150-Strong: A Pathway to a Different Future by Rob O'Grady, available as both paperback and Kindle e-book via Amazon.com. This is a key passage that does nothing less than define a new modus vivendi that allows us to get past selfish motivations and the blind pursuit of ever more ephemeral profits, and to empower ourselves to build something much more solid that amplifies the energy of personal relationships. And now, without further ado, Rob O'Grady:
One of the great strengths of the profit motive-driven system is that this carrot-and-stick dynamic is well-defined and robust. But this strength is also a weakness, for it contains a serious flaw: only a limited few can do well in chasing the carrot of profit, while the remainder of the population, along with the environment, get the stick and become collateral damage. Anyone who can’t make a profit is denied access to resources and is subjected to the depravity of war, poverty, bondage and defilement.
I therefore propose an alternative carrot-and-stick mechanism, which is predicated on one important imperative: people must be firmly reconnected with the consequences of their actions. As chance would have it, there is a remarkable transformation happening in our culture at present, which is enabling this exact thing. While many of us are not yet aware of its significance, I believe that it has huge potential.
The new ubiquity of mobile computing coupled with widespread internet access has made us potentially visible to the world in nearly all contexts—even in our bedrooms. We are becoming acutely aware of the dangers inherent in a situation in which privacy is disappearing, and of powerful entities with sinister, self-serving agendas that are able to monitor our every move. But there is also a very positive potential developing, and we should not lose sight of it.
In a world where all of our actions can to be recorded on video at any time, and the resultant video distributed for all to see in perpetuity, a brief descent into the red mist of anger may make us the star in an online viral hit, while a moment of ill-advised conduct may land us on the evening news. The world has become smaller and the channels of communication much broader. The filters of the establishment media and the limitations of the physical published word no longer apply, and almost anywhere we go we can be called to account using electronic evidence that can be distributed for all to see. The actions of a shoplifter may be caught on CCTV and posted to YouTube; a public official taking a bribe may be covertly filmed and shamed on Facebook; mendacious establishment narratives can be swiftly discredited by anyone with a phone, an internet connection and a more enlightened point of view. Thus, the “stick” of public scrutiny is evolving into something imbued with new power and vitality. This is happening naturally, without overt direction—and that is a hallmark of something that is resilient and robust. It may in due course provide an emergent new context for the development of a more moral society.
While views of morality can differ, the Golden Rule—“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”—is something that almost all of us accept as natural and right. Applying it implies being considerate of others ahead of one’s own narrow interests—while expecting others to reciprocate. It is this very dynamic that I propose as a new reconciling force for our society. It is the ideal of selfless service—an ethic that embodies what must become the aspirational part of a new carrot-and-stick regime to live by. In a world where selfishness seems to reign supreme, this may sound like a utopian dream, but I contend that it is eminently achievable. Despite our current situation, almost all of us are able to relate to idea of a fair deal for others. The creation of the correct social context is all that is required for this reconciling force to become operative.