Friday, 30 June 2017

Uncertain envisioning

Today seemed just to slip by, as I was preoccupied once more with drafting an advisory document for others to discuss, and engaging in a lengthy email conversation. Although the circumstances were different, both task were concerned with impending change, how to plan and prepare to make the best of a future that is likely to be different from the way things are now. 

The same is also true at a global level, due to the social and political upheaval caused by Brexit, and the Trump presidency in the USA. Negotiations over Britain's withdrawal from the EU are giving rise to widespread concern at many levels, as so little is known about what the British Government approach will be when confronted with the reality of Commission negotiators who seem to be more experienced and determined to defend agreed EU policy and commitments. What if negotiations result in a stalemate, with no practical agreement possible? The uncertainty could generate change of an undesired kind, an unwanted instability, economic and social. That would make it far harder to see justice done for those whose grievances led to the brexit vote, and those newly aggrieved by the unexpected impact of the brexit referendum thus far.

'Without a vision the people perish' says Proverbs 29:18. Britain has become a place of competing visions of how the common good is to be achieved, and much of this is driven by self-interest, even when claimed to be altruistic. The second half of the Proverbs 28:18 continues 'But he that keeps the Law; happy is he.' God's law is the given that provides a frame of reference within which justice, truth and equity are to be pursued, and envisioning occurs. 

What is found in Hebrew scripture is expressed also in the teachings and law codes of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. Sadly, we live in an era where the opinion of economic theorists, some secular philosophers and scientists has more influence in setting the values we live by, than any religious teaching does. All too often, the wisdom that comes from schools of faith is little taken into account in envisioning the kind of world which is fit for all to live in. The world is greatly impoverished, if not put at greater risk as a result.

It was well after ten when I left the apartment, to take a walk along the Paseo Maritime and into the Port. There were groups of teenagers hanging out on the beach together, and drinking from cans and bottles. It's not necessarily binge boozing that goes on, just weekend socialising, for those who are not old enough for clubbing or can't afford it. My only concern was whether they collected up their empties and returned them to the location of a rubbish bin. By the end of the day these overflow. The rubbish clean up begins at first light. 

As Owain and I were waiting for the bus, before eight on Tuesday morning, a young woman, perhaps of school leaving age, in florescent city council street gear was sweeping and tidying the street outside the apartment. I wondered if this was her first job, or if she was on a work training scheme. I have seen street sweeping machines in use, but notice that in many cities, municipalities prefer to maintain a workforce, even if wages are low. Machines are less efficient than people who are conscientious, thorough, and capable of picking discarded cans from bushes, wall ledges and flower beds. People are of more value than all our clever machines and robots.

No comments:

Post a Comment