We are faced with a plethora of big and scary issues. Issues that we, on a personal-individual level, cannot comprehend let alone solve. Thus, we look at our managers, bosses, or politicians for guidance, leadership, orders …
Do we wait for the next GFC, global disaster (incl. man-made global pollution and desecration of the environment) or atrocity-filled war with resulting waves of refugees and emigrants? When do we do something about neo-liberalism & capitalism, global corporatisation, inequality, the slow but steady erosion of individual but also collective freedom & rights and the apathy towards democracy? The only way to tackle these is collectively, e.g. on country and/or multi-nation (global) scale. But when? And how?
We ask, when is the Government going to act? When the carefully sanitised reports come in from the many working groups with their narrow terms of reference? Sure, the Government must make informed decisions, based on facts and science and the best available evidence. But change is constant; it does not wait for a working group to catch up with the facts. It is worse than Zeno’s paradox of Achilles and the tortoise because it cannot be mathematically refuted.
We ask, what is the Government going to do? What is more, we demand that the Government does something, anything. To try and come up with alternatives or solutions the process of elimination is flawed from the outset as it only looks to eliminate one option, the status quo. It is reflexive and focusses on the negative (dualism) rather than creating something better, new. The dualistic approach inevitably leads to decisions (choices) that swing like pendulum, e.g. from Left to Right and back; two sides of the same coin and no real change, no real progress, nothing we have not seen or tried before. It is boring and ultimately an exercise in futility; we need a different and new approach.
This requires imagination and courage, but does it require leadership? That is, do we need the conventional leadership-as-we-know-it? What if the new paradigm (system) is less predicated on the old leadership style, less of a top-down hierarchical structure with a ‘chain of command’? Maybe not quite like the Occupy Movement, which lost momentum after the initial impetus, but something along those lines?
We have become so ego-centric and selfish at the same time that we seem to have forgotten how to act collectively, to be a collective. To channel Hannah Arendt, each of us has been given (a) life to do something meaningful, which is to create something new and only through this full realisation we bestow faith and hope upon ourselves and our actions*. The seemingly enormous crevasse – often marked by contradiction and conflict – between the individual and the collective can be bridged by common action towards a shared or common goal. This is where individual and collective freedom of choice and action are integrated and united.
There are plenty of examples where we as individuals feel as one with another; we all know the feeling, we have experienced it. In fact, the urge to belong and unite is vital for survival at more than one level. Yet, we shun it on a socio-political level!?
So, if it is action that binds us together and if we are not short of common goals, what are we waiting for? A sign? A leader? A catalyst? A truly progressive party? Godot? Or something or someone else altogether? Let’s just wait a little longer and hope for the better, shall we?
PS I had wanted to post this sooner but Leaker-Gate broke its dams so I decided to wait 😉 However, it seems the torrent shows no signs of slowing and continues to monopolise discourse 🙁
*Action in this context has a much deeper meaning than just doing (or saying) something; it is all we are/do that makes us known to the world and vice versa and how we become known to ourselves through re-action. Here is a good explanation and here is a simplified shorter version.