suck ...
During the 1940's physicians began using penicillin - and it was remarkable. For many years, many centuries, many millennia, aeons, humans died from "ordinary infections" - a cut on your hand could kill you. So, doctors (being smart) began using this miracle antibiotic - and, yeah, some died because of allergies, but that's not crucial to the story. Eventually, bacteria evolved that were impervious to penicillin - but NEW antibiotics were developed, and that did the trick, for a while ...
Now, in 2015, there lurk in many of our hospitals bacteria that cannot be killed with any known antibiotic - these are super bugs, and if you get one you have a fairly high chance of dying, painfully, with littler or no dignity, as the germ eats you alive from the inside out. Doctors overused these drugs for "good reasons" and now many sick patients are dying because of this.
You might say, "Dan, what's your crazy point?" - it's simple. The first wave of doctors to use antibiotics were optimistic and hopeful that these new "wonder drugs" would rid humanity of the threat of death from bacterial infection. They weren't bad people, and many of them were "smart" (being doctors and what not) - but they were driven by the same hubris that drives many when they believe THEY have THE answer to our PROBLEMS - kind of like Bill Gates wanting to "spray" vaccines from airplanes (crop dusters). Call me crazy, but I think we need to be a tad sceptical of this and not just jump on board because the "Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation" says so (just a thought to contemplate).
So, no - just because you have some unbridled righteous indignation, and just because you have some anecdotal experience that is overpowering your reason, that does not grant you the godly right to alter the course of history - but you silly humans, you will keep doing it any ways. So let's at least talk about a few ways you can, and really do it in style!
1. Form a Group
This is kind of what Hitler did - sort of. He technically took over a group, murdered many of its original leaders, and then sent the group hurtling towards its atavistic destiny. But he really did shake things up, and he was kind of a loser - so there is NOTHING that prevents you from leveraging those 234 followers on TWITTER and creating your own group, to do some kind of messed-up shit, to make the world "better".
Of course, you need to figure out what kind of crazy stuff your group is going to support, and or do, to change the world. This step is the hard one - mostly because humans and groups have already plumbed the depths, to a great degree, and there really aren't that many crazy or depraved ideas left untried. But don't let originality be your enemy, a simple answer is to re-use some terrible idea from the past (like Marxism) and foist that upon the human race a second or third time because "they didn't do it right the first time". (I love that one)
And yes - you will need a "manifesto", but these are not that hard to write. In fact, for $999.99 I will write a manifesto for your group - and it will be magnificent! If you don't know what your group stands for, that's OK brother/sister - I can create that for you too!
So, yeah - you can form a group, and change the world.
2. Write something that inspires people and crap
This is probably one of the more dangerous methods for "changing the world" - mainly because IF a story becomes popular it can take on a life of its own. Whether we are talking about L. Ron Hubbard (what's up with the "L"?), Ayn Rand, or Karl Marx (mentioned above), we have in these historical figures ideas or "memes" that were introduced into the universal consciousness of mankind, and maybe they don't even mean what they once did in the mind of the author.
I'm a fan of Ayn Rand, so her impact (from my perspective) seems mostly positive - especially when you consider that the Kultur-Critiks of American Academe have mostly rejected her. But whether you like "Atlas Shrugged" or not, her impact was significant and maybe even larger than she expected.
You write it down thinking that people will understand what you are saying - but often they do not, and your words/ideas - after your death - get twisted.
Friedrich Nietzsche is a favourite of mine - primarily because he was an amazing writer, and entertaining, which is rare for a philosopher (especially a German philosopher). Nietzsche went mad towards the end of his life, and his anti-Semitic sister ended up re-packaging Nietzsche's notes into a generalized and disorganized screed against Jews and "lesser peoples" - leading to the Nazi "superman" fetish. But here's the thing - those who study Nietzsche know that his writings were opposed to that nonsense. In fact, his relationship with Wagner fell apart once Nietzsche realized that Wagner was an incurable white supremacist (German supremacist really).
