TUMBY BAY - You’re reasonably astute and a follower of what’s going on in your country and the rest of the world.
What you see is a horrible combination of ignorance, greed, corruption and incompetence.
What you feel is impending disaster.
When you read your regular sources of information in newspapers, on the internet or elsewhere you find commentators who have exactly the same concerns you have.
To you, and these people, the concerns are real, urgent and immediate. If something is not done about them the consequences will be catastrophic.
You know what the problems are and more than likely have a fair idea of what needs to be done to fix them.
You believe that once the obstructionists standing in the way of solutions are widely known, people will swing in behind action to remove them or convince them to change their behaviour.
You understand the demands for change will require public pressure, protest movements, expressions of anger and leaders who will see the obvious threat that, through the ballot box, you and others will ensure they lose their positions.
So, when teetering on the edge of social calamity, physical disaster and personal oblivion, leaders will listen, see sense, step back, take stock and fix the problems.
Then, breathing a sigh of relief, you can resume your normal life. The good life you, and everyone you know, wants.
And yet, far from taking the required action, leaders continue in their ways, nothing happens to clarify their vision or redirect their behaviour.
Perhaps you wonder why. Surely they are not so stupid as to not see what is happening. Surely other people are not so blind as to understand that things must change.
Here’s some bad news.
The world is full of stupid and gullible people led by the nose by equally stupid but devious individuals who don’t care what happens to anyone else or even the future of life on earth.
They don’t care.
And why should they care if they are comfortable in their mansions, fly around in executive jets, exploit people and resources at will, and generally feel they’re having a good time and deserve every second of it?
When our planet finally succumbs to their predations, they’ll be long dead. But their vision never extends that far. So what does it matter?
If great numbers of the people are so trusting to believe the lies these people tell that their cronies are happy to enable and a collusive media are willing to propagate, is that the fault of the perpetrators?
The perpetrators do not believe so.
Even though there is a moral duty to ensure other people are safe and OK, they do not care.
And if securing their position means paying bribes or favouring cronies or suppressing opposition, then they feel that’s fine.
And if you have the courage to challenge, you will be savaged.
It takes much courage to challenge. It takes discomfort and pain.
Often if you’re smart enough to do better, it’s easier to join them, and avoid the discomfort and pain.
So, given all this, are things likely to change?
It’s more likely that little or nothing will change.
So what to do?
From where I sit, there’s more bad news. There’s nothing you can do.
Humans dislike change and are wont to stumble on regardless. Only when sitting among the wreckage of what could have been prevented will they realise how stupid they have been.
And maybe not even then if there’s somebody they can blame.
That’s how humans do things. They stuff up and only if they survive the crisis do they think about changing things.
For a while at least.
When the collective memory fades, they do it all over again.
By all means read, listen and complain if it makes you feel good.
Just don’t expect anything to change.
If you do you’ll be disappointed.
Keith Jackson writes:
I must add a redemptive editorial opinion. There is change, there can be change and there will ever be change.
We have all experienced change – and we have all benefited from it. But change is not always positive. It is not always progressive. It is not always the change we wanted. It does not always work as expected. However there is change.
If you really want change, you have to get out and work for it (or hope that others will do it for you). As we get old, as Phil and I are getting old, the sad corollaries are often infirmity and irrelevance and their accompanying disempowerment.
These consequences of ageing change the way we feel about our personal power and our ability to change things.
But, even though limited by how we can exert the power that might render change, we must be careful not to generalise from this to what others may be able do. Indeed, some of these others may listen to what we have to say and write, and learn from this.
Great minds have tasked themselves with the challenge of how things can be changed for the better. And there is considerable agreement on what Socrates probably was the first to say.
“Let him who would move the world first move himself.”
The boundless thinker Socrates was echoed by very many others down the centuries, like Leo Tolstoy who wrote that “true life is lived when tiny changes occur” or Margaret Mead who said “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
So we must understand that change is always possible and that power is always there to be grabbed. Yes, grabbed. Very rarely will it descend without effort.
If we give in to a mood that there is nothing we can do, and if others feel the same, the bad guys will always win.
But if we accept that change is possible, that power is there to be contested and that we can initiate the process whereby i can be contested, then we don’t have to accept what we're given is our ordained place and surrender to what seems inevitable.
There is much we can do to ensure you leave this planet better than when we found it. And it has to start from us doing something to challenge as inadequate status quo, wherever we find it and whoever we are - KJ