A universal anger
The tragic events in Dallas, Minneapolis and several other States plus the continuing terrorism in the Middle East and elsewhere tell us that the world is angry. Brexit was even cited as an example of people’s wrath taking control of their heads. I’m not sure that is true of the electorate but it certainly seems a possibility about their leaders. We notice it in our mentoring, coaching and training business. Not so much among the young, more in the troubled looks and lives of the middle-aged and, often, the old who fear for their survival.
Uncertainty has always been the dampener on life. That is why when we set out on a journey whether for a few hours or for some weeks we relax as soon as we reach our seat or cabin. We know our destination and there is little more satisfying condition in life than that. “I know where I’m going” is a great refrain. At present the world doesn’t, and it is troubled.
Pressure on space has been mounting seriously for the last hundred years. The world’s population has doubled in my lifetime. The cost of land and property has reflected this. Sure, people lives have generally improved, the number who can be classified as ‘middle-class’ has grown dramatically but the gap between rich and poor has widened to a point where it is obscene by any standards. And it is not even simply wealth disparity that causes trouble.
Privilege is perceived as putting one person beyond the reach of the major irritants of the lives of others. Privilege has burgeoned in recent years and the less fortunate see it all the time on social media, movies and games. Sometimes manifest by money it is often just the elevation to celebrity of people whose lives do not always reflect the best side of human nature that causes jealousy and hatred. Recent events reflect that in stark disasters.
So often the solutions sought are organisational and administrative. If you are running a large number of people they are the quickest and simplest tools to hand. Unfortunately they only reach the superficial symptoms of what is happening. They do not deal with the causes most of which date back some time. The heart of the matter took time to foment. It will take time to correct. That is no reason why we should not start to do so even if the benefits come only after our lifetime. Short-termism is killing our children’s future.
Just as a business must have a coherent vision, must set and maintain its values, must decide its areas of focus and must, from all this, determine its strategy, so a society must, too. Today’s society is the world even though we are a long way from Federal Union and arguably going backwards where that is concerned. But the globalisation that modern communications brings will not be reversed. Our vision and values are not fit for purpose.
The educational task of correcting this is huge. A whole new approach to social behaviour based on what the world needs now not what some after-life requires for a happy eternity is urgent. Where shall we find it? The old religious institutions, with one or two exceptions, have failed to address the issues. Our educational systems devote most of their time teaching to enable us to earn a living – worthy enough but pointless if purposeless. Parents reinforce the need to be competitive before being cooperative.
How shall we start to dispel the universal anger?
If we don’t it will only get worse.