So, yeah - it can be dangerous to "write something" to change the world. But, it is an option, and a relatively cheap one (even I have a blog).
3. Build a photon-tunneling communication device (a.k.a. Time-Radio)
Some physicists have studied the concept of photon tunnelling - a phenomena in quantum mechanics where a photon (a particle of light or wave packet, depending up whether Schrödinger killed his cat or not, and we just don't know - what a dick) collides with some barrier of variable thickness and has a likelihood of arriving on the other side of the barrier, instantaneously. But, according to standard theory, this is purely random - or so you might think ...
There have been some experiments, I believe in Europe (possibly Denmark) that have shown different results for "tunneling" - in the early 1990's one Danish physicist claimed to have broadcast Beethoven's music at 1.4 times the speed of light using a MASER (microwave laser). Who knows if that is true - probably not accepted science today, but it's fun to ponder such madness.
According to Einstein's "Special Theory of Relativity", space and time are a continuum and events that occur in time occur RELATIVE to the observer, which is all bounded by the speed of light - being constant (about 23 miles per hour).
OK ... Light doesn't travel that slow, but deal with it - this is my "crazy".
So, IF photon (or quantum) tunneling could be non-random, then it would, from an information perspective, seem to violate Einstein's "Special Theory" (and it was quite special - and should be respected!).
But lets say you could build a device with the following features:
a) A winding coil of crystalline lead suspended in liquid nitrogen, a total distance of wound crystalline lead being somewhere around, kinda-sorta, several million miles (Kentucky-Windage) - which means a photon being cajoled on this racetrack, like a photon channel or something, would travel 8 or 10 times the speed of light (plussy minussy).
b) A gamma ray (or X-Ray) laser for burst transmitting information into the "race track" described above. This would be the transmitter - don't stand in front of it!
c) And a receiver, designed to receive and process digital messages sent by the gamma ray laser (or X-Ray) - at the other end of the race track described in [b] above. This is the receiver that would allow you to pick up messages from the future.
Now you have a tool for transmitting messages backwards in time - or at least a crack-pot theory as to how such a device could be built.
Then you say, "Alright Dan, what the hell would you do with that thingy?". I dunno - change the world (or win the lottery).
I personally think screwing with the space time continuum, by sending messages backwards in time, is a terrible idea. On the other hand it seems to be the whole backbone to that film Interstellar - and man, I'm always happy when Matt Damon dies in a film.
So I dunno - this might not be the best thing ...
4. Smile ...
That's right peoples - smile!
Yes - I know, this is corny. Why or how could "smiling" change the world? I really don't have a good answer for that. I am pretty much the most cynical person you are likely to ever meet, or at least in the top 10. But, and I must be honest, I've been caught off guard by smiles and they have impacted my day and maybe, sometimes, turned a bad day into a good one.
Smiling is less problematic than forming some radical "group" or penning some bizarre "screed". Smiling is feasible, unlike the photon tunnelling crap, and is less likely to introduce an irrevocable chain of causality-feedback that would rip the universe into tiny singularities. Smiling is fairly low risk.
Kids smile, and that's why their human parents don't eat them - and that's good. What if Einstein had been eaten by his parents? (that would have been bad)
So, smile - and change the world (without some genocidal war).
I have no clear cut conclusions - sorry.
I should have done another post on "Chipotle" - folks love talking about Chipotle.
But here is one angle:
It's good to have ideas, dreams, and even to desire a "better world" - it is foolish to think you know enough to know WHAT that "better world" would look like.
I'm an anarchist, which means I am predisposed towards skepticism of ANY scheme for "fixing the world" - many, if not most, of these schemes have actually resulted in millions dead (the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Maoist China) OR best case have led to people becoming more disillusioned than they already are (and the world already has enough disillusionment).
I think a free society, as close as we can get to that, is the best answer - let people change their own world, their communities, one life at a time, and build from there.
Beyond fostering "human freedom and dignity", and building safe places for that to bloom, I can't think of anything I would do (or recommend doing) to "change the world".