Who could we become?
Judged by the perspective of our culture, each and every lifestyle of us is determined by stories which we tell ourselves, then it is time to create new stories for the future. Stories, which serve (self-)love. Stories, which protect achievements like the constitutional state, the individual rights or individual freedom. But they also need to confront some parts of our current story with the planetary ecological reality of a culture, a lifestyle failing its own requirements. These precarious situations of contradicting stories need to be negotiated and reconciled with courage in order to change the collective identity.
At the moment the main goal of industrialized nation is the generation of wealth through production. Bhutan is the only state which considers, with the National Happiness Index, something besides material gains as their goal in the maintenance of the state and its inhabitants.
But the majority of the national states on this planet still focuses on the GDP. It focuses on the services which are done in a year in a state. But what does this Index consider? And what does it lack? By externalizing factors such as the cultivation of ecological systems or the care-taking of relatives, this index lays its focus on the material gains. Part of this narrative is that the wellbeing of the citizens can be increased by increasing the GDP. But first, it does not consider the distribution of the generated wealth, nor does it consider taking care of natural ecosystems in a necessary way.
But why would the focus then be on such an index? And what consequences does it bear to put weight on the growth of access to materialistic resources in a limited world? The materialistic growth in societies always bear the consequence of further destruction and exploitation of natural resources. Natural resources are taken out of functioning ecosystems to function as a means in technical, artificial systems. Then, the metaphors of life are replaced by symbols in the modern societies, such as financial existence. These existential threats to the individuum are, seen on the individual level in the constructed societies, very real and determine the reality of the individual. Nevertheless, it does not stand up to the actual power that the power of life, living in each and every one of us, truly has.
Moreover, a confusion between the necessity of societal contracts and such further social, implicit agreements and the actual needed natural systems gets bigger and bigger. Because the needs of the individual are met by societal agreements such as for example the wage paid by the employer, the impression that these constructs are more important than the natural systems serving basic conditions for life rise. Taking care of the natural environment becomes artificial, or even a privileged thing to do, because the individuum is entangled in-between duties and hopes for a stable life in society.
But actually, taking care of oneself, the others and the natural surroundings should be anything but a privileged thing to do. In the end it should be something we all should be able to do.
In order to achieve this, we need a narrative that connects and strengthens us. Stories and people who give security to each other. To face these future challenges as a collective, we need to trust more and provide reason to trust. We need stories to act in a humane way, narratives that feed our sense of closeness.
These stories will need to serve us to enable us to change, to change our inner attitudes to life and what we demand from it. A kind of collective resiliency will be challenged. A kind of resiliency that welcomes the change and is willing to help anyone in need to adapt.
Because we need stories apart or alongside of technological progress and economical growth. These developments should not be discredited but should also not be blindly praised.