Morpheus: Do you believe in fate, Neo?
Morpheus: Why not?
Neo: Because I don’t like the idea that I’m not in control of my life.
Morpheus: I know *exactly* what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about? – The Matrix
There are people out there who want to change the world.
I’m glad I’ve met some of them (thanks to Denis Stewart FRSA and in the last couple of months I’ve attended some of the meetings. It’s good to know you’re not alone. Denis has been tireless in his attempts to bring together a group for a “Civic Conversation” and recently it’s taken shape better than I could have imagined.
Some of the things I’ve learned about include the following visualisation diagram.
You have to visualise what you want, where you want to be and, most usefully, a transitional step towards getting you there. In reality you may need multiple steps – and there’s room in the model to allow for that.
I’ve always considered it a moral and human duty to work towards a post-scarcity society. Scarcity (or as John Barry would put it: inequality) is the fuel for poverty, war, hatred and crime. We have to work towards resolving scarcity issues but we have to be pragmatic about it. Our resources are finite (if not scarce). We have to decide which things we should change in order to bring about benefit to all members of our society.
One of the working groups at the meeting came up with a declaration.
We are here because:
1) all is not well
2) we can make a difference
3) we have exhausted all the traditional avenues and we are going to open a new one
4) we desire a vision for Northern Ireland
5) we will point out the folly in the existing system
6) and we are committed to taking small actions consistent with realising our vision
The last point is significant to me. Actions, even small ones, distinguish this group from a think tank or talking shop. It can be about inspiration, aspiration, hope, civic values, wonder, awe and providing a measure of leadership through positive change. It can be about taking control of something which is currently not moving in the right direction.
Stuart Mackenzie: Well, it’s a well known fact, Sonny Jim, that there’s a secret society of the five wealthiest people in the world, known as The Pentavirate, who run everything in the world, including the newspapers, and meet tri-annually at a secret country mansion in Colorado, known as The Meadows. – So I Married An Axe Murderer
How and what is to be done is something for the group to decide. As “Progress is disagreement among friends”, I welcome the opportunity to start planning the things to be done.
If you’re interested in being part of the solution, being a civic actor in a pragmatic vision, then get in touch.