If you could sum up the change in values that we need to see in the world in ten words, what would you choose?
Yesterday I came across a three point summary from Alex Evans, who will be exploring it further in a forthcoming paper for Tearfund that he’s working on with Rich Gower. I probably ought to wait for the paper itself, but I was excited about it. The ten word vision is this:
- A larger we, a longer future, a different good life.
‘A larger we’ is a call to expand the scope of our empathy, to recognise the interconnectivity of our globalised world. “What affects one directly, affects all indirectly” says Evans. A larger we is a move towards a planet-wide common good.
Secondly, ‘a longer future’ is a change in perspective from short term cycles to the long term future. That has to include future generations as well the span of our own lifetimes.
Third, ‘a different good life’ refers to our vision of prosperity, which is currently so tied up with material consumption. We know that good human lives are broader than that, and our society and economy should reflect that wider view.
Behind climate change, inequality, and the slow battle against poverty, lie our cultural values, the stories we tell ourselves about what matters and how we succeed. I’m pretty sure we won’t make much real progress on the big problems of the 21st century with individualist, short-term, materialist thinking. That makes ‘a larger we, a longer future, a different good life’ a pretty apt summary.