Have you ever noticed how two different people can react in completely different ways to the exact same situation? Often the reason is a different perspective on reality as a whole.
How do you react when you are told something you disagree with? Do you argue right away, or do you first give yourself some time to look at the alternative perspective with an open mind? Most likely the first one. Whatever we believe is right and true, we generally do not like it when that perspective is challenged, as we perceive it as a threat to our foundational assumptions. What if something you’ve believed in all your life turns out to be wrong? It is a possibility that most people do not handle well.
It is for this reason that so many people are being seduced by fake news. Because it comforts them, as it affirms them in staying within their personal bubble. It makes it easier to ignore that nagging feeling that something is not right with the world, even if they do not manage to articulate what it is. And so it becomes very tempting to follow a strong and authoritative leader with clear and easy answers to all questions, and affirming them in their sense of victimhood.
Before you start feeling smug about your own moral superiority, take a moment to critically consider your own point of view. Would you not be tempted by someone who tells you they can shelter you from reality, perhaps at the expense of people you do not care about anyway? If your stance is, for instance, that it is the task of the rich to give all their money to the poor, and that that would miraculously solve all the problems in the world, do you think that is a sustainable solution? It may help for a bit, but if the only pillar of your business plan is taking away what is not yours, isn’t that grossly oversimplifying things?
Or any other plan that singles out one group of people as the cause of everything that is wrong with the world. It may well be true that some deserve better treatment, and some have more than is fair, but it will not solve climate change and overpopulation.
Is there a better way to look towards the future then? Is it not necessary to make sure we will be able to survive it before doing anything else? Isn’t that what self-care means?
I would suggest to start thinking in terms of who you want to be rather than what are the necessary conditions to get you there in a comfortable way.
That means also to think about who that person is in relationship to other people. Will you be a pillar of support for others, or do you expect others to support you? And how are both balanced? How much do you want to invest in others compared to how much you expect from them? Is the balance fair? And how would you react to those who have needs but are unable to contribute much themselves? Is that acceptable to you?
I want you to think about this. What is your main strength. What can it contribute to the web? How would it make the world a better place if you did that? What would the world be like if we all found it natural to contribute according to our strength? No more, and no less? And when we would accept that there may be some who may be less strong than we, who cannot contribute right now, but are still wonderful in other ways?
The future will require all of us to work together. It is likely that there will be a point when the certainties of today no longer exist, and when people will no longer fit into the current economic system, even if they want to. That has nothing to do with laziness, but with the fact that the current world is not built with people at the center, but rather is constructed as a machine that gives us all the right to act as spare parts, with the rights of the machine being more important than the rights of individuals. It means we are not valued for the skills we have, but for the skills that machine needs. And everyone who does not manage to fit within that system, will end up being discarded, and denounced as being lazy for their unwillingness to fit in.
But is it really that desirable to live a life that is only based on surviving, rather than on thriving? Should ‘being a good machine part’ really be our main life goal??
Let us change reality by changing the rules. Let us break down the machine and start over, by looking at the people we have, and considering their skills, and redefine ‘possible’ as whatever society can be built from that, while accepting that, as in nature, seasonal variations will apply, and predictability will have to be given up. But what we will get in return is beautiful surprises, and a society where everyone feels valued as who they are.
Now, I ask you. Where would you prefer to live? In a society that you helped to build, or in one that was built on top of you, after the ground you used to stand upon was bulldozed away without your consent? Or what do you think will happen when we continue to allow the big corporations to rule the world?