The events of 2016, now consigned chronologically to history, but very much alive in their repercussions, have left many people I know feeling alienated, lost, frustrated, despairing, angry and more. These very real human emotions are among those I recognise in myself as I continue to navigate the uncertainties and complexities that characterise what Bauman refers to as our liquid modernity.
I ended 2016 feeling determined and resilient however. 2017 feels like it should be a year of moving on and learning from; a year of opportunity and solidarity. When I began to talk with close colleagues and friends about this I was struck by the degree of agreement and the similar dispositions that they held. I was certainly not alone. It would appear that many people have experienced an awakening, perhaps even a transformational moment and that within this there is significant potential energy. The challenge is how to maintain that energy, to embrace it, build on it, and maximise its potential.
I’m not sure I have the answer to that and I’m almost certain that there is not a single answer in any case. What I am sure about though, is that I need to take part; to be doing something; to try and counter what I consider to be retrograde forces making deep and perhaps lasting wounds to our political, cultural, social, economic and natural world.
Those who I am fortunate enough to collaborate with through my own organisation, Lifeworlds Learning, are equally determined to do something and this shared seed of optimism and determination is for me the logical place to begin nurturing both an individual and collective response to our changed world.
With than in mind, my first action in 2017 has been to revitalise and consolidate the Lifeworlds Community – an up to now ad-hoc community of individuals, institutions and organisations that share a certain commonality of purpose and broadly similar values. The logic for this action lies in the premise that if we are to offer a counter narrative for the future then it needs to be one that resonates and repeats with ease (a bit like those Christmas tunes that you’re still humming well into January) in order to counter the daily onslaught of the post-fact, post-truth, post-global media (and fake-media) machine.
Image above: A future values tree created by pupils in a Lifeworlds ‘Learning Through Values’ primary school. [Copyright: Lifeworlds Learning]
This is impossible alone, but by sharing, celebrating, signposting, collaborating, challenging, consulting, and by simply being there, I firmly believe this is something we can slowly find together. We may all come from different walks of life and live day to day in different areas of practice, but I feel that, rooted in values and meaningfulness, we can identify and share in a community of being – a way of being in ourselves and our organisations, a way of being with others, and a way of being in the world.
If you are interested in that quest and open to the inevitable diversions along the way then I invite you to join us in the Lifeworlds Community.