Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Where are we going?

If you don't know where you want to go any direction is OK...or is it?

It has been a wet day so I have been thinking?

Next year is election year and hopefully we will have some alternative visions of our country to consider. Or will it all be about who gives us the biggest tax cuts while we all put our heads into the sand avoiding the mounting social issues that have arisen since the introduction of the now discredited market forces ideology.

It is all too easy to focus on what materialistic 'goodies' we want ( but often do not need) and to ignore in the process the plight of the less fortunate, blaming them for their inadequacies.

The trouble is that if our 'winner and loser' society is not arrested we will develop a serious 'underclass' that will impinge dramatically on those who enjoy a more insulated comfortable life.

What is the Kiwi Dream for the 21stC?

Are we losing track of our egalitarian heritage? Do we no longer believe in giving all people a fair go? Is the current philosophy of self interest to become the driving force of our future society? Is the economy always to be placed above valuing the emotional and spiritual needs of all our people?

Perhaps it is time to hold a mirror up to ourselves and to face up to reality?

The question our leaders ought to be asking us is what sort of country do we want to become, or do we put blind faith in our so called 'leaders' in solving 'our' problems? Are there new ways to re-imagine democracy, using modern technology, to engage all citizens in the 21stC? Do we need to think about how to develop a sense of community to replace the emphasis personal need or greed?

Do we , as a nation, have the imagination and the passion to think of possible future scenarios? Should our politicians set up a group of respected partisan citizens to start a 'conversation' about future possibilities? If politicians are lacking in 'wisdom' perhaps it is to be found in the collective good sense of the people? All that is needed is the process to 'collect' such wisdom.

Do we need to look back into our past to see that New Zealand has had a strong history of leading the world in humanitarian and democratic advances - most often in response to times of great depressions. Would this give us some insight about our future?

We were once seen as world leaders in areas of social conscience - do we need to begin such a process again? Certainly the emphasis a market forces efficiency ideology of the past decades has developed little to admire except for the salaries paid to those who have benefited.

Do we even have a desire for a shared future or is the current divided society of 'winners and losers' to be our future - if so we will be sowing the seeds of problems that will effect us all whether we like it or not.

Is it time to value other than those who have accumulated wealth? Do we need to equally celebrate achievement in the arts, or those who have dedicated their lives to helping those in need , as well as those who are successful in the sports world?

If we want our country to become known as both a creative and a humanitarian society we better start now. We have proud examples from the past to celebrate and build on.

We have a choice to either lead or to follow - to determine our own mutual destiny or be controlled by forces thought to be beyond our control?

All we need is the wit and imagination to take the time to do a bit of thinking - to ask question rather than searching for answers to problems that are beyond our current thinking and structures to solve?

Time to walk the dog?


Anonymous said...

Hi Bruce
The voice from the north.
Who gets the awards the financiers or the educators, artists, poets etc??
What does the media go on and on about - tax cuts or how best to use the tax take to ensure there will be enough quality teachers in 2008???
What is the drive in education towards - learning or assessment data based on Literacy and Numeracy??
Sorry old friend. I see next year as being the year we look down the telescope from the wrong end rather than looking into the mirror.
National testing. More accountability. More gaps between schools.
Perhaps it's time I retired???

Bruce Hammonds said...

An old friend from Whangarei? Not the well known cricketer who only takes fours and sixes and no bending?

I live in a 'faint' optimistic hope that things must get better but I am not holding my breathe!

I believe things will change, with or without politicians, who only play short term games. There are bigger forces out there that will make changes whatever politicians do. Maybe there are some imaginative and perceptive politicians out there! Can't think of any at the moment.

Next year we might go backwards but such nostalgia will not help anyone - just make eventual real change more likey! Perhaps by 2020?

In the meamtime hang in there we need alternative voices!

Brian O'C said...

Hard words Bruce. A bit dark or was the rain just so dreary. Or maybe it is all those 'terrorists' being found which brings on the fighting talk. Actually I think change is getting harder to do and you have to be braver to continue. The best of what we have to do I have heard lately is 'incremental radicalism'. Constant small steps towards the big goal. The goal has to be huge and audacious. The steps have to be small and developmental

Bruce Hammonds said...

I've cheered up Brian, the weather is better , and I have been out in the garden but I am still not opitimistic about the future - some urgency needs to be felt about the education crisis similar to the climate change awareness.

Although I like incremental radicalism you still can't leap a chasm in two jumps.