Boris our Messiah?
The significant majority created by the landslide victory of the conservative party has opened up a more stable period of government for the next five years. The British people have always favoured the election of a strong and accountable government. The strength is now there but it is unlikely that the present labour party will be able to mount an effective opposition at least for a few years.
The conservative party therefore have an opportunity to shape our country with a freedom that few administrations have had over the last few decades. I would like to suggest that they address a specific area and move from "one nation" conservatism to "one world conservatism." Let me explain.
Conservatism has always favoured the individual, their hard work and creativity within a stable society with minimal intervention by the state in the lives of ordinary people. These are all laudable values but they create a collateral damage when the spirit of competition overwhelms the basic interdependence of people in the country and in the whole world. The economic policies of the party and its stance on Brexit are too narrow to embrace what many are calling the climate emergency. But there is a deeper emergency that needs to be addressed by the conservative party and that emergency is spiritual.
The spiritual emergency is going on between people's two ears, it is an attitude that is too narrow now if our world is to survive. Somehow we have become so disconnected from our natural environment that we can exploit it and discard it with no sense of shame. That is why we can pollute, exploit weaker economies, use up scarce resources and destroy our natural heritage for short term gain. In spiritual terms we have reached a boundary, a liminal place, a threshold and we need to step over that the threshold into a new way of thinking. We need to think and relate differently as individuals and create a new reality. A conservative government, with a strong majority can help us to move forward on that journey which has hardly begun.
The spiritual emergency within each individual is expressed outwardly in the state of the world much as the state of mind of an adolescent can be expressed by the state of their bedroom. In the wider world we have wars, anarchist movements, huge gaps between rich and poor, suspicion of racial differences, fearfulness about our wealth, addiction to consuming and a poisoned environment. Within each of us there is also a fearfulness about the meaning of our lives, a tendency to use buying and social media as pain killers. We are less trusting of our neighbours and pessimistic about our future and purpose. These are the symptoms of a spiritual emergency that is projected on to our environment and the solution to the environment issues ultimately depends upon a new spiritual attitude. We need to step over a threshold into a new way of thinking. Can the conservative administration help us to do that?
Here are some things a new administration can build in to their policies in the next five years:
Continue to insist on the potential of the individual to transform the world but broaden that creativity to include not just profit and loss but also creativity that includes "re wiring" our society into a more energised and inter dependent community.
Engage policies that encourage all of us to re-connect with the planet from which we are grown. To appreciate the rhythms of life and that pace at which we and all things grow and change and not force change into the political cycle of changes in power.
Encourage a wide range of spiritual reflection about the mystery and inter connectedness of life. The party should use their traditional links with religious groups to help us to realise the some of the non-rational and spiritual aspects of being human. That encouragement should also include the support for eastern mysticism to enlarge the thinking of the British people.
To encourage a creative movement in each community that can help to dream new dreams that may, as yet, not reach the stage of policies but rather unleash the spiritual power of imagination contained in the major religious traditions.
To rediscover the power of vocation since, as Sir Ken Robinson notes "finding your passion changes everything." If we don't know ourselves, because we are buried under consumerism and anxiety, we will never know what we can do and what power we have to change the world. Vocation joins up the social network within which we live with the inner world of our hidden potential. Vocation heals the mortal wound that is the root of our environmental and spiritual emergency.
These five steps may take us on a journey from narrow individualism towards a more communitarian approach to life and planning. (see figure on left) If we we can start that journey under a conservative government in 2020 we may well look back in 100 years time and recognise Boris as our messiah! Alternatively, if he stays trapped in his ego - centric world he will be remembered as just another pariah. Boris needs to abandon the buffoon role and become a statesman, become a reformer and not a performer. Then maybe he could become the leader that we need to address the deeper spiritual emergency that is crippling our lives and the life of the planet.