I think I have always erred on the side of optimism, even if not always proved right. The world is full of fine people, lovely places and myriad opportunities, at least for many. To some degree I only became so upbeat when I had left the artificial structure of the world of work. Although navigating a career requires seeing and grasping opportunities and employing one’s creativity, the imposed hierarchies and procedures can dampen and hide human nature and personality. Once exposed to people as people, my half-full glass began to fill up more. Already blessed with my family and friends, exposure to a community and groups of like-minded people has been revelatory and enriching. Men and women of wide diversity of experience have entered my life - or I theirs – offering the opportunity to learn from them and review previously held opinions. Life after work has been sweet. Human nature; kindness; community mutuality; individuals’ creativity and talents give hope for the future.
And yet: around this good fortune, a world has been evolving which is depressing to hopes and instincts and causes worry for the generations of my children and theirs. The legacy my generation may leave is a disgrace when compared to the opportunities we “baby boomers” have had.
Yes, life expectancy has improved all over the world and many more people have some share in the progress made by humanity. But we humans too have caused climate change and extinction of species which no action can halt immediately. It is people who start and fight wars for the sakes of their own egos, power and enrichment. It is people whose racism, greed and lack of perspective lead them to espouse nationalism, protectionism and self-serving elitism. Inequality of opportunity is perpetuated in a world of inequality of wealth and education. A world in which faith in fictions can defy scientific evidence is a world in which other irrationalities to be justified for the protection of power.
So wars continue, killing and driving millions away from the homes, peace and livelihoods to which they are entitled. States can invest more in arms than in education or care for the vulnerable, justifying the deprivation by claiming threats to stability whilst money is made from the supply of death. This too is a manifestation of human nature.
I became political because it seemed important to espouse and encourage the better human values in the governance of the country. It seems to me that there are more people in the world with goodwill than those who are malign and greedy. The trouble is that the latter seem the more powerful, more organised and more effective. The Right acts; the Left talks. That being the case, my glass is emptying and I feel very sad for the future. The only hope must be that the next generations are better than mine at instilling decent values in governance. Sorry kids!