Peace, people and sustainable systems
Question: How democracy finds itself here? What do you think the average person can do to ensure a sustainable system (“a more perfect union”)?
Answer: Let’s start with peace, and bear with me through this. Because if the end result of all this discussion or reading is not peace, then why bother, eh?
Let us also begin at the “Edge of Chaos”, in that we are already here and THIS is the edge. Now, the question is how to go back from this and return to a peaceful state.
Misinformation amongst people is definitely a factor. As we are all people, we act based on what information we have and how we can use that to understand what is happening around us. Sort of like understanding how the world in which we are living functions.
Globalization and its so-called “after effects” are certainly another factors. But when we see that globalization has been happening for a long time, I think its fair to ask what that has done to us as a human species. We have made hundreds of millions of connections and all ideas of all societies have been impregnated with all ideas from all other societies. This is what people do. They talk. They listen. They exchange ideas. And globalization, (through trade deals, international treaties, logistics, “expats” etc.), has done its fair-share of dispersing all people everywhere.
Third factor we should consider then, is population makeup. Who is an American? Or Australian? Or Indian? Or Ugandan? Or British? Of course, I don’t know and will never define that as those are highly personal identities and as such deserve their own definitions by each individual. What I am considering, however, is people and information in general, aggregate terms.
Those who are older (for our purposes, let’s say everyone between 40 and 95 years old) have grown up in a world quite unlike that we face today. And in their world, they have known peace differently. Peace births calm, which births comfort, which in turn adds to general happiness of someone. So if someone says, they are unhappy, it is because they cannot anymore feel peaceful.
This is, however, not the ground reality. And we should face the questions and ideas that are currently existing, because whatever this “sustainable system” is, will not remain sustainable if we do not begin with ground realities. This means starting with factual realities and basic questions — what do people think/believe is true VS what actually is true.
For example, on a daily basis, a hungry starving person’s need is food whereas a wealthy President’s need is TV and Twitter. The question then becomes how to compensate for this varied levels of need. And we cannot do all of this if we live in fictional world in our mind. Money is a tool, upon which trade systems, treaties, businesses and theories are built. Globalization has upended all that.
I see and speak with my parents on a daily basis twice now (and that too “for free”) whereas in 2006, I could only speak with them once a week for some minutes. This is distance — as opposed to the kilometers or miles that we measure.
And one of the most important results of globalization is shorter distances between people. And so we become one society. We live together with everyone else and yet continue to ignore their ground realities.
So, how do we get back to peace in this chaos? In essence, what you are asking is how to undo one of the central ideas of thermodynamics. From chaos to order.
Interestingly, it can be done only when you consider all of us as one system. Earth is the best, most magnificent “emerging property” that this universe has resulted. So our job is only to manage the order here and that can be done, so long as we can specify what is chaos in here. Chaos can be boxed within boundaries. Nature does it all the time. All the chaos of atoms is bounded and therefore there are mountains. But there is also water. This means there is a flow to this order. The more tightly packed are atoms, the more the rigidity. Make them free and you have water. The more tightly connected are humans (via information), the more are the chances of their being affected via those communication channels. Thus, in this “information age”, we can concentrate on the flow.
There are no simple answers — even though there are solutions. I used to read everyday as a kid on my parent’s “shelf” that we become what we think, infer and do. So let us think good and let correct information flow. None of the construction on any sustainable system (whether politically, socially or personally) can begin without coming to terms with what realities we have. And that requires facts and correct information. Therefore, yes there are different attitudes amongst different age-groups of people and that is okay. Peace is not a concept that is defined in terms of which age-group you belong.
Genuine concern may help, for example, an average person understand another average person. Then, of course, there is the desire to fix what is broken. Therefore, we use good and correct communication which addresses and provides for the needs of people. I would be remiss if I did not include fear as an element that needs addressing. Fear makes people irrational. Since loneliness and “unknown” births fear, let us think in terms of connections and knowledge and be unafraid. This is how we begin to draw patterns in this chaos. And in those patterns, can we find the peace we seek.