Although this question crossed my mind in the middle of October, it kept recurring in a range of areas. For those seeking system change it is core to the philosophical question of whether humanity can adapt to systems based on love and sharing instead of greed and fear. While that thought may not bear much reflection for us in our busy lives, and may even be annoying, it is strange that practical implications of the consequences of this primitive mindset coexisting in our high tech world should present themselves in a few weeks. We’ll call it synchronicity. Let’s reflect on the big picture of where power wins at the expense of truth.
Old news it may be, but the war in Iraq is prominent. The lie of course is that there were weapons of mass destruction. The truth is that its about money and oil. See Iraq is a resounding success …
Related to this is Iran and nuclear concerns. Here again we see the rich and powerful condemning the poor and weak, while in fact raising nuclear risk. See The US’s poor example of nuclear weapon management and US sanctions on Iran – the pot calling the kettle black?
Again related is the super media ready soundbite of a war on terror, while in fact curtailing civil liberties. See King John and all that – fighting for habeas corpus and Lying to ourselves
Turning to the world of money, there was more encouragement of moral hazard. But the best example of power winning over truth is the Master Liquidity Enhancement Conduit, a ruse by big banks with messy balance sheets to get investors to buy “the good loans” off their balance sheets. When the market needs transparency the big and powerful obfuscate the situation with MLEC! See US banks want you to carry the can for their sub-prime mistakes
And then there are the environmental challenges that everyone feels. Whether its drought in the US or warm winters or heat waves in summer we know there are problems and all of the science tells us we need to change behaviour now. So companies talk about green this and eco that. But do little to change their behaviour. See Lots of talk about Environmental Disclosure, little action among FTSE All-share
And we delude ourselves with the rationale that technology and trade can feed the world. But it isn’t working now and it doesn’t look like it could, unless the human population drops a lot and soon. See Humanity’s demands on nature, in pictures
There was also scientific research published which suggests that while fairness is a genetic quality, some have more than others. The balance of economic and social influence seems to be held by those with less interest in fairness and more interest in themselves. See Behaving like monkeys
We know that education is the solution to many of our challenges because it distributes power among many. We’re even getting a better consensus on what how to educate. But this solution gets little time, capital or energy so most of humanity is left behind. See How to build a better education system and Trade, inequality and education
We keep lying to ourselves. Whether it is economic imbalances, Iraq, Myanmar, trade or our own diet, we keep hiding from the fact that we want control over others even if the consequence is that our integrity is eroded. It is all too easy to take the money today, instead of sharing life with others. Whether it is coming to terms with Iraq or economic imbalance, our deal with the devil can only be unwound at a cost.
Just jotting these notes seems overwhelming. No one’s perfect. We all cut corners. But humanity will be richer by working together. For that we need trust. For that we need truth. Humanity needs to grow up and behave more like a healthy life-form than a disjointed, dysfunctional mess. We need to live with nature, not without it. Let’s hope that as our economic systems bend under the strain of over-consumption we can adjust our behaviour and love one another a bit more.