"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

social psychology and the mess we are in

For four years I have been pursuing the idea that we need to look at our individual behaviours to sort out the messes of the current world - not just leaning increasingly on ever more rules and regulations brought on by knee jerk reaction from succesive governments. This is the theme of my book in progress Ripples of Hope, based on those 4 years of research. I was therefore thrilled to read Daniel Finkelstein's article in The Times this week. Integration of work on human behaviour into politics, he says, is in its infancy but represents an important intellectual sea-change. But the most important step forward, and I quote from his article: "has come with David Cameron's correct insistence that social change is as likely, or more likely, to come through influencing behaviour as it is through regulation."

How do we influence behaviour? We need to look at our own wounds, of nature and nurture, and to find healing. We need to get back to basic spirituality, to rediscover our souls, to slow down, to restore relationships in family and community, and to bring these principles into the work place as well as our leisure activities. This is the thesis behind my own book.

How long is it going to take for common sense to prevail and for vital changes to be made. Hugh Montefiore, one time Bishop of Birmingham and Chairman of Friends of the Earth, wrote Time to Change - Challenge for an Endangered Planet - more than ten years ago - but this was a culmination of his 30 years interest and concern for environmental matters. The world, and the human race, he said, was under threat because we had broken the fundamental laws of nature and of God.

How right he was - how sad that it takes so long for such messages to get through to an increasingly materialistic and selfish world. At last there is some glimmer of understanding amongst pockets of mankind. How vital it is to keep on pressing home these vital truths! Ripples of Hope is my contribution to that understanding.

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