Thursday, 21 October 2010

Social landscape and virtual reality and slum dwellers international

I'm getting really weary of hearing the 'I know we have to cut the deficit' line almost as much as seeing George Osborne attempting to put on an 'It is all very very serious face' (doesn't he look like flashman from Tom Brown's Schooldays?). Seems to me that gravitas comes from having something substantive or visionary to say and doing so with an authority and wisdom, not really the characteristics that can be easily associated with our current blot of politicians (my new collective noun for more than one MP) and certainly not our dear chancellor.

Anyway, enough of that, I'm more interested in social landscape and the connection between the virtual and the real, it is pertinent at the moment because I keep encountering the narratives of the political world and I feel like they are seeping out of their septic tank into the psyche of the common world, time therefore to react and push them back into their place. Todays news is engulfed with talk of the cuts, but perhaps there is another reading we might usefully consider, another story to examine.

Our society is a construct of urban, suburban and rural space. Depending on our daily activities we trespass on all or one of these spaces. The development of these places combines an interesting geographical, physical, spiritual, cultural and social set of connections and yes, we might tag to these an economic thought too, but the point is the interplay of these environments continually stimulates and challenges us to reconsider our expectations. Unless we think of these places in such terms we get lost, obsessed even with the preoccupation of the mundane, a world dominated by money men, in putting our stories together, from every nook and cranny of the places we live, we can see the richness through different lenses and counter the prevailing rhetoric. We have skills, energy, insights, we can share and feel the power of community, we can perceive and initiate changes in the places where we live and we don't need politicians to get their grubby mindsets into our collective heads to pollute the art of the possible we all carry with us.

The chaos of the twentieth century mind has created the problems we are inheriting today, but we  will not solve those problems with the thoughts of that same worldview, instead our efforts might be better focused elsewhere, breaking boundaries between past ideas and expertise and generating the campaigns that liberate perception. What makes our work transformational is the willingness to pay careful attention to the odd, the peculiar, to observe the nuance and the unexpected, to imagine different possibilities for what it is to be human society. Where to look, the derelict, the destitute, the deprived, the destabilized, all these are places where globalization in its many forms are and have failed, but they are the street corners for the new revolution, a social landscape for today and the place for virtual realities to become real, our responsibility lies in the power to simply imagine, and then to act.

Have a look at slum dwellers international - then reflect on what human beings can do, its amazing.

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