The best answer was from a friend:
In a commencement speech at Stanford a few years ago, Steve Jobs gave a brilliant speech where he calls upon the graduating class to forge their own lives and not to live within the boundaries of other people's thinking (or what you think is other people's thinking). He reminds us to listen to our inner voice and intuition - or, as my mother would say, to your heart's longings, wherever they take you.
This seems to come up with each set of new graduates - as if we're shocked every year that we're creating a society were inner voices are drowned out, as shown in a recent NYT article on new graduates. It questions whether colleges have become simply a selection mechanism for Wall Street and other elite professions that do nothing to change the system. How do we inspire people to change the world? When Obama spoke at my alma mater (ooh, that feels weird to say) he called it a "poverty of ambition" - this lack of momentum towards service after college. I'm not sure it's that we aren't inspired - I think we're very inspired. We're just broke, and scared of forever being broke. Scared that we'll never really be adults because even things like gas and rice are out of our price range.
So I think the question then becomes: how do we, as a society, as a world community support world-changing? how can we encourage it?
stay tuned for ideas as I ask all the brilliant people around me...
"Stay hungry, stay foolish"
-Steve Jobs (advice to graduates, and everyone)