Collective Consciousness to Social Sustainability

Many many years back when I visited the UK for the first time as a much  younger person and as a student I stayed there long enough to soak up the culture of the place.

Most things I saw or experienced amazed me a lot. This was  because everything seemed so different from what I saw and experienced in India till that time. My young mind was like a dry sponge absorbing  all I could and busily reflecting on anything that came my way. For example, I saw that cars in Manchester or London did not have dents or scratches on their bodies whereas any car in Kolkata or Mumbai had a significant number of these ugly dents and scratches all over their bodies (not any longer though). There were  certainly lot of cars plying the streets. The streets were old and not so wide but clean. The environment had a ring of safety and confidence around it.

When my wife lost her passport we did get it back from the local police station within a few hours after losing it. I wasn't unduly worried about the safety of my one and half year old child. The very sight of the local beat constables (always in pairs — a man and a woman) smartly walking past was reassuring.

Why was it? I realized that the difference lay in the collective consciousness of the people and the learning that went along with it.

When and wherever there is collective learning in the society things become much easier, smoother and safer. At the back of your mind you are always assured that no one would intentionally bang your car from behind or none would clip your side view mirrors or scrap the sides while overtaking recklessly or throw your passport into the waste bin or parents need not worry much about their young child getting kidnapped.

Social sustainability, i.e the way we earn and live by sharing resources can't happen till collective consciousness develops. For it to develop, knowledge can't be in closed cans it has to be widely distributed and appreciated.

In the UK things are small & large – a living paradox. Small shops, small offices, small companies, small dedicated groups, small lecture rooms, small but well maintained houses and pubs but large parks and large playgrounds and reasonably large town halls, local Olympic size swimming pools, large libraries, large farms and large National Health Scheme.

It has a mix of many other things — capitalism and socialism; democracy and lordships, ethnic British and not so ethnic British. People discuss ideas and events and less of people unless something is praiseworthy or horribly wrong about them.

And people go through an education system that relies less on memory and multiple choice questions but encourages free exchange of thoughts, modern and contextual ideas, debates,experimentation and appreciation of talents.

Most have work and get a reasonable pay just enough to maintain an uniformly decent standard of living accepted by the society.And most small firms have a sense of cooperation between them. The society adapted themselves with time.Most are satisfied with what they do for a living and the way they live life. 

Perhaps these are some of the underlying reasons that made the UK least affected of all European nations in the recent recession that toppled many economies.

I believe that high collective consciousness and sharing knowledge are the starting points of social sustainability — leaving similar resources for the next seven generations to succeed and do better.

Do you believe in that?   


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