An eye on the future

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 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.

Many people want to get back to nature. This movement has been around for some time, like this commune from 1969.

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.

22 thoughts on “Het oog gericht op de toekomst”

  1. A piece that makes a good analysis. 

    Incidentally, it is also an option to simply join groups that have been involved in these matters for a long time. 

    For example, consider. The Global Ecovillage Network - these have been around for several decades and have already set up many communities worldwide. 

    And more locally, there are the Dutch Transition Towns who look locally at how they can organize things like food, renewable energy, money systems, democracy, etc. For people who want to participate themselves, there is a facebook group with currently around 1000 members.

    Anyone with an interest in permaculture and transition towns is more than welcome. From beginners to professionals. Questions can be asked in the group, examples and information can be exchanged, etc. 

    Want to know more about permaculture? is a handy starting point. 

    Want to know more about transition towns? is a good starting point. 

  2. Intercessor

    To show in practice that it is better, experience is the best teacher.
    Otherwise it is all just theory and unclear, not knowing whether it all works in that unruly reality.

  3. Common goals do not exist. There are only individual goals. Sometimes individual goals of different people coincide and then it seems like there is a common goal. But that common goal only exists as long as the people involved themselves have that goal. Each individual therefore determines the goal himself and therefore you cannot speak of a common goal. It also means that each individual decides for himself whether he or she wants to belong to a certain group of people.
    So a group of people with similar goals - a community - stems from a series of individual decisions. The proposition that individualism makes real group formation impossible cannot be correct. Not individualism, but collectivism is the real problem. Collectivism gives the appearance of common goals, when in reality those goals are merely the goals of the individuals who direct the community. Most communities are therefore artificially composed, ie they do not arise from individual decisions but are created from a collectivist idea.
    But there is one more way to see the importance of individualism. Humans are the only animals with complete self-awareness. Self-awareness is only useful if you are also allowed to make decisions and act independently of other people. If the group is more important than the individual, then self-awareness is actually of no use. Then we would benefit more from group consciousness. But group consciousness does not exist, there is only self consciousness.

    1. Totally agree. It is utopian and 100% wasted energy to think that we as humanity will one day form one group. We are about 7 billion individuals on this planet and they are never going to agree. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, JAMAIS, etc.
      People are individuals who form groups from time to time. Today I join a judo club, tomorrow a chess club. Today I vote Green-Left, tomorrow VVD. Today I join a bunch of green hippies and tomorrow I think they are all just dreamers and I quit.
      We have a very nice model and that is called democracy! And in the case of NL, we form coalitions. Today these are VVD and PvdA. And tomorrow it will be CDA, VVD and D66. Beautiful right! Today they are fat friends and tomorrow they will not give each other a look. Wonderful to see!
      There is a very large group of people who have absolutely nothing to do with Green, Sustainability and the “Living Earth”, social banks, etc. You will never get them behind you unless they start to suffer the consequences.
      If you want to form a large group of people, you shouldn't be too principled and be willing to compromise your principles. Because the further you dig in with your principles, the smaller the niche in which you end up. So set up a political party with the sole aim of going green, more sustainability, decent treatment of animals, etc. Ideas that the vast majority of Dutch people can agree with. You could reach Green Left people, Animal Party voters, Liberals and Social Democrats, etc. But if you think that everyone should become vegetarian, a large part of the people will drop out. If you want your party to be on the left, more will drop out. Etc. So… .. Be realistic and limit yourself to the core matters that you want to change.
      At the same time, we see that there are many, many smaller groups that often work in the same direction. And that's fantastic too. Take heart, we will slowly steer the ship called 'World Population' in the desired direction !!!

      1. Maybe it would be interesting to write a blog with the aim of determining which 10 points the readers of would like to see represented if a political party was formed according to their wishes. 
        I'm already making a contribution.
        1. A guarantee that the most important human rights are respected; a politically liberal order.
        2. More sustainable policy if it is effective - so no subsidies for things with too low a return.
        3. Decent treatment of animals (but no compulsory vegetarianism).
        4. A national bank that performs basic banking tasks. Who does this ethically and does not take unnecessary risks.
        5. Equal opportunities for everyone and not too much economic power for a few parties.

        1. That is an interesting proposal, but I see the dilemma that on the one hand the propositions must be unambiguously and objectively assessed (words such as the most important and decent ones evoke questions and discussion) and, on the other hand, if the boundaries are marked too strongly, it will again cause resistance and criticism calls up.

          The trick is to present it in a way that appeals to the general and not the work of an inward-looking person or club. You could look at other manifestos to get ideas. There will be forms of this and they will already involve a lot of thinking. Would that be a starting point?

          Hmm, I now read that it is 'just' an idea that you put forward and there should be someone who puts the energy into formulating it and sticking his neck out with that. Maybe I'm taking it too seriously :).

