WE'RE IN THIS TOGETHER
If we view the world as an interdependent global village, then we avoid taking action at our own peril.
WE LIVE IN complicated times. We seek, but we don’t necessarily find, the ultimate things we long to experience – contentment, joy, love, inner peace. Our lives are too often overloaded with demands: that we should be successful, rich, beautiful and famous; but this just adds to our inner stress and turmoil. The media constantly bombard us with images reminding us of our ‘lack’ … and we so often feel like failures.
Life’s condition means that at any given moment the things we value most can be swiftly taken away from us. Our health, our safety and security, both emotionally and physically, cannot be guaranteed, so we carry our anxiety and fear of loss within and around us, unwittingly. We strive for a ‘better moment’ than the one we are currently in, while dragging the burdens of our past into every present situation, so that we are rarely, if ever, ‘here and now’.
How do we find meaning, value and connection in a society that is dislocated and in many ways dysfunctional? We have lost our sense of community or belonging to anything much beyond our own individual circumstance. We have become voyeurs, vacuously gazing at reality TV shows and sitcoms while exhibitionists and ever-new ‘celebrities’ grab their shot at fifteen minutes of fame.
Technology has radically altered our existence in so many ways. Everything happens faster, while we struggle to keep up, ever desperate to be ahead of the game. In isolation we scan the internet, and email or text our friends, as a substitute for real connection. We inform ourselves about the soaring crime rate, the effects of drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, the horrors of war, the scandalous antics of corrupt corporate businessmen and their friends, the politicians.
We digest the endless details of humankind’s abuse and exploitation, while our polluted planet heats up around us. Ice caps melt, ancient rainforests disappear, the population explodes and animal species hurtle towards extinction. I have therefore come to the conclusion that the world is completely and utterly mad! And perhaps I am mad to have any expectation that it could be anything otherwise. But somehow I still cling to the notion that there is some kind of intelligence, sanity, goodness, compassion, or hope, somewhere on this planet.
I HAVE A view of the world as an interdependent global village. We avoid taking action at our own peril. I would like to see the democratic voters of this country take a more active part in the social and political events that affect our lives, because we actually do have far more power than we ever seem to realise. We have freedom of speech and democracy, but we seem to become complacent once we’ve put a political party into power. I’d love to see Britain at the forefront of a visionary and exemplary response to the problems we all face. I had earnestly hoped to see something of that change over the last ten years of Labour government, but it seems, sadly, that this will not be delivered.
I don’t believe that you can ever solve the problem of terrorism by acts of brutal retaliatory violence. I think the so-called war on terror is scandalous because it is a cover-up, and not a solution. It is in fact America’s second Vietnam. I do not believe the Iraqi people are being liberated. They are being destroyed. I do not believe the planet can continue ad infinitum with our endless exploitation of its natural resources. I do not believe that human beings have ever created a political structure which works for the benefit of all, rather than the few.
We need to see more action to follow through from rhetoric. We need to see the noble ideals of justice and a
ccountability put into action, before developing countries can ever begin to take any steps out of chronic and endemic poverty. I want to see an effective response to the genocide of AIDS that is decimating millions of people not only in Africa, but across the globe. Antiretroviral drugs extend and save people’s lives: they must be made available. Yet in a country like South Africa, which has the highest instance of HIV/AIDS, there is still, unbelievably, a culture of denial, effectively preventing people getting access to treatment. Like terrorism and environmental disasters, AIDS has no boundaries. We are all in this together, whether we realise it or not.
WHEN RESURGENCE MAGAZINE first started, forty years ago, there was no ecological or new age movement. (Well, there was, but they were called hippies!) There were few health food shops or alternative medical treatment centres. Nowadays the ‘alternative’ has actually evolved into something that is pretty much mainstream. Who would have guessed that supermarkets would ever have an organic food section, or market their products under ‘green’ auspices?
Positive change is happening, and we should be encouraged by this. But we cannot afford to become complacent. To me, ‘green’ actually means ‘survival at every level’ – it is not merely the current trendy consumer catchword. And ‘green’ needs to be continuously integrated into our daily lives.
I applaud all environmentalists, activists, radical freethinkers, writers, idealists, creators, philosophers, artists, students and teachers who challenge us to go against the grain, to question, to think, and to respond to the world outside the box: those who search for the truth behind a culture of lies and disinformation, who refuse to give in to pessimism in the face of what often seems like a lost cause.
That is why I love Resurgence … and why I have the most profound respect for this inspirational magazine. I’m proud to be counted as one of the lunatic idealists … who passionately endorse the notion of a better, safer, kinder world.
Annie Lennox is a singer and social activist.