This, it seems to me, is the basic question we should be asking ourselves – are we being constructive or destructive in our basic behavior?
This is not a hard question, it seems to me – anyone who wants to ask it, can do so easily – and feel the answer easily – but most people do not want to. They know they are not supposed to ask this question – so they don’t.
The reason for this is obvious – we are in a destructive mode, and realizing this would be unpleasant. Although this is precisely what we have to do to save ourselves.
It would be much easier (we think) to just destroy everything – and then start over. Since changing who we are is so difficult. And since this is what is going on anyway.
This conclusion is faulty for a number of reasons – but it is accurate in one way – it correctly notes our deep hostility to social change.
When did this hostility begin? Sometime in the 19th Century. When we went from the Enlightenment values that America was founded on, to Industrial values.
I am not saying anything new here – this has been said many times, in many ways – but this insight has been ignored. Why?
The simplest answer is that our values are too tightly held to be changed. They may not be sustainable – but they cannot be changed. Which is just another way of saying that our present situation cannot be fixed. Largely because people do not want to acknowledge that it exists.
Recognizing this problem would make understanding our world much simpler. In each area of the world we could ask ourselves “Is this place getting better or worse?” Or even “Can this situation be fixed?” An accurate analysis of the situation would be complicated – and the answers would have to be stated as probabilities – probably it can be fixed, or probably it cannot.
And we would have to recognize that many situations cannot be fixed. At least until our capabilities to make basic social changes have been improved.
I will use an example here – Indonesia. I lived there for a few months in the Seventies – and could not help but like the people. But I also could not help but note that its political situation was impossible. And after the latest financial crisis in the area – it has gotten worse!
But I don’t have to go that far afield – I can look at America itself – and its political situation. It’s impossible! Americans cannot see this, but insist they will blunder on somehow – as they always have. Sure.
To widen our view – we have to recognize that our global situation, as it is, cannot be fixed.
Other people see it differently – and I am referring to people at MIT, which is sponsoring a MOOC on Just Banking – which I have mentioned in a previous posting. They look at the bright side – while I look at the dark side.
You have a choice.