If we want to create and shape A World of Neighbours, we need to have a good analysis of where we are now and a vision of where we want to go. And in terms of analyzing where we are now, I would say that the main challenge is that large part of the world these days are like drunk from sipping from a very dangerous and poisonous cocktail of five ingredients - of five P’s.
And the first one is polarization which is tearing apart what belongs together and what should work together. Thus, increasing gaps between people in terms of economy, health, education you name it. The second P, populism, which pits the so-called elite and the people against each other. Which claims to speak for the people, which is supposed to have just one will and accusing the elite to have lost contact with the people and being occupied with pampering minorities and increasing pauperization. Protectionism, the third P, which is putting one’s own interest, one’s groups or one’s country’s own interest at the expense of the common good. The fourth P is post-truth, all the alternative facts, everything that we see that makes us doubt if truth really will win that we see so many lies being perpetuated, changing things in a bad way. And the fifth P is patriarchy. Patriarchy is not a new thing so to speak, it has been around as a constant background noise throughout most of our history, but with these other four P’s, patriarchy is creating a quite powerful synergy that´s worsening the effects of this cocktail of five P