Timing for a change? or A Path to Democracy for the People, by the People.

Before I publish some more of the politically motivated articles I have been writing, I thought how best to frame them. What motivated me to be so fascinated with politics since a very young age yet repelled me equally when witnessing the reality of examples prevalent in the modern world? How far into a world where words of intent are deemed equal to acting on that intent do we have to travel before we can no longer believe in any ‘official’ statements? How much longer do the many who innovate and give to others selflessly have to suffer the indignity of governments taking credit for their work, rather than admitting that these people achieved what they did despite their government? Even though I am fully aware I am capable of living in comfort for my entire life with little to concern me, I am driven to urge people to do more for each other, to understand each other or to communicate ideas about possible means to do so. I often wonder if it stems from that first point during childhood when observing “That’s not fair!” inspiring the thought of how better a situation could be handled in order that fairness prevailed rather than how best one could profit from such unfairness?

Whatever it may be, the aim of my writing is to consider how differing approaches to society could be applied when technology and societies are ready to embrace them and how given the past few decades example of just how unstable existing governing methods are proving, an ever growing fear of instability that hangs as heavily as the cold war era and an ever growing discontent stemming from the ability of the general public to directly view the falsehoods that are sold to them by businesses, governments and world leaders. Certainly the argument that the dramatic changes envisioned by many would generate uncertainty and instability can’t hold much water any longer when set against the demonstrably mismanaged global economy, combined with energy and land power struggles that continue. When businesses hold more funds than and can ignore the laws of countries, who really controls your life?

So, what is the single most important aspect of any new development and without which the development will invariably fail?

Timing.

The simplest examples can be drawn from comedy in say a parody of Leonardo Da Vinci inventing a mouse to control an as yet not invented computer (courtesy Mitchell and Webb). The absurdity of this extreme stretch of thought is then contrasted by the well-known helicopter designs that even if not entirely viable, gave an example of what could be developed when supporting technology became available. (The computer mouse or helicopter not only requiring many inventions to precede them but also the development of industries, business and society to the point that all the required supporting technologies exist)

The more subtle examples are held within the development of human society, particularly the application of the concept of democracy and that is what this document intends to discuss.

There are many people who have the ability to conceptualise entire future states of technological and social development based on an understanding of current states of technological, social and political development, calibrated to factor in human nature. In many cases such people are able to use such highly developed analytical skills to advance in their chosen field. They can either lead people towards their vision thus creating the reality or merely create the reality from their own conceptualisation. (A less positive example could be that of an exceptionally good stockbroker that uses their skill to ‘read’ markets and purely ensure their own well-being.)

  • How many children sat in the 1940s onwards dreaming of that portable television and communication device on their wrist instead of a watch?
  • How many of those children are now rushing to buy the ‘smart’ watches that exist as a reality?
  • Which of those children saw the specific advances in technology that would enable the dream to become reality?

In 1983 when reading the novel 1984 one could have been struck by the chilling vision of people rushing to watch the new breakfast TV shows, doing exercises at the command of their television set and how close George Orwell had come in his vision. In 2015 many new televisions ship with cameras attached and people actively log their daily movements and activities of their own free will. Has the vision developed pretty closely to the fact, has it exceeded Orwell’s darkest fears or does it not really matter unless the tracking is used for malign purposes? The debate will continue.

So now, say by 2010 it was possible to realise a dream that had probably been born the day a television or radio was first made and thus was held in the minds of many millions, through several generations of humanity. With that combined appreciation of a technology, the chances for those visionaries to lead others to the creation of a further dream, must be far greater.

Where does timing come in then? Well again, the vision to see a mechanism or device that could exist is one thing we are blessed with and which is why the use of tools to develop beyond predatory/foraging animals has led us here. Envisaging a machine that can transport a person from one place to another instantly is in no way within our technological capability nor even necessarily scientifically possible. So how then can we conceptualise not only the device but the use of it in a future example of our society?

This ability is no different to that which our ancestors may have used their brains for to determine that throwing a stick at some fruit in a tree would result in the fruit dropping to the floor rather than waiting for it to drop naturally. The discovery of that fact may have been limited to few of those ancestors, yet the communication of the concept through purely witnessing the demonstration would spread knowledge to different areas of the society that may for example then be able to conceive that using a long stick to pull fruits down, rather than attempting to accurately throw a stick, would be a better method of using a tool.

The principle here is that before the concept of intervening to make fruit drop from the trees existed, the idea of developing further a tool to do so could not have been explored. To spark the imagination of certain people, specific knowledge must be communicated to or learned by that person. The Sir Isaac Newton and apple ‘spark’ being one of the best known demonstrable examples of such a concept that can then be used to emphasise learning in generations that follow.

It is easy therefore to see how this affects scientific development and to draw on the manifold examples that continue to demonstrate how very much of what were considered fairy tale technological devices have already become disregarded tools that people consider commonplace. How much does this principle also apply to social and political development?

