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The “fundamental question of our time”

July 6, 2017

 

Water bottleI read a wearisome headline this morning. It was from one of those curious “speech-preview” press releases. Apparently Donald Trump will today say that the “fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive”.

He, and whatever advisors wrote this statesmanlike pretension for him, is wrong.

The fundamental question of our time is how humanity can come of age. For example by transcending its adolescent preoccupation with nationality and race. Or by recognising the damage done by inequality and the fact that inequality is more and more unnecessary as technology develops.

The fundamental question of our time is about when and how we are going to recognise that there is just one humanity and that we are all, in essence and foundation, the same. [What is different, and gives richness to human life, is how we then play out, and are allowed to play out, the sequence of events that our personal common humanity encounters].

When we can do that, other issues such as climate change and pollution, become much more straightforward. Because when there is just one humanity, we recognise that we all share one common home, one common legacy. When there are no ‘other people’ to blame, we have no reason, no choice, but to get on with cleaning up and protecting our common future.

One great challenge to come from this, at least temporarily, might be accepting that many of us need to have a little less and be a little more. So what do we say to those who most feel the need to ‘have’ – to own stuff and have power? These people who talk about, “whether the West has the will to survive”.

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