  4. You can actually split people's interests into two things:
    1. Financial interests,
    2. Legal Interests.
    These interests have to be fought by means of many sub-tasks. And if these interests are sufficiently safeguarded, life is much fairer and that is also a basis for a fair future. The problem is that the best they offer is selfless. But nobody solves your problems, you always have to do that yourself. So to begin with, you have to start with yourself, then your family, relatives, friends, etc. Make sure you have a good situation, and expand it further.

  5. I already notice, I don't have much to look for here. Nowhere did I say that we have to agree with 7 billion, only that people who actually want to have something changed should do so among themselves. But people again quickly point to groups that want to do “the right thing” locally, without thinking too much about whether that will ever lead to global results (no agreement between 7G of course). There is no better proof of how individualism works. Recent political developments clearly show that without serious organization one is powerless (think of the powerless squabbling of Occupy). Change the world and then really start with yourself. Now let's see that you are not one of those two-sided individualists who believe that “There are only individual goals” (@Patrick, @Razor).
    @Bemoeier “Show in practice that things can be done better” In practice, that is the global cohesion of things. You cannot just “show” something in return for that, the world is too big for that and you cannot put a second next to it.

    1. Victor, don't react immediately in a negative way. The piece is written clearly and clearly and even I understand it. Can also find me very good in what has been written. In my opinion, the reactions you get to this writing should be seen as experienced and then become aware. That is the unwritten law of teaching. Mvg Paul.

  6. A bit to stimulate the naive in spirit, that is allowed, right? On people who read poorly / do not think critically (see article about that this week here) I am / we are not waiting. I do not get the impression that those who criticized me are very eager to learn. They all know. Anyone who is seriously interested can send me a PB.

    1. Dear Victor,
      I think you do what you see as a problem in others. Why did you start a new site where you could have joined others. By starting the umpteenth site you have actually only increased the division. ;)
      But if you still want to make yourself useful with regard to sustainability, ethically responsible banking, etc. I think it is best to act as I said above: do not stick to your very specific principles too much, but keep it as broad as possible. And in the end you really break pots with a political party ...

  7. I think the problem with words, language or communication, is that you can use it in any direction. Taking your article as an example, I could look at the similarities (with my train of thought) or the differences. When I find something new, I am often open to it. But if I dive deeper into it, I can also form a critical opinion.

    In the case of this article, I am surprised to what extent I am on the same page with you, Viktor. But if we go into details, then differences will certainly surface. The individual awareness of how a person thinks or experiences and what a person says or writes at a time ensures this. But if you can look beyond that snapshot, then it seems to me that the same goals exist.
    In the process of group formation, it seems to me the essence to make a common goal. The goal must be stronger than the differences of opinion that arise during the process. This can be extended to taking responsibility that emerges in sustainocracy. Because the framework creates indicated by the person leading the process, it can exist independently of the group. If elements do not want to go along in the process, the framework should be strong enough to absorb.
    I am curious about your experiences in bringing people around the table. Because I also have the larger goal in mind, rather than the sub-goals that can be derived from it, and I am looking for 'the framework' that can unite that. Such a thing could be possible. Yes, most people do not look much further than the front door, but I am seeing more and more people who do have a broader view. And then we come back to the issue of communication.
    1. @Thui “Because the framework creates indicated by the person leading the process, which can exist independently of the group” I don't understand this and would make it: “Because it (sustainocracy) creates a framework that can exist independently of the group , indicated by the person in charge of the process. ” but don't know if this is what you wanted to say. If so, “Sustainocracy” has as its framework goals that rational people will not easily disagree with. As far as I can see, an analysis of the other elements is lacking: the current 'world' situation and what goals are possible within it and what the problems are if you want people together in a sustainable way (to use a buzzword for once) to get. Simply putting forward a leadership (in this case presumably Mr Close) is in any case not going to work or at best (?) Lead to a charismatic-led sect.
      Nevertheless, accepting any form of guidance (in the pastor / pastor-like sense of the word) is a necessary condition for group formation. But accepting that is a problem with today's individualism. Both for the leader and the guides. It is about developing a meritocratic system that is nevertheless open (democratic) and can function within the historical limitations of individuals. Very different from the tabula rasa method that I also found here. My "solution" would be to anonymize leadership as much as possible. For that, the "Second Creation" an important source of inspiration. But in direct contact it remains a difficult bump to overcome. One of the big problems is accepting inequality as a fundamental fact, without falling into racism or other forms of better and worse in the moral sense, that is, without the "better" seeing it as a merit that gives them special rights. with respect to the “inferior”. Not only for a limited group formation, but in society as such.

      1. I did not write it down correctly, thank you for the correction. One aspect of Close that appealed to me is that the 'sustainocrat' initiates, but gives no further guidance. That does have some logic, because otherwise the project would depend on the leader. Participants must feel the responsibility themselves. That does have a sustainability in it. 

        That of that sect; everyone is sitting with or fighting against prejudice. But how do we deal with it? Recognizing that we have them would be a first step. Accepting an authority or a leader implies a bias in itself, namely that someone else knows better.

