Something I find interesting is how we all seem to feel the pressure to declare our opinions and understanding of what is going on in the world and what should be done about it. Yet we’ve created this highly complex, interconnected, fast-moving and responsive global society over the last hundred years or so and it’s a little presumptuous to say we know what’s happening and what it means. It seems everyone is struggling to catch up while also availing themselves of the opportunities – as if, knowing ourselves to be intelligent beings, we rush to exercise that power and move ourselves forward.
What I love about the world right now is how all the diversity of experience and culture is blending into a pretty democratic, free and informed world. Not to say there aren’t problems and inequalities, but we are able to communicate with and begin to understand people from all different parts and hear what they have to say about the systems we are creating and participating in.
Much of this may be uncomfortable, difficult, challenging. Western society is almost unquestionably built upon exploitation and the imposition of our ideas and systems on other quarters of the globe, and it’s hard to claim superiority without also acknowledging these foundations. Inequality and questionable intentions can also no longer be so easily swept under the carpet, and in attempting to do so issues around trust and truth become even murkier as dubious interests attempt to present a human face to us.
It’s challenging to face up to the past and also to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. Recent events have shown that even understanding those nearby – who broadly share the same history, culture and reality as you – can seem impossible at times, so fully understanding and appreciating the lives of those much further afield cannot be a simple task.
For some reason there is an intense “rush” about modern life – not wanting to miss out, wanting to be the first to create and benefit from new trends, essentially seeking to ride the wave of change and emerge a winner. But can we rush when it comes to understanding all this? Information is generally available now but it is a real challenge to grasp it, understand it, integrate it, and to make wise decisions that take all factors into account while fully anticipating the implications.
In thinking we know what is happening and what is right, maybe we stop asking questions and start applying rigid labels to a very complex and evolving picture.