Democracy is impossible in a society in which the average person is unwilling or unable to manage his or her own life sensibly. Of course, in order to do this, a healthy social life and adequate intellectual education are both essential. Some would also say that a deeply and truly felt spiritual life is also a must, and I for one would agree with this as well.
Since the exponential rise in human population that's been occurring since the start of the Industrial Revolution, one needs to include the prerequisite of effective ecological self-management when it comes to ensuring the possibility of any beneficially-working democracy. This applies not only to the relationship of individual habits of consumption relative to the amount of existing natural resources, but also concerns the relationship between our continued advancements in technology and the proportionate dwindling numbers of people needed to provide useful and purposeful, traditional technical work, given the increasing ability of machines or other nonsentient devices to do many things that people were previously needed to do. This means for democracy to work, no matter what else happens, as technology advances our population needs to go not up, but down.
The fact that ecological self-management is obviously by definition more of a group than an individual enterprise, the necessity for global cooperation and agreement in the creation of this sort of ecological self-management has never been more critically important. Without this cooperation on a global level, arguably, no attempt by lone individuals, or even by various larger groups of people – regions, states, or even nations – will be sufficient to achieve the conditions conducive to a healthy democracy. In short, without this global effort, more and more people everywhere will be subjected to the continual and growing sense of overcrowding, with all of it’s negative economic, political, social and psychological impacts. The average individual will inevitably feel increasingly useless, expendable, or interchangeable – with the inevitable sense of hopelessness and despair that accompanies such feelings. Without sustained and clever international cooperation and planning, no beneficially maintained population/resource balance can occur.
Every well-educated, good-hearted person understands that an effectively functioning and peacefully minded, democratic world society could not fail to benefit every living human being on the planet. Yet many of us, even among the most privileged, doubt the possibility that we can ever make this into a reality.
The tools to do this, however, clearly exist. The advances in communications, transportation, energy, agricultural and medical technologies required to help us achieve a sustainable balance between population and natural resources are already present. The same goes for the know-how to put them to good use. This includes, significantly, recently- discovered mind-body methodologies developed by a few smart brave folks that can help us all change old, outmoded behaviors no longer conducive to fulfilling the potential of our now much-improved conditions. And it's obvious from the new interconnective, social media to which increasing numbers of us have daily access, the preponderance of human beings living today wish for nothing more than a happy, healthy, and peaceful life. So then, all that is required to meet our goal of a global democratic society is focus and application on a grand scale, well-led and generously implemented.
If we only put our collective minds and hearts to the task, within a few generations, whatever sacrifices suffered by our divergence from the current system of hyper-individualism and often relentlessly destructive competition will be remembered as minor bumps along the way to what will have become a much better world.
As an endnote, for those who would deem the above as merely an exercise in hopeless idealism, I would ask them to look around at the world today, and answer whether what they see bears much resemblance to anything akin in spirit to what our Founding Fathers here in the United States envisioned as a Democracy. Finally, to those so-called "realists" who, whether through resignation or design, have embraced some system or modus operandi other than democracy as unavoidable or "inevitable," I would pose the question, "Is this really your first choice for the world in which your children and grandchildren shall live?"
Get together, folks. Get it together, folks. Make it happen!
By Lee Strauss (Copyright @ 2018)