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The Great Flood

How can we clean up a flood or restore our community after a fire? These questions are great metaphors for the survival of civilizations. 

We are flooded with all the reminders of our mortality in these crises, even if we are not directly affected by them. 

When fires burn our homes, farms, flow charts and plans, how will democracy or capitalism rebuild our world? 

The future requires more than a lego set or blueprint. It requires  a Restoration story we can all relate to, says George Monbiot.

Chris Hedges notes in his article "The Great Flood"  that civilizations in fits of despair and anger  "have unfailingly squandered their futures through acts of colossal stupidity and hubris." 

The ruins of great empires litter the earth, says Hedges, as corrupt leaders  "driven by greed and hedonism, retreated into privileged compounds ... and hoarded wealth as their populations endured mounting misery and poverty."

Channeling anger into wars, the people are without knowledge because the wisdom they learned from a civil society don't apply. The worse things get, Hedges reminds, the more we retreat into magical thinking.  

We tell ourselves through social narrative that we have no agency. Everything is tied to the system which controls and punishes us if we don't believe their ideology. And  those who offer new stories are often burned at the stake or nailed to a cross, then worshipped as martyrs and messiahs after they die.

George Monbiot in his blog - tells us, what we need is not just facts, science and knowledge, but a cohesive narrative, where our agency is required. Where we are needed.

"The narrative we build has to be simple and intelligible. If it is to transform our politics, it should appeal to as many people as possible, crossing traditional political lines. It should resonate with deep needs and desires. It should explain the mess we are in and means by which we might escape it. And, because there is nothing to be gained from spreading falsehoods, it must be firmly grounded in reality."

For clarity I have itemized the instructions embedded in this paragraph:

1. transform our politics to include humanity and not just economics
2. appeal to as many people as possible, crossing traditional political lines
3. create the story to resonate with deep needs and desires
4. explain the mess we are in and means by which we might escape it
5. ground it firmly in reality.

Yes it is a tall order, but without long term intentions we are soon pushed off the road. 


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Where does "Greatness" come from? The imagination? Facts? Confidence? A willing suspension of disbelief in a slogan that makes us happy? A capacity to judge well? An ability to observe and find solutions that benefit most if not all? Taking responsibility for the community? A masters degree from Oxford or Yale?

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