Is it time to change societal focus and perspective?

By: Rene Dansereau, Student Voices writer

Everyone is busy and I am a better analyst than a writer, with that in mind I will get to the heart of the matter I would like everyone to consider.

Societal evolution in the framework of focus and perspective.

Societal focus: “the use of teaching to transmit the lore of the family and the race. These are the elements of civilization and they have been tenaciously maintained through the perilous passage from one civilization to the next. They are the connective tissue of human history.” The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant.

Common observation of the current status of our civilization will reveal the truth in the Durant’s conclusion; why don’t we formalize this trait by including it in Article 1 of the UN Charter. 

Something like, let us declare that, “Our collective goal is to peacefully enhance our understanding of the Universe.”

Now let’s look at the tough one.

Societal perspective, we are all brothers and sisters FULL STOP. There are not any “ifs” or “buts”; most major evolutionary theories all agree on one idea, we all have a common origin.
 1. Focus — given a universally accepted focus we should be able to curb, redirect, or phase out fractious, destructive, and/or unproductive endeavours such as militarism, nationalism, and consumerism.
Consider  — throughout history expanding levels of organization have accompanied our evolution often (perhaps always) limited by our ability to communicate: politically we have or are currently experiencing despotism, monarchy, totalitarianism, republic, democracy, and communism; economics have grown in a similar fashion to accommodate the differing levels of cooperation and communication.
 2. Perspective — how easy is it for you for to kill someone within your immediate family? Awareness and our ability to communicate are slowly evolving our understanding of family, but is it fast enough to avoid another unsettling event?
 1. Jesus Christ — I try (emphasize try) to emulate my idea of the spirit of Jesus life and teachings: grace, compassion, and forgiveness, again, I try to start with a positive approach to every person I interact with — it has been my experience what you put out there is reflected back to you
 2. Pacifism — I do not openly or passively support any offensive violence — I criticize and withdraw any support for entities that carry out or support offensive violence.
 3. Equality — I try to the best of my ability to boycott entities that increase societal inequality — An example of this is, I do not have any investments or anything to do with the futures markets (I used to be a Commodity broker)
 5. Giving — I try to give as much of myself as possible (my money, support, and time) without endangering my immediate family — I regularly donate blood platelets, I volunteer with various organizations, I am now sharing my thoughts via this blog

On a societal level how would this shift in focus and perception change things?

On an individual level what does internalization, recognition, and adoption of these ideas look like?” The journey to adoption will look different for every individual and is almost as important as the resulting behaviour; therefore I will briefly share how I try to apply these ideas in my daily life.

 4. Hypocrisy — I try to the best of my ability to minimize my carbon footprint — Example, the only thing left on in my apartment when I leave is my fridge (clocks, microwave, TV, printer, modem all unplugged); I also avoid products that produce unnecessary garbage (usually excessive packaging)

Is it not time that we leave behind the individually driven society and consciously embrace the common focus we all have. Some may see our different preferences regarding the manner in which we live as a barrier but it need not be, most (perhaps all) of the world is an example of our abilities to cooperate on a macro level while maintaining individual or regional traits. As in our individual lives: distraction, misdirection, mistrust, fear and hate are holding us back. Focus is a fundamental component of evolution and if we (society) can adopt a common focus, our combined energy can launch a new chapter in story we know as the human experience.

A good example of our evolutionary growth is our administrative spheres of organization which depict some waves of our evolution and suggest a path forward: the immediate family unit, then municipalities, counties, provinces, states, nations, and hopefully an international form of federation. History is replete with examples of ideas that push and pull our evolution in this direction or that direction; but never before have we had the capability and awareness to intentionally direct our collective destiny.

Accept a common and basic perspective: “we are all family.” to quote Leonard Nimoy’s Spock in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” a similar quote from the philosopher Jeremy Bentham: “It is the greatest good to the greatest number of people which is the measure of right and wrong.”

All that follows are details — BIG details — but details nonetheless.

I hope with every fibre of my being that another major unsettling event can be avoided but that will depend on the conscious or unconscious will of the majority.

Meet the author:

Rene Dansereau
My agenda is to give you food for thought, for questions, and for perspective hopefully spurring you to action.  I have extensive experience in high finance, energy, mining and economics.  For the past three years I have spent the majority of my free time reading the works of Martin Luther King Jr. Joseph Stiglitz, Thomas Piketty, Cornell West, Mary Kaldor/Shannon Beebe, Walter Brueggemann, Will and Ariel Durant, Simon Dixon, and Karen Armstrong to name a few.
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