That’s how many human beings are alive on this earth, at this very moment. Compared to that figure, there are very few people in this world who sometimes are called to design, or sometimes decide and dictate the structures of our societies. Everything, from the the broad strokes, to the nitty-gritty of how we live our lives. Let us not kid ourselves, nearly all of these people belong to one of three overlapping groups: (a) The families who control most of this world’s wealth, (b) The politicians in government and opposition, and (c) the leading minds and personalities that fill the leadership positions in business, academia, media, the arts, and civil society.
Occasionally, an individual from outside of this matrix will hatch an idea that thrusts them into the category of changemakers – and eventually they will either be rejected, or welcomed into one of the three groups.
All minds that have synthesized taken their ideas and thoughts, and weaved them into the complex analyses that grace the pages of this publication are certainly changemakers. Some have contributed greatly to the apparatus on which our world is based today, and others are shaping today and designing tomorrow.
One of the issues some of the authors touch upon is polarisation. Polarisation is a disease of the 21st century, that has divided our societies into tribes that worship particular personalities, ideals and movements, or parties. Most of us – including the authors of this magazine will belong to a hyper-polarised tribe.
Most problematic, is that people are members of several tribes, without truly knowing why, and certainly not knowing enough about what they become the champions of. There are so many Europeans who have over the last years passionately stood with Hillary Clinton. There are even more Europeans who on a daily basis stand against Donald Trump. There are of course grounds for being inspired by Hillary – or indeed a more contemporary figure rising, Michelle Obama, and opposed to Trump, but in our society today most people have become so polarised, that they no longer make value-judgements on each issue as it arises, instead following the line of whatever their idols preach.
The markets, are quickly falling into line. Disappointingly, most of our planet’s media organisations are more polarised then ever, with fixed positions on the issues, large and small, that they will not compromise on. The media is critical, because it supercharges the polarisation process within our societies.
It is so sad, but we, and they, are living other people’s dreams. Or more realistically, living as dreams what are other people’s calculated strategies.
The only way to truly change the world is not to stop asking questions like the member of a herd moving in the right direction. You might be heading for a cliff. Resist the temptation. Your dreams may share the colours and story lines of others, but make sure they are your own.
Democracy in polarisation
What’s worse about this era of polarisation, is that it has skewed people’s perspectives from the fundamental notions of fairness, right and wrong. Principles have been lost, or are applied on a case by case basis, and the meaning of life has become to fight for whatever it is that you happen to have been programmed to. Selective applications of justice are not uncommon. Justice is the one area where the ends cannot ever justify the means – the process and axioms need to hold from beginning to end. Many countries, even in the European Union, are more than lacking in this area.
What about Brexit? And the referendum that most of the UK has since regretted.
Well, there was a referendum in the UK, with a very specific question. It gave no room for interpretation, and no options for best or worst case scenarios. It was a question whose result is a clear command to carry out one task: Remove the UK from the European Union.
As a Greek citizen, I think of Democracy as having a capital ‘D’. It as an institution, and the only protection our societies can grant to themselves from the abuse of few. As such, democracy and accountability go hand in hand. One cannot exist without the other, and society must have respect for both.
When a referendum happens, it must be executed at any cost.
Many politicians in the UK have over the last few weeks, even months, asked, whether it is okay for both the people or the parties to change their minds. It is perfectly human to change one’s mind once you are given more information, or after you deal with new realities. It is even not problematic to do so, if this information was only generated after the referendum took place (if it was available before and you didn’t bother to look, or believe someone who explained it – then that makes you polarised and irresponsible).
But while it is human to change your minds, even as a nation, moving against the democratic result of the referendum cannot be done by perverting and corrupting the notion of democracy and holding a second referendum – or simply having Parliament rescind Article 50. For the love of democracy, either leave and come back in (that is in fact rather simple), or have a bloodless revolution. Yes literally, millions of people on the streets that forces the government to resign and hold national elections. It will be up to the people to vote for a party whose clear mandate to keep the UK in the EU.
When it comes to Brexit, as radical or crazy as it may sound, the most democratic way to stop democracy itself is through non-democratic means.