        When I come back to words and communication, we try to describe something with them. In altercations like this a general line. And that is a contradiction that every situation (or person) is different. And a general question that could be asked here is how we deal with it.

        I had something in mind that our culture requires clarity, which is difficult to make. For example, it can be seen in the rules and laws that we have. But I agree that the principle of equality is not entirely correct. People are different. Most people need clarity. I notice that with myself ...

  8. @Razor I started my blog to practice writing, not primarily to bring people together. If it is read and a few people feel addressed, that is a bonus. I started at the UK blog, which is kind of a group company in a way and I was forced to continue on my own. In the past six months I have mainly written on “the Daily Standard”, but that is no longer possible. The fact that I have placed this piece here is also because I want to at least try to fight the centrifugal forces a bit.
    There is now a site for the group, but it is largely private and intended for mutual communication and thought formation. We only use the small public part to refer people we have already met.
    Don't worry about the width.

  9. There is a big difference between what is desirable and what happens in practice.
    In practice, only groups that have a very clear (religious) ideology sometimes appear to be able to survive.
    Groups that do not have this often fall apart due to mutual arguments and goals that are increasingly divergent.
    For example, look at the communities as they emerged in the sixties. These were limited in time and bogged down in quarrels and divergent goals.
    Groups such as the Amish, on the other hand, exist longer.

    1. Good note Tombraider, religion maintains the group connections through doctrine. A proven effective and powerful tool, which has always been and is being used again and again, to organize power. This by applying programmed self-control mechanisms that are tuned to the human psyche. The fact that things are getting more and more out of hand as a result of fed frustrations, such as loss of faith (science prevails) makes the application of an ancient control mechanism increasingly critical and debatable. All kinds of disastrous initiatives, led by conservative, extremist elements, lead to countermeasures. Measures that also affect non-religious people, and in turn to increasing aversion by restricting freedoms and applied violence. We are approaching the end times of major religions. In spite of the convulsions caused by attempts to rectify and compensate for this, (extreme indoctrination, violence, oppression, techniques, political policy) we unfortunately have to undergo. Many intelligent races in this and other universes will have gone through similar logical histories, I guess. It is up or down, real choices are not there, one has to choose reality. A healthy nature and full respect for others, and all living things, are the preconditions for the survival of any intelligent species. There must be just new rules systems that are acceptable to everyone. An extremely complicated and enormous job, of which I think that open internet communication such as here at Visionair is the obvious opportunity that should be seized with both hands. Anyway, they have that choice themselves, we also make enough mistakes here, but what is perfect, no one, right? ;)

      1. Intercessor

        Maybe list all the different goals and ideologies.
        And then look at what is and is not crooked for the general interest.
        And then you may have a clear basis where you can take all the good things away for a new ideology.
        And then it may also start to look like prosumerism or a meritocracy.
        Or on something even better.

        1. Who knows, one can make a classification and a target date on which the countries will profile their form of government and thus there will be a shift in emigrants again. For example, municipalities with such a target date and period can have their own administration and thus attract or even reject their own public residents. With time it will be possible to see who is doing well and if not change again from municipality or country. It must be the case that there is room for it and the ideas do not have a chance in advance because people in the saddle think that they will stay put forever ... Thinking about the future and it can be an acre, but it can also involve thousands are. Cities in these municipalities can therefore also profile themselves in their own way and this is not necessary through various media campaigns. Over time, a piece of land can be used as a family and sometimes… .. fill in yourself…. ;). The uniformity of the world comes out of my throat.

  10. Perhaps a nice document, related to this topic:
    Money & Life:
    MONEY & LIFE is a passionate and inspirational essay-style documentary that asks a provocative question: can we see the economic crisis not as a disaster, but as a tremendous opportunity? This cinematic odyssey connects the dots on our current economic pains and offers a new story of money based on an emerging paradigm of planetary well-being that understands all of life as profoundly interconnected. …(read more
    Money & life (86 min.):

  11. @Bemoeier Make lists and then choose… If only it were that simple. As said: the goals there are rational people agree on. Whether they are also (or ever) available and what is the point. And that again depends on the analysis of the current state of the world. Do you continue to consider it from an individual equality point of view (every soldier a marshal's staff in his knapsack, or every newspaper boy can become a millionaire, and: all people are basically just as sensible as I am) or do you try to get a more realistic picture of the state of society? to get?
    It is a big task to make a nice story (= ideology) from such somewhat dry-asshole analyzes (if they are correct). That will not go through lists and choices from them, but through hopefully a more or less open interaction between people, in which one inspires the other to, say, some poetic acts. For interesting views on the workings of ideology, I recommend reading Michel Houellebecq's “Possibility of an Island” and Alain de Botton's “Religion for Atheists”. Both books are more about the way in which ideologies make themselves attractive than about the content itself.

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