Reflections 8 November

What’s on my mind

The world feels just a tad lighter this morning as on both sides of the Atlantic humanity gets a toe in the door, whether something as momentous as an election, or as basic as an obvious decision on meals for children.

That getting from where we are to somewhere better requires Community and Conversation, not command and control.

Even although it’s largely common sense, we are seeing compelling evidence that centralised control doesn’t work in times of rapid change without control. Control belongs to autocracies, and we’re not one – not yet at any rate, and a little further away than yesterday.

Right now we have test and trace, PPE procurement, Lockdown strategy and funding, and many more. If we extend the time frame backwards ten years, centralisation alienated Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to the point where they have established susbstantial independence demonstrated through thier separate current differentiated strategies around Covid-19.

Our inability to engage constructively with those pesky Europeans who would not recognise Westminster exceptionalism has taken us to within a month of a no deal exit. I suspect right now, if much of England was polled to see if they want independence from Westminster, the result might be interesting. Both here and in the USA we have had the unedifying spectacle of leaders hunkered down, firing tweets and trying to engage unsettled people with fear of the other, logic and science when what is needed is empathy and leadership.

I think what needs to happen will increasingly be decided and acted on locally. No matter what comes out from the centre, I think we will find ourselves looking around closer to us for support and ideas. Those at the centre have an almost impossible job, and hubris just makes it more difficult. It’s just too far, in process time and empathy from the safe centre to the places where the impact is being felt. Statements suggesting it will be fine for Christmas are overtly and desperately political. We know, that they know, none of us know.

If we can do anything whilst we’re locked down, it’s talk. Not to complain – it’s a waste of energy – but to look at what’s going on around us, with those around us. Observation and dialogue about what we see is the first step to action, and to borrow from Roosevelt, “to do what we can, where we are, with what we’ve got”.

Spring is coming, and will present new opportunities. It would be good to be ready. Waiting for the centre is likely to be a very long wait.

What’s making me think

That we need more artists. A short piece of an interview with Brain Eno and Stowe Boyd.

Why Writing matters. At times like this, any of us make sense of what’s going on by journaling in some form. A way of talking to ourselves constructively, and externalising the voices in our busy mind.

Eight rules for living. Alain de Botton. Simple and thought provoking.

Anxiety is not a pathology It’s where growth lives.

A quote

“When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes. Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists.”

Rebecca Solnit

Where I’m focusing

Little things.

Small groups, generative conversations. improvent in our individual lives at at 1% a day. That’s 3,800% compound over a year.

I’ve put together a simple website as somewhere to focus.

Have a great week.

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