Re-Imagining Society Post Covid

COVID, Mental Health

This crisis & lockdown could be the greatest catalyst for re-writing the script of living in 21st century.

Has this situation enabled us to wake up and see what’s really important? Have we used the time to reflect?

Ask yourself: What is in my face that I need to acknowledge? What has this experience highlighted that I have been avoiding? What will I do differently going forward? What do I want to keep? What works? What do I want to let go of? What doesn’t work? How did I contribute to this happening? What can I learn?

What we have in front of us is an opportunity to demolish & dismantle the outdated broken systems and ideologies that we have been blindly following, that are not fit for purpose in the world we are standing in. They are way past their ‘sell by’ date!

Have we begun to realise that our society is sick & fragmented?

We have already seen positive progress in the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, rising after the tragic death of George Floyd, slave trader statues being removed and Windrush victims demanding justice. We have witnessed the footballer Marcus Rashford, exerting influence and determination, to pressure Boris Johnson to reverse his decision not to feed vulnerable children throughout the summer. We need to challenge and right the wrongs.

‘From the covid-19 pandemic, and police brutality, to the marginalisation of minority communities around the world, leadership is broken. Lacking sensitivity to the real lives of their people, leaders are gambling with public health, safety, community cohesion and the future of younger generations. Divisive and poor at crisis management, they sometimes appear more interested in serving themselves over the people they were elected to serve’. (Guardian summary)

Some of the frameworks are crumbling. The material, man-made world is falling apart, broken and devastated, whilst at the same time the natural, organic world is renewing, regenerating and waking up. Cleansing.

Unless we learn something from this global disaster, then all the suffering, pain and death would be in vain.

My concern is that we will put our blinkers back on and continue to distract ourselves. We will run back to comfort & familiarity, and resume living in a way that does not support life.

Cities are waking up again. Opening for business.

But the images of six lanes of traffic in Wuhan on the highways, the overflowing public garbage bins belching KFC wrappers in NZ, the 5 mile queue to shop in Ikea, people camping out overnight to purchase a £3 t’shirt at Primark, make me despair.

My fear is that people might go even harder, work longer, deplete resources faster, in order to make up for lost time, lost revenue, to recover the ‘shortfall’ of MONEY, caused by lock down and the world grinding to a halt.

Their focus again on rebuilding economies and personal wealth. Back to old ideologies that don’t serve our future, but instead will expediate our demise from this mortal coil.

We are not the same people emerging from lockdown, that went into lockdown 14 weeks ago. We have had time to reflect. To consider and assess. To question. To see.

We can’t unsee what we have seen.

This new landscape demands new thinking, new behaviours, new solutions, new focus, new priorities, new values.

What if we built to a new spec?

What if the economies we build, in this second chance we’ve been given, are those that support & encourage human growth, not financial growth, where ‘self-worth’ is more important than ‘net worth’, where WHO you are is more important than what you DO, where GDP (Gross domestic product) is replaced with GDH (Gross domestic health)

Health & Well-being as a metric of success. An economy that puts health & well-being at the very core.

There is nothing a more valuable currency than health, as we have all witnessed in the devastating death toll in the past few months.

Everything begins with an E! Consider a new vision for society that incorporates the 9 E’s!

·        Eupsychian society. A self-evolving society will have to emphasise those values that promote its own evolution. Evolution means selection, and therefore choosing and deciding, and this means valuing. Encourage living in line with personal core Intrinsic Values.

·        Eudaimonic well-being- a Greek word eu (good) and daimon (spirit) commonly translated as happiness or welfare (Wikepedia) The eudaimonic life is to be had whenever we are in pursuit of fulfilling our potential and self-actualising. That way, we find more meaning and purpose in life. Create a society in which the core conditions for self-actualisation are nurtured and supported Unconditional Positive Regard, Empathy & Congruence.

·        Embrace Emotions- Especially the ‘negative’, powerful, uncomfortable emotions. Their pain is for a purpose, they carry wise wordsIgnore them at your peril.

·        Economy-Consider Doughnut economy- Amsterdam is follow the ‘doughnut’ model to mend post-coronavirus economy to help city thrive in balance with planet. This model dispenses with the global attachment to endless economic growth and laws of supply and demand and Replaces last with the goal of thriving in balance.

·        Environment-we can’t unsee the positive effects on the earth, when ‘man’ is removed from the equation, the changes even in a few weeks are remarkable. The evidence is clear to see. Man is depleting his own life source, which can only end in one way, if we don’t radically change how we are living life.

·        Education-we must never return to normal. Human potential, health and wellbeing MUST be at the core of education. A ‘new world’ economy where education is not just academic, or focussed on rote learning, and regurgitating information to score marks on tests that have little relevance to the skills needed to thrive in this new world. Where students learn with the aim of understanding, and teachers are allowed to teach, instead of being beholding to the limitations & restrictions of OFSTED. Where universities prepare students for the job of life.

·       Employment-gone are the days of travelling to an office to sit behind a desk 9-5. Recent ways of working, have illustrated alternative, more effective ways we can operate (home/remote/online). We need to eliminate job ‘titles’, and instead hire employees based on strengths & skills to create a ‘skills pool within an organisation. Terminate zero hours contracts and provide some guarantee for the worker. Offer salaries that reflect the enormous value of ‘essential’ workers as this crisis has highlighted.

·        Essential workers are our new role models –A society where our doctors, nurses, shop workers, refuse collectors, bus drivers, teachers are adulated. Where the notion of ‘celebrity’ is dead, we respect our real heroes instead.

·        Elected Leaders- Our political leaders would be accountable to the people who vote them in and pay their salaries. The public is their employer.

Independent Auditing, Assessment and regular Appraisals, would be procedure in any Prime Ministers term in office. Just like any other employed person, they should be subject to scrutiny as to whether what they promised in their electoral campaigns and manifestos are being achieved. After all, this is the basis on which the people vote them in. Their spending of public funds should be independently audited, to check for anomalies or mis spending, and all government contracts to be open for tender and allocated by an independent body. Consequences should be harsh for lying, or deliberately flouting the rules. The term in office should be able to be terminated after the first six months, if the leader is not adhering to their promises, or performing as expected. Just as it is in any other employment. No exceptions. This would ensure that the PM was working in the people’s best interests.

Finally The United Nations 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) – could be used as a framework to transform our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests

We have in front of us, the opportunity, to create a life we care about, and a world that we want to live in. To live in balance and harmony with ourselves, others and the earth.

But will we take it?