In recent years due in no small part to the spread of communication technology, the reality that people share common needs and desires and that they are being impeded by their political or governing systems rather than their cultural differences, has created a global sub-culture that is reacting differently within the relative country’s current political ideology. In dictatorial or socialist dominated societies the call is for freedoms from state control of individuals. In consumer capitalist dominated societies, the call is for freedom from business control of state and individuals.

The benefit these disparate groups of people now hold is their ability to see ‘the other side of the fence’ through globally accessible media that is not state or business controlled (in most cases). This shows that the grass is not that much greener on the other side, you just have different people controlling your life; business, state, military, militia. Revolt against one and you’ll replace it with another.

So what is the relevance of the current time to our global human society? Where are we going? What do we want to achieve? Is there truly a way to change dramatically without creating more chaos?

Well, as with the title, any new development needs to be timed correctly to succeed. For the development of a truly democratic means for governing a society, many factors need to align at the correct time. If there is still in no way a means of creating a utopian vision of global governance today, there certainly exists the means to lay the foundations for one.

  • Without the examples to draw from of empires, monarchies, communism, dictatorships, capitalism, socialism, liberalism, consumerism and globalisation, there would be no knowledge that they are incapable of fulfilling the needs of the majority when set against and factoring in human nature.
  • Without the dejected apathy born from the feeling that one’s democracy will continue on the same course regardless of who one votes for, there would be no overriding reason to stimulate action towards change.
  • Without the knowledge that however much one believes that governments should control businesses, the truth is otherwise, there would be no drive to reverse this.
  • Without the recent vote in Scotland there would be no belief that an entire population can still galvanise to support the principle of democracy.

Once the precedents exist, the time becomes right.

What did the Scottish vote do that is so profound and so pivotal in driving democracy forwards at this point in time?

It demonstrated that it is not democracy the people in the UK and elsewhere are disaffected by, it is the system of government and those perpetuating it. Why? The referendum proved that if you ask the correct question, people will vote. If people feel their vote doesn’t matter, as local and general election turnouts demonstrate, they are less likely to vote. As the vote in Scotland held such great import for the people of the country, they voted.

Resurrecting the belief in democracy is something dear to the hearts of many, yet guardedly so and somehow that belief must be given the respect it deserves again.

There is no current statesman in the UK with the gravitas and will to ask the questions and drive the required change to the UK system of government. The current choices between sub-mediocre ‘leaders’ of political parties demonstrate that choice in politics maps to the ultimate choice in consumer based capitalism, to have or to have not, to vote or to vote not. The hope that some held for multiparty politics in the recent hung parliament fell into disarray and led to more following the truly saddening UKIP Party which appears to uphold the desires of the morally bankrupt, slimy, bigoted, 1980s corporate-lunch swilling types, to return to such times.

What if, instead of politicians creating a question on whether one wants a facsimile of the existing government but in Holyrood rather than Westminster, the people of the UK had been asked as a whole if they would like to work together to completely change the government in Westminster to benefit all of the UK? Would the ‘Yes’ vote have been closer to 99% in a 99% turnout? A nice, if romantic thought, however if just the turnout matched that figure then again the belief in democracy would still be given the boost it sorely needs.

So now must be the time. The required conditions for change exist. The mechanisms to deliver that change exist. The will to enact the change is growing exponentially. Scotland has shown that a whole country can stand together to support democracy however different their personal views may be and their embracing of democracy should continue to be celebrated in years to come. There exists again now a belief in democracy that has been lost for many years. The plan to deliver that change must therefore be made and acted upon.

Why do I say now is the time? I am but one person, my view is limited to the scope of my experience. Then again I have experienced various extremes of society that few could compare with and witnessed many realities of the mechanisms by which this country runs. For most of my life I have sat listening to people rather than just hearing them and learned that by careful observation, it is possible to appreciate myriad perspectives and see our common hopes. I have also not just begun to work on this, I have merely just begun to publish. When first I saw a vision of today, I could see that the timing wasn’t right and my choice to wait at least ten years or until I saw a sign that the zeitgeist was ready, seems to have paid off(as it is clear that our impending general election is unlikely to improve matters). After also working in the field of technology and invention for over 25 years, I’ve seen enough to know that many others will have the same dreams and ideas that I hold and so it is the spark that shared communication can bring which drives me to share concepts that many will also hold and others can take further.

What worries me and I am sure many people, is the fear of moving toward dystopia rather than utopia in our social governing systems. Consider a few globally visible examples in various media such as The New Statesman and Yes, Minister television series for UK politics or 1984, Brazil, Gattaca and V for Vendetta as extreme examples that hold warnings to be heeded or witnessed. Then consider the contrary perspectives held in the still obviously science fiction of say Star Trek or Iain M Banks’ Culture which at the least hold up the concept of societies where basic survival rights are guaranteed even if the foibles of humanity have not changed. Where do we think our societies are heading? Where do we want them to go? If people need Krokodil and Crank to make them feel better about the country and world they are living in, there has to be something fundamentally wrong.

