I’m thinking that most of us have put aside any notion that we know what the future will bring. I’m also hoping that few of us truly reckon that through simple belief you can forge the world to your will. I do still hear this from some people who ought to know better, and worse from people who I think do know better but find it a useful stimulant. And before the management comes looking for me with a P45 let me re-confirm I do think that by hard work – and with the support of others - we can create more certainty for ourselves and those around us. But if we’re not a little humbler and a bit more willing to recognise our dependency on each other at the end of 2020 then I wonder what it will take to make us stop, look and listen.
It’s a reflection of how we live that all of us rely on others to succeed. We each specialise and so we need to trade, to connect and be connected in order to satisfy even our simplest needs let alone those things that make us individuals. For me at least, once that weakness and dependency is recognised it provides a hugely optimistic way forward. This is not a spiritual insight or perspective. It’s simpler than that, because dependency makes kindness and cooperation the best way for the most people to get what they need from life.
This isn’t an excuse to go soft. Kindness is not cotton wool, and cooperation isn’t reduction to Soviet style agriculture. There are finite resources on this planet, and very little to exploit on any other planet that we have a chance of landing on. So for our own selfish sake, let alone the chances of future generations, we have to drive productivity, innovation and change. Just this limit on what the planet has to offer should be enough to stop the race towards a tiny minority being allowed to own the vast majority of wealth on the planet or the destruction of what we need simply to satisfy what we want. But we have seen air and sea surface temperature records broken all over the planet and a global pandemic followed up by an economic catastrophe. Err, hello.
So my suggestion for the holidays is to work out what you can do without and who you must be kinder to.
Love and science, Edward.
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