Let’s talk about the future

Discourse, futuretalk.co11 Comments

This blog is for anyone who thinks society is messed up but doesn’t know how to fix it.

We all know there are problems. We read about them and see them every day. We feel them in our guts. I don’t need to make some declaration of decadence, enumerating every part of society that is oppressive or painful, for you to understand what I’m saying. You know it already. You have years of experience that validate this simple notion: we can do better.

But how do we move from discontent to constructive action?

There are many answers to this question, many ideologies that offer a basis for action. If you’re satisfied with those, I don’t know why you’re reading this. Go do something. But if you’re like me, you haven’t found a belief system that actually shows us how to fix things. You don’t know what to do, because you don’t know where to start.

So let’s discuss what we want our communities to look like and examine why prevailing ideologies won’t take us there. Let’s explore new ways of organizing that can circumvent the failings of our current social structures. Let’s move beyond petty factionalism; let’s look at why people do the things they do, and figure out how we can all work together. Let’s come up with a solution that is as pragmatic as it is virtuous. Let’s find out where to start.

Let’s talk about the future.

SorenLet’s talk about the future

11 Comments on “Let’s talk about the future”

  1. Kelly

    I have often asked what changes need to be made to change society and in the end all I find is why Society wont change. I truely believe that you can put people into groups based on their level of willingness to change. But as you said before and I have often said, people will not change until the issue affects them personally. However you have some who don’t even change after that event. Society needs an event to make them change. For example, you will never get tired of living paycheck to paycheck until an event happens that makes you see how much of a risk that idea is. One idea that I say to myself and urge others around me to think it before you do something, say to yourself, how could this action or decision affect me or people around me. If people asked themselves that there would be a change.

  2. Shiv

    Like you, I’m not satisfied with any of the existing ideologies that I’ve come across. And in spite of those who belittle talk without action and don’t realize that talk IS action, I believe in the power of dialog to push us forward. What I’ve done in the absence of an ideology that fits me is developed a set of personal goals and objectives. I use these to determine what’s worth my time:

    – Foster empathy

    – Enhance consciousness

    – Utilize, defend and promote tools of democracy and freedom

    – Challenge cultural, economic and existential hegemony

    – Lay claim to some fragment of reality and conserve it

    Appreciate your efforts and look forward to reading your posts.

  3. Kalonia

    Incredible blog! You are speaking to what I just spoke to recently, especially where it concerns the black community. I am interested to creating solutions where people seem to be content in just talking about the problem and the people perceived to have the problem. During this current election, I have heard some of the most hurtful and painfully true things about my culture. What can I do besides not being a stereotype and statistic? I can choose “do” something, or, it seems, I can join with like minded people and try to view the situation in a new way that will make change ACTUALLY happen. I think I have just found the place where that can happen.
    Thank you for taking you place.

  4. mestrick

    I like your blog, and I especially admire your video that explains why “Shit White Girls Say…To Black Girls” is NOT racist. I think that forums like this one can be an effective tool for people of different backgrounds, experiences, and opinions to share ideas and learn from one another as we all push for positive change. However, I struggle with the idea that there is “one right way” or a “silver bullet” solution or process by which solutions can be found. I’m not convinced that there is some untapped or undiscovered method of approaching social change that is waiting to be unlocked as the key to progress. I have spent a lot of time searching for this elusive “right way” of doing things, whether it’s academic research on the methods of combatting poverty through business practices (the kind of stuff to which you were referring in your post about selling social change), thinking about more theoretical approaches to social change, and starting and working for organizations dedicated to various forms of poverty alleviation. All of these activities have in some way involved me searching for some superior method of doing social change, some scalable and generalizable process for approaching the kinds of radical overturning of power structures that our society needs. After making a LOT of mistakes and learning just enough to know that I actually know nothing, the only thing I’ve been able to come up with is that there are no absolutes, there are no scalable, generalizable solutions, and there is no one, right way. In fact, pursuing one, right way can in itself perpetuate racism and other existing power structures. All people and communities are different, so for a solution to be truly community-based, it simply can’t come from some cookie-cutter approach to poverty alleviation, it’s got to come from the people themselves. The point of this long rant, however, isn’t to be despondent. The shining light that I’ve found, the thing that’s not a silver bullet solution nor a “right way” but that I feel like has gotten me the furthest, is simply listening and stepping back enough that I don’t get in the way when other people are trying to solve their own problems. Like all other proposed solutions or methodologies for social change, however, even a solution as simple as listening has nuances. Once I’ve listened enough, there’s usually a time when action is necessary because the people who have been speaking want or need some help. Or what happens if, and I hate to say this, the people who are doing the talking haven’t seen enough of the world outside of their problems to know about all of the possible solutions that are out there? Then it might be time to do some talking myself. At the heart of it, I guess, is respect, honesty, and creative teamwork, but it’s not as simple as just those three things. Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this conundrum of the “right way” to do social change. Do you think it does exist? And if it doesn’t exist, how can we help ourselves from acting as though it does? I’m pretty sure I am still working under the assumption that the “right way” is out there, despite all the things I just said about why I think it’s not.

    1. futuretalk

      I definitely do not believe in the “one right way,” and I like what you said about how there are no absolutes. A friend once told me (and maybe he took this from somewhere), “there are no principles, only preferences.” And I have found that to be true in my experience.

      The way to come together in the absence of absolutes and ideology is to organize around values. The way to respect the diversity of human communities is to focus on local solutions to local problems. When values are rooted in an ongoing community discussion about what’s important, then power is viewed as legitimate or not based on what people actually think and how they are actually affected.

      When values are rooted in ideology, all our discourse becomes hollow appeal to symbolism and a mess of self-sealing arguments that try to pretend their first principles aren’t subjective to individual experiences.

      If that makes any sense. This is definitely something I’ll be writing about more.

  5. Camille

    This blog is so important as an accessible avenue into everyday philosophies. Please don’t ever stop posting.

  6. mestrick

    I really liked what you said about organizing around values. This “one right way” trap is just so pervasive, though, because I think that even saying, as I often say myself, that the key is to find “local solutions to local problems” suggests a “right way” of doing things, even if that “right way” might vary from local context to local context. Using a community-based and local approach is still an approach and a methodology for social change. If I had heard myself saying this a year ago, I would have been appalled, but after spending some time living abroad I am beginning to believe that sometimes even a local approach might not work. Once I get to this point in my thoughts, however, I usually just chastise myself for getting to picky over semantics because you could argue that the only ethical way to reach the conclusion that the community-based approach won’t work in a particular context is to let the local people decide that for themselves. And what am I doing meddling in other peoples’ affairs anyway? Now that I’ve said “local” so many times, I just sound condescending. Well, sorry for another rambling rant. I look forward to reading more of your posts because I’m clearly struggling with these issues.

    1. futuretalk

      You raise important points. As we move forward in discussing these themes, we must keep in mind that there are no absolutes (except maybe for that one).

  7. Ellington3

    This is mos def a discourse that I wish to be a part of by reading, listening, responding, questioning and doing.
    Thanks ever so for starting this!
    I am excited! : )

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