Complacent thinking about future crises

North Korea HeadlinesImagine living on a planet that is given the opportunity to survive, a place in which everybody considers everyone else’s wellbeing. Imagine public interest reaching beyond personal vanity’s blinkers. Imagine concern for distant events that may, in due course, threaten individual liberty.

And then: imagine a world filled with self-centred complacency.

When faced with an escalating global crisis, how do we react? Do we become athinking, and allow ignorance to dictate our response? Do we choose physical and verbal attack over comprehension, and blame something nearby that resembles whatever it is we feel ought to be blamed?

Unethical behaviour masquerading as responsible power and disinterest in global events or environmental disaster precedes an unpalatable future.

We ride a roller coaster approaching the apex, the no return point from which we hurtle downwards — fast and unstoppable. We could apply the brakes now and roll back to a safe halt, but athinking denies us that. We relax, admire the view, willing passengers fast-tracked to the bottom, a place we cannot imagine. John Heywood’s 16th century epitaph applies: “Out of sight, out of mind.”

We focus on symptoms, not causes. We praise victimisers while blaming victims. We believe in democracy, yet fail to fight against cloaked demons whose self-interest brings totalitarianism. Hearsay, gossip and unproven theories form a reality, our personal thoughts lost in ego-massaging leaps from gratification to gratification, disinterested in what really matters.

While abusing people of East-Asian appearance do we stop and consider that region’s history and political systems? Does one country’s feelings about its neighbours and relationships even matter? No, we group disparate personalities together because it requires no thinking.

If North Korea initiated Armageddon, for instance, do we justify not preventing it? Do we blame all East Asians, irrespective of nationality, because ‘they all look the same’? Or do engage with our intelligence, act smarter, prevent challenging situations from occurring? We consider ourselves lucky to have rights, yet do we protest against regimes denying their people any rights?

Let us deploy inaction to other situations.

  • What do we do about cheap goods, cheap labour and cheap production methods choking our planet?
  • How do we deal with trigger-happy, xenophobic, narcissists who manipulate the masses?
  • Do we care about speciesism — unethical animal treatment and the illegal wildlife trade — which might introduce humanity to unnecessary epidemics, illness or death?

I wish we inhabited a thriving planet where nature, people and animals are important, where vanity and narcissism do not threaten individual liberty. I wish.