Crisis – what to do?
I believe that we are facing an unprecedented economic and environmental crisis. I believe that neoliberal capitalism and the economics on which it is based (the apparently dominant economic ideology) do not adequately account for social and environmental factors and need to be radically reformed (well, overturned!) Materialism must be replaced by a sense of wonder, appreciation and respect for other people and nature, and mutual responsibility. Words like ‘eco-spiritual’ and ‘ethical’ seem appropriate here. (You can get more of an idea of what I mean by reading my review of The Globalisation of Addiction, A Study in Poverty of the Spirit.)
So what can we, as individuals, do to bring about this new eco-spiritual-ethical world? A few days ago I had a conversation with a friend about ways of making the world better. I was disturbed to realise that some people perhaps perceive a big divide between simple local actions and large-scale, long-term campaigning. Thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that it might be possible to classify actions intended to make the world a better place according to such criteria as:
- their short-/long-term nature,
- their abstract (intellectual) or concrete (physical) nature (although that becomes complicated!),
- their ‘for something’ or ‘against something’ nature, and so on.
In this way one could end up with a multi-axial graph.
For me I don’t think there is a preferred single position on this hypothetical graph, but others may be more naturally drawn to certain types of action. I think all forms of action are necessary, both in terms of my own mental and emotional wellbeing (too much theoretical stuff leaves me feeling depleted, frustrated and ineffectual) and strategically, in terms of my ability to influence others by example (show, don’t tell!).
Many little, diverse and seemingly unrelated actions can contribute to real change
If I have a natural inclination, it is to synthesise and integrate, and I am driven to show how many little, diverse and seemingly unrelated actions can contribute to real change, which I certainly believe they can do. Indeed, communicating this idea is essential, I believe, in order to give people a sense of purpose and belonging, and keep them motivated.
With this in mind, I awoke the morning after my conversation with my friend with an idea of how to give people ideas as to what they might do and show them, by the simple expedient of bringing these together, that they are all part of the same nascent movement, the movement to reclaim the planet an our lives from the short-term vested interests of tax-dodging corporations, the super-rich and the politicians they suborn. (There’s plenty about these things elsewhere on my blog!)
Hate being told what to do!
Most of us hate being told what to do. Shouts of, ‘We’re all doomed!’ also do little to motivate. Yet many of us feel that we would like to do something to help build a better world, in line with our interests, abilities and resources. But what? And where will we find the time to find out about things, let alone do them?
I came up with the idea of the ‘Random Idea Generator‘ as a painless and fun way to come across ideas that you may not previously have had.
How to use the Random Idea Generator
Nothing could be easier! Simply go to the Random Idea Generator and follow the instructions. Remember to scroll down the page to see everything!
How I see this developing
Ideally people will contribute more ideas for inclusion on the Generator.
In the medium term I would like people to be able to choose, say one to three ideas and put them on a business card together with their names and a heading such as “I’m a Possibilitarian for a Better World”. The card would feature this website’s address (http://www.tiny9.com/u/betterworld) (or that of a related Facebook group?), any personal contact details they wished to add, and a beautiful image of their choosing and they would be able to design this online and then print it out.
Similarly, people would be able to design beautiful A4 posters with, say, ten suggestions on them.
Can you help?
• Does anyone have the IT skills to help me achieve the above?
• Can anyone help with improving the aesthetics, layout and efficiency of the Random Idea Generator?
• Would anyone be willing to help moderate suggestions to add to its list of ideas?
• Would anyone like to help set up an associated Facebook group?
• Any other ideas at all?
Please let me know by commenting on this blog post or emailing me!