I am not foolish enough to believe that we can create societies wherein peace and order pervade all and nor, if you note, do those positive science fiction examples. Several thousand years of demonstrable human nature should at least teach that. There are global steps that will be needed, taking another dozen generations, before the consideration even of war being forgotten – perhaps. I similarly hold true that there is so much that is better today in many societies and it is that good which needs more support and appreciation just as much as the bad needs redesigning. We need to factor these truths into plans in order to pave the way towards societies where the basic mechanisms for survival are available to all. This will be for the benefit of each and every one of us. Properly developed solar power available in your home will be the next great liberator once innovators demonstrate what is already available if funded properly. (Noting that I accept and understand that the instability of undermining all energy companies revenue streams isn’t something the current economic management can cope with so we will experience the period when energy companies control the solar power for a while..)

In recent years mental illness has been denoted as increasing across more affluent societies. Is this because the systems within which humans are living do not fit with the human psyche? It is certainly not deemed a problem in societies where survival is still the main driver. Who is depressed in an agricultural society, eats not. Who lives in a dictatorship, lives in fear. Who is deprived in a developed society, lives in depression. Who is the better off?

  • Consider instead of sending £3 a month to save a child in a war torn country, that child is playing online with yours.
  • Consider the terrorist-to-be who grows up in a society where extremist views can’t easily demonstrate a morally bankrupt system, so those words fall on deaf ears.
  • Consider the person who could have discovered a cure to your illness didn’t die from starvation in a corruptly underdeveloped country.
  • Consider a stable environment for you and your children’s futures.

Is it worth just some of your time to make it happen?

Timing is everything. The existing systems cannot change themselves to the degree required as they were designed to serve a different master, thus new systems must be designed to supersede or absorb them. The challenge facing us is to replace the foundations whilst retaining the building and keep it all standing. Fortunately technology and human endeavour can make it happen.

You may not be surprised by this point that I have some firm opinions regarding the precise mechanisms required and the means by which to inspire people to engage with them.

The benefit the internet brought was the provision of a blank sheet, a location not subject to governance in the traditional manner, uncontrolled beyond barring access to it, no hierarchy thus no inequality. That blank sheet provides the environment to form the new mechanisms that can then be overlaid onto what already exists, replacing the worthless and retaining the worthwhile. Consider the websites and forums whose participants gather from dozens of countries and give us the example of how alike we are, whatever organised media may portray. Shared humanity is just that, good or bad, we live.

We will create societies where people can choose to participate or not and in participating gain the acknowledgement by their peers and knowledge that their participation has purpose and is valued. We may think and believe in myriad differing ways. We can however pull in the same direction to give us the stability combined effort will bring (see again Scotland split nearly 50/50 in opinions yet nearly 100% supporting their right to state those opinions).

Those who today would waste their energy fighting ‘the government’ would add their energy to building our government.

  • Those who feel no worth in participating would see a reason to be involved.
  • Those who feel forgotten would know they are considered.
  • Those who could hate would see a chance to love.
  • Those who suffer will see hope.

In closing, I explore a paraphrase from a Terry Pratchett novel as I believe in the worlds he portrayed (As I sadly edit this post to update the tense after the immeasurable loss last week brought to the world) he held up a mirror to humanity, showing how it truly is. (I hope the great man himself could forgive my replacing two races to place it in the context of our world)

‘For the enemy is not a race, nor is it a religion, but it is the baleful, the malign, the cowardly, the vessels of hatred, those who do a bad thing and call it good.’

There are few greater truths than this and in observing humans over a lifetime; their actions rather than words will prove that truth.

Wherever you are in this world, whatever governance you live under, look to those who talk in hatred whilst doing no good, look to those who smilingly say their words are good and true when you can see they are not, look to those who would send people to their death, yet would fight not. In these people you will see the darkness of humanity. Not in their professed religion or politics, nor in their born race or sex. They are in positions of power and of none, portrayed as saints or as sinners, they have money and they don’t and they exist in every race, creed and class.

Allowing this type of person control is the price you pay when you live under government by control (whether by money, force or wasting your life’s time) and complaining about it or trying to subvert it will ultimately fail or at most replace it with a reflection of itself. Designing a system of government that takes into account all types of person and the means by which to incorporate each of them into that system is the challenge ahead of us. Fairness that isn’t stated to exist just because there is a legal system when that system is designed to only work for those with enough money to purchase the result they wish. A reasonable chance to live in peace by limiting risks only to those which are unavoidable and providing the infrastructure that will enable it.

Understand there are common, basic needs for all of us and you will begin to find the others who are so and work together to bring surety of meeting those needs to all. Appreciate that there are many who couldn’t care so long as they are OK and they will continue to survive whatever system exists, supporting whatever doesn’t threaten their desires. The timing is right to start accepting that these ideas are not idealistic flights of fancy, they are becoming achievable goals.

A fair, ever developing system of governance that can adapt to and fit with society will only come into existence when it is comprised of and influenced by, the entire society. It will happen. What needs to be realised is that we are finally in a position now to enact far more of that change than ever before in human history. A true reflection of the ideal of democracy is in sight and the beauty is that it will supplement and support what already works whilst replacing what doesn’t. The first step will be taken by those of us who connect independently from our existing governments, once a true majority are connected, from that will grow the next layer of government. The people.

Timing…

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