Imagining Better Worlds For All : Opening Imageries and Poetics
Over the coming weeks I am hoping to put together some short pieces about a better world.
I have for some time been concerned about the failures of the modern world and our endless critique of it.We need some sense of a positive future thinking.
Although I am no simple utopian, I do like the idea of ‘thinking forward’ – of Dreaming of a Better Social World for All.
Something has gone terribly wrong with our current values of markets and money.
The following captures a little of what I think. It was presented at my British Sociological Presidential Lecture at the British Museum in October 2011.
I am against a world riddled with the values of the market place
I need Cosmopolitan Hope – a dreaming forward-
in a world of often unbearable darkness.
I need Wisdom – experience and science ands art-
in a world of chaotic complexity.
I need Empathy- my bridge to the others –
in a world of monologic terrorism.
I need a Human Flourishing – a potential developed for all-
in a world of wasted lives.
I need Social Justice for all- a fairness and freedom and equality-
in a world ruled without justice
I need Meliorism – those practical actions
which will make the world a better place.
Above all: recall the golden rule:
Treat others as you would be done by.
And Be kind. Be kind. Be kind.
Table: Dreaming of a Better Social World: In Defence of Social Values over Economic and Nationalistic Values (in process)
|Feature of Society and People to be developed||Value||Literature||‘Enemies’ to question & challenge|
|Hope; Melioration; Progress||Progress; cautious optimism||Science Fiction
|Role taking, empathy & dialogue||Sympathy||The Empathic Society; Dialogic ethics, Recognition theory,||Monologic Terrorism; lack of empathy; a certain blindness in human beings|
|Altruism – concern with others||Compassion, kindness & care||Feminist Care TheoryThe Compassionate Temperament||CrueltyViolenceSelfishness|
|Justice, Democracy and Social Rights||Fairness, Freedom, Equality||The Philosophies of Justice and Human Rights||Authoritarianism; Tyranny of others, Elitism, Scapegoating, Bullying….Slavery, the Unfree, Unjust. Unequal
|Human Flourishing||‘The Good Life’ & ‘The Virtues’||Human Capability Theory with Rights and Flourishing||Neglect, ExploitationDenial of opportunities,Incapacitation. Societies based on economic values centrally.|
|Cosmopolitanism||Acceptance of differences||Cosmopolitan theory/ Difference theory||NarrownessEthnocentrism|
|Humanitarianism||Societies based on caring for the others||The Humanitarian Society||Cruel, violent, genocidal societies|
|Wisdom||Experience– both historical and personal;Science – both hard and soft;Imagination – both limited and unlimited||Confucius and all the ‘wise thinkers across cultures and throughout history||Folly , Stupidity (which is not the same as ignorance); Blind science, blind rationality.|
- The Hopeful Society
- The Empathic Society
- The Kind, Compassionate Society
- The Just and Rights Society
- The Flourishing for all Society
- The Wise Society
- The Humanitarian Society