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Posted by Philip on 28 April 2014, 3:23 pm in , , , , , ,

"Should we believe this or not?" sure ain't gonna fix it

Yes! No!The last episode of TVNZ's Sunday left me wondering whether the human condition will ever evolve to a level beyond which binary logic prevails. Maverick Australian broadcaster Derrin Hinch's crusade for a public sex offenders' register epitomises, once again, the inability for people to problem-solve further than a choice between A or B, yes or no, true or false. 

Our own duality demon, legal highs, is another prolific example of politicians (but aren't they just better paid, yet not necessarily better quality broadcasters, really?), this time caving to the whim of a few hysterical could-be voters, who can't live with a few people blowing a few unused brain cells on synthetic cannabinoids to avoid going to prison. The current law was actually a reasonable attempt to find a happy medium — silly them, they made a mistake.

The majority of society thinks that children will be safe from sex offenders if we publicly name and shame them, and that addicts will be rid of drugs if we ban them. That is a really BIG problem. A public opinion poll — "Should we believe this or not?" — sure ain't gonna fix it.

The more I bang on about these types of issues, the less I believe that banging on about them is worth the effort. These are complex problems brought about by multitudes of influences over many centuries caused by many cultural morés.

As we descend upon an election, there are many concerns that I have about the ability of our bureaucracies and bureaucrats to grapple with these issues. They are complex and they need a lot of unravelling. Yes/no questions don't cut it.

Many leaders globally express the same. The late Masanobu Fukuoka attested that "the limits of human knowledge presents a radical challenge to the global systems we rely on for our food." James Allan believes that the "recent decline in ... democracy in five of the oldest, most stable and successful democracies in the world needs to be stopped and then reversed." Peter Block says, "Creating a future that is different from the past comes from creating a different set of conversations. Past is fiction, it is the story of the past. To create a new future, we need to create a new story, a new conversation - conversations that come from questions, carefully framed to create an opportunity for engagement, ownership and commitment."

I think the opportunity is great in New Zealand to create these new conversations. With 4.5m people we won't change the world, but 4.5m people is small enough a population to change a nation. It's Ghandi's notion, on a national scale, of "Be the change you want to see in the world."

In today's protest-tolerant, digitally-apothetic world, I don't know how to rally for change anymore. I'm not going to start a Facebook Page or tweet a hashtag. But I do believe if you're reading this and agree, you'll like it, tweet it, leave a comment or even contact me or others you know feel the same.

Then we'll see what happens.

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