I suspect that if you were to ask most people what they would imagine the perfect world to be like, in reality it wouldn’t look much different to their world right now. Surrounded by family and friends, a job they love, enough money to live as they would like and not have to worry, happiness, freedom, health.
In our current world though there are so many of us who can’t even claim to have those basic things. I could go on to list all the things wrong but we might be here all year.
Let’s try instead to use one of Einstein’s thought problems. Einstein would sit at his desk and try to imagine his way out of problems he set for himself. Back in those days when we didn’t have a device tied to our hands and an impulse to check it every second, there was time for such things!
Here is the question posed: what would a good world look like?
To me a good world would include things like a healthy planet, no hunger, peace, security. I think it would also include a stable birth rate that wasn’t setting the planet on a course to be too full in a short space of time. To achieve a stable birth rate there are some core necessities. Women would need the ability to determine when they have their children, to ensure that children arrive when there is the time, money and support available for them to thrive. This would require easy access for men and women to cheap, comprehensive, trustworthy and safe contraception and family planning.
Once we have the birth rate sorted out we might want to consider the children already with us. A universal healthcare system would go a long way to ensuring those with little or no money still have the opportunity to live healthy lives. It will also ensure our elderly have the opportunity to live healthful lives long into their retirement.
Food would soon become a major issue. We currently have millions of people on the edge of starvation, what would we need to do to prevent that and to help them thrive? An education programme that teaches those that wish to learn, farming skills, land preservation, how to work with nature to create a good healthy crop. The ability to transfer food around the world in all directions. True sharing of food supplies without holding back vital food sources for political purposes.
Energy won’t be far behind our need for food. Right now we get a large amount of energy from the earth, we are digging and destablising large sections of the Earth’s crust in an attempt to feed our guzzling engines, and line the pockets of our wealthy. This can’t be maintained for much longer. It makes sense to search for energy that won’t damage drinking water, decimate natural resources or destablise our planet.
Education then becomes a major priority. We no longer need children who are willing to work in sweatshops or men who can work machinery, the industrial age is on its way out, that necessarily massive monotonous workforce has been replaced by machines. Now instead of persistent, patient, downtrodden masses we need creative, open-minded, innovative masses.
We need education systems that support learning at any age, that can upskill and reskill. Teaching methods that inspire, can evolve to suit each student and push to to find the individual talents and passion and help people find their purpose. That can teach compassion, empathy and grace, can demonstrate the need for variety and diversity and teach the benefits of a wholehearted world.
This will create people who have the capacity to imagine a way out of our current dilemma; who are willing to imagine a world when their neighbour is not their enemy but has lessons they can learn from; who can understand why breaking down walls and borders is a good thing; who can recognise that there are old traditions, knowledge and truth that are just as valuable as modern science.
We will need these people, these expansive minds:
They will need to help us find safe, renewable energy, to restock and clean the oceans, to help the forests recover, to let the ice refreeze.
They will need to teach us how to see through the hijab, the turban, through the religion and the skin colour to the reality that we are all built of the same blood and bone and each bring just as much value to the planet.
They will need to teach us how to show compassion to hardened fearful minds and how to help those people grow with us, rather than build walls and hide away.
A better world is a good and worthy goal. It is attainable, we can make it specific, we can imagine its existence. We can challenge ourselves to think bigger, think further, think smarter. The biggest challenge might be the ‘we’, right now working and thinking together seems to be the most stubborn part of the equation.
So, what would a good world look like to you?