He couldn't change them.
He looked at them, studied them and thought he really knew them. He was so very scared for them. They didn't know what they were doing. They didn't seem to want to know and that scared him even more.
He thought he could change them with inspiration. Others had effected great change by inspiring speeches alone. So he spoke, at length, about what they could be, what they could aspire to. The speeches were well received, but no one changed. No one reached for more than what they were. They wanted change, but not to them. They wanted to go on exactly as they had been, while he changed the world around them to better suit their needs.
So he decided to show them. Where inspiration failed, example would carry the day. He would live his words and do his considerable part to make things better, to be more than he was. And things changed, but not all that much. His efforts alone would do little beyond the short-term. He needed them to follow his lead, do their own work to make things better.
But they didn't.
The changes he made were just enough that everyone got to be comfortable again. He tried to explain that what he'd done wouldn't last, that he was merely patching a flawed system, and if the system was to change, it was they who would change it. But he was scoffed at, tuned out, derided and ignored. Opposition turned his words against him, telling them all what they wanted to hear, despite that it wasn't what they needed.
He offered them money, turned the change he needed from them into jobs, and that seemed to work for a while. But the pay was necessarily low and the work was hard, and there were jobs by then to be had for higher pay and less work. These other jobs were unstable, he tried to tell them, an effect of the patch and no less impermanent. But they left his jobs in droves, chasing easy money and paper wealth.
He hadn't wanted it to come to this, it must be understood. But he'd tried everything short of this and none of it worked. If they had just changed on their own... but no. No, they couldn't be bothered, so now it was down to this. He sighed and put down the saw, wiping his brow on his sleeve. Then carefully, gently, even respectfully, he slid the top of the skull off the head, revealing the brain. He picked up a scalpel, his face grim.
Time for change.