When facing a cabal of crises, as we are, should we deal with them one at a time or should we try to step back a little and look for connections between each crisis and discern any common threads which might share similar solutions? Then and also, should we just formulate solutions based on the current conditions, orthodox thinking and tradition or dare to add an “I wouldn’t start from here” attitude and decide where we actually should start from? And how do we balance our socio-economic ideals with necessary pragmatism; turn vision into practical wisdom?
There’s no need to fixate on rosy notions of Utopia. We are not nearly evolved enough for that. It’s an impossible goal, enough to induce the apathy of despair that stops us striving for what might be achievable. We just need to get real. We need to organise our Society to be a more hospitable, nourishing, assisting entity, with an economy, infrastructure and institutions that support us all. The point is not to make everyone into Stepford citizens but to conceive a structure sufficient that citizens are more truly liberated. We just need to figure out what we can agree on or be honestly persuaded to agree on. ‘Just’ – I know, I know…
While, of course, there are environmental and demographic disparities and myriad cultural differences that perhaps make some things seem more complicated and, because we know that general social acceptance sometimes takes longer, perhaps the most we can reasonably expect is the security of applied equality under the Law. This way, space is better created for the balance between personal boundaries and individual expression that so many currently claim to feel threatened by on the one hand and prohibited from practising on the other. We are individuals – albeit that we identify by work, class, interests, tribal sympathies, etc – we are, each, our own infinite and unique Venn diagrams. Nevertheless, we surely share many fundamental human needs and desires.
That said, some of our mental and emotional anxiety is now so embedded in the collective psyche and the security of our material future, so insurmountable, seeming, that very deep breaths and bottomless bags of courage and patience are going to be required. Not to mention empathy and a loosening of self-righteous hyper-moralising.
So I guess we should keep our collective aspirations loose at first – focus on foundational agreements and then work out how to proceed by refining them as appropriate. Carefully and thoughtfully at every step. This means our ‘ideals’, the cornerstones of which, if we are to have societal consensus and cohesion, should be as clear and highly principled as possible.
Obviously, a codified Constitution would be a good start. Better late than never, eh? A Charter by which to underpin all the state mechanisms that follow. A framework upon which all law and governmental policy can and should sit. This means making it both basic and to the point but at the same time, all-encompassing.
But, dear Reader, the two largest obstacles to discovering, agreeing and manifesting any meaningful, progressive solutions are: 1) the lack of political will in our ‘leaders’ with their groupings of asymmetrical power and the agendas that influence the use and abuse of that power and, 2) the mix of paranoia, impotent protest and defeatism that weakens, divides and paralyses the Commons instead of uniting it in mutual trust and purpose.