Questions of our time
Dear Klaas. I start with two images: macro and micro.
I am sure you have noticed that there is a strong wind blowing in the political arena.
In our beloved little country 4 parties try to form a new government and the key issue they struggle with are the moral issues like creating artificial life and stopping life through euthanasia. In Europa we see the Brexit and the German-French coalition to strengthen Europa as an independent force in world politics. Every day we see Trump and his commentators arguing if there is progress in deeds or just words going around.
Putin appears in laying his fingers on every vulnerable issue the West is struggling with. We all deal with IS issues, terrorism, disasters.
I guess you also have noticed how people are dealing with their practical life issues in their day-to-day routines. For instance in our street of 34 houses and families. Next door a new child is born and all street neighbours congratulate warmly over whatsapp. A few weeks ago the old lady died in her favourite chair in front of the window unexpectedly. There is a continuous bringing and picking up children to the various activities. People change jobs, cars and 25 % of all houses in our street are in repair fully or partly. The restaurant around the corner is full every night seven days a week. The boys next door have a party in the garden till 2.30 and I cannot sleep till all noise is gone.
I have asked myself what these two images connect. Is there some common denominator, which directs our lives in the private and public arena?
The common ground I see is the question of the human soul and the sense of life. What is fulfilling our inner life and what is directing our outer existence? Is there some sense in what is happening or are we experiencing the lack of sense, as we do not understand why this is like it is.
I see us experiencing a changing reality that I characterize as the change from unity to diversity. We are and have been embedded in closed communities like families and populations that share a common heredity and we are to a growing extent part of organized communities that work and produce and that consume. In the closed community it is about what we have in common but in the organized community it is about our differences. In particular this is shown in the attitude and behaviour of the leaders. It strikes me that there are quite a lot of political leaders that see the society as a closed community in which the unknown and unfamiliar should be expended. Especially the populist leaders express this with growing strength. I see families in our street that are closed and inner oriented but there are also families that look for connection with what in first instance is not familiar to them.
Are we as leaders able to work with the differences and make them fruitful or are we mobilizing the excluding forces in protecting what is seen as the identity defining forces of a society, a family, a company?
I find it essential that we find new ways for how we can bridge differences and make them useful and fruitful for our existence here on earth. I see the need for a new art of dialogue between us that is based on the principle that it is the other person that is my teacher and that I am the person to support others to make valuable steps in life. I have the day-to-day opportunity to practice this in my work life, my family life and my personal life. The leaders that we can trust are the leaders we see practicing this new style of co-operating.
(Next week Klaas is going to write a response).