Matters for All
At the start of Lockdown in 2020, an overwhelming majority of the population had no idea what was going on. As it progresses many are finding the speed and extent of the changes incomprehensible. A host of new rules and regulations come at a time when the climate crisis, unemployment, hunger, poverty, armed conflicts and forced migrations demand our attention.
It is all too easy to forget that the social sphere of life is not something 'out there', constructed by specialists in geopolitics, and nothing to do with us personally. On the contrary, as we go about our daily business, we are each one of us an integral part of the world economy. So it concerns us all. And, since absolutely everyone is a part of the whole, we must all take the time to develop an understanding of how it functions, so that we may rightly have a say in the way it is ordered.
As a recently circulated discussion document, entitled ‘Memorandum-Easter 2021' and written by Dr Michaela Glöckler and Andreas Neider, observes:
"Many people are asking themselves, what kind of future is in store for us? What kind of citizen participation is needed to keep democracy viable in the face of this changed overall situation? How can civil society be concretely involved in the process of a necessary rethinking – also in Corona politics?"
The authors note five different reactions to the Lockdown measures. These can be broadly summarised as follows:
1. There is a deadly virus that has spread worldwide. It must be eliminated by the full force of modern mechanistic-materialistic science and technology.
2. Health is a complex balance between the generation, degeneration and regeneration of living organisms. The task is for individuals to use all the resources to hand to maintain a healthy balance for their families and society as a whole.
3. Isolation, restrictions on movements, disruptions in education, curtailments of social interaction, all these measures are counterproductive to well-being because they escalate malaise.
4. Authoritarian regimes can be imposed from above when fear is let loose in society. Citizens of all ages and all walks of life must guard their freedoms by entering into discussions with others of differing viewpoints.
5. The mechanistic world view presently dominating the social order serves to obscure the spiritual dimension to life. Yet humanity is rooted in the wider worlds of nature and the life of the spirit. The cycles of life, death and rebirth facilitate appreciation of the spiritual science dimension of the social order.
Over the decades following World War II humanity worldwide threw itself into the zero-sum game of monopolistic materialism. By unthinkingly following the rules of the game, as taught in schools and colleges during childhood and adolescence, we create poverty amidst plenty, an endless series of devastating wars, rampant disease, ecological catastrophe, widespread migration, homelessness, endless waste, artificial intelligence and blanket ignorance. In these circumstances democracy goes by the board. Global corporations, and the governments they control, design, produce and market the basic necessities and luxuries of life. Through the financial system of waged and salaried slavery, food, clothing and shelter and an infinite range of internet toys are supplied in standardised packages to meet the demand artificially created by the corporate world. Entertainment, information, education, sport and medical care come ready-made and packaged, to be consumed regardless of any detrimental effect upon ourselves or others, or on the natural living world. Goods and services that were once designed and produced by households set within their local communities, are now determined by their financial profitability. The current crises can only be solved if men and women of all ages and all walks of life, in their local communities, recover responsibility for their thoughtlessly given proxies.
To the extent that we seek to carry on as normal, we merely endorse the decisions made by a corporate world that is intent on imposing mechanistic materialism over every state on the planet. In doing so we forget that the state, like the human being, is a threefold entity. First, there are the individual functions that each individual citizen contributes as a creative spirit. Through religion, art, inventive genius and the world of education these activities form the cultural sphere. Second, there is the economic sphere through which individuals cooperate in community to create the commodities necessary for physical, intellectual and cultural life. And thirdly, balancing the two, is the independent body-politic of the rights sphere, where the legal rights and responsibilities of individuals in the other two spheres are moderated.
Whether we know it or not, we and our families are presently, totally dependent upon a social order, dictated from above, that is fundamentally flawed. The task ahead is to explore the history of those social institutions upon which we currently depend for our everyday needs. What inalienable rights do we have? How do we care for the lands and the natural world that provide our daily bread? What responsibilities do we have towards fellow human beings currently forced into waged labour by a financial system based upon greed and self-interest? The time is right for us to come together in our local communities and talk round the table. We need to seek out others, not of like mind, but of many and varied points of view, to explore ways to create a sustainable future. And we need to remember that there is no time like the present.
Dr Frances Hutchinson