Do-gooders are stubborn people. How do we get everyone on the same page, so that we really get something off the ground?
Expanding universe of initiatives
Around 2012 I came by visionair.nl and added it to my collection of people / websites / organizations who want to move towards a better future or who want to fight the mainstream schools of thought with that goal. This sentence immediately outlines the problem: it is an expanding universe of individual initiatives that are all eager to improve the world. This was of course already the case in the past, the internet only makes it easier to set up “something” and make it somewhat visible.
Where we want to go in an abstract sense, all those sites (and I) usually quickly agree: A kind of paradise, in which everyone treats each other with respect and sees each other as fellow human beings, in which materialism does not predominate and in which we carefully / dealing sustainably with “nature”. Most do not wonder whether such a paradise situation is possible and if so how far in the future it lies. And one does not wonder at all how we should row there with its 9 billions. It usually comes down to participating in some sustainable and / or spiritual project. If everyone does that, the problems will solve themselves. The proposed action is not based on a serious analysis of the current “state of the world”. And if you don't know where you are, you can't go anywhere.
Individualism the problem
We also quickly agree on the superficial phenomena of that situation: Too much materialism, unjust distribution, failing institutions (political parties, the judiciary, government, religions, EU, banks,…). But one of the most important features of the current "state of the world", the individualism of contemporary (Western) man is being overlooked. An individualism that is not limited to the participants in the failing institutions, but that stands in the way of any form of an organized “other”.
Individualism is not to be confused with selfishness. The core of individualism is that people think they own the truth. That truth does not necessarily imply that one puts one's own well-being first at all times. To know for yourself what is good (and evil) and not want to let anyone lean on themselves in that area is the crux of the matter. This individualism makes communication about common goals, and thus real group formation, impossible. It is difficult for the individualist to accept that someone else can or knows something better. Well, we still want to accept from a pianist that he can play the piano better and that if you want to learn that yourself you have to submit to his knowledge and skills, but about moral matters and politics (in the broad sense) most people don't say anything. Least those who are ready to take an initiative, for example building a website. The best that can be achieved is a form of coincidental like-mindedness or a community of interest, which, under some pressure of circumstances, falls apart like loose sand. I advise people who want to know more about this to read the book “Identity” by Paul Verhaeghe. A discussion is on my blog.
How do we start a promising group?
I have been working for a year and a half now to slowly get people around the table who want to tackle this problem within themselves and together and who want to try to achieve effective group formation. The goal is that we agree on where we want to go and, more importantly, where we can go and how we should go. But also that the group also becomes a home: that you feel good and strong because you are part of it. It is a matter of trying to provide direction and try to connect the many initiatives that may be good in themselves and make them an effective political force. And by that I don't mean setting up another party. Perhaps we will all prosume together or form a sustainocracy. For the time being I am getting quite fond of all those confusing stubborn signposts.