As Emily told me, “now we have a grain processing unit in our town, and that’s because some people decided it was a good idea, other people agreed it was a good idea, and now it’s here. If you can do that with grain, then what else that we’re not happy with can we do that with?” What indeed.
Ultimately what sustains me is a rather heady cocktail of stubbornness, optimism, a strong faith in the human spirit and in other people, rage, a deep wish to live a life of service to others, the thrill of seeing people step up and take their lives into their own hands, all coupled with a deep sense of urgency. It works for me.
There was also a great Dutch game called ‘Spijkerpoepen’, where you had to tie a screw on the end of a piece of string to the back of your trousers, and then only by looking backwards between your legs, get the screw into a bottle. It required amazing levels of concentration, as I hope this photo conveys. You should try it at your next staff meeting at work.
Mark Sears has the wonderful job title of ‘Chief Wild Officer for the Wild Network’. The Wild Network grew out of the film Project Wild Thing (see trailer below), and aims to reconnect young people with nature, inspired also by the findings of the 2012 Natural Childhood report. Their mission is “to support children, parents and […]
“All of these things in many ways undermine what I call the ‘social imagination’. That is an imagination capable of understanding why the public good matters. Why the question of a commons matters. Why we need to think in terms of eliminating a culture of cruelty and hardness that’s been put into place by a market driven culture. What it means to save the planet, and to have some sense of how important that is. And what it means to revive the language of democracy and community”.
As we detach from the conversations that since forever formed the bedrock of our culture, we imagine that the ability to be always connected will make us less lonely. And yet loneliness is a national epidemic.
Whatever happens as a result of the Presidential elections, something fascinating is building in France. Something based on celebrating a new story, something that speaks to care, to human values, to solidarity. Something that seems to be popping up all over the place, and particularly speaking to young people, but bringing a creativity and imagination to a culture where those in charge seem to have run out of both. Watch this space…
“In this house, Vincent Van Gogh, for six intense, passionate months of his life, painted as though his life depended on it. He imagined this house as a catalyst for a shift of global significance, a reimagining of art and its possibilities. And although the personal cost to him was enormous, he achieved his dream, albeit posthumously. The painting he made of this house still speaks to the power of the human mind to will the seemingly impossible into reality. And to do so with love, colour, passion and beauty. And we need it now more than we ever have”.
Jonathan Schooler is a Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara. According to Wikipedia, he “researches various topics that intersect aspects of both cognitive psychology and philosophy such as: Belief in free will, Meta-awareness, Mindfulness, Mind-Wandering, Memory, Creativity, and Emotion”. We chatted by Skype.
Philippe Van Parijs is a philosopher, social scientist, and co-founder of the Basic Income Earth Network. He is co-author of the just-published book ‘Basic Income’, and is one of the leading proponents of the idea. We met in a noisy pizza restaurant in Exeter to discuss Basic Income, and in particular, I was interested to know whether he felt a Basic Income would free people up to be more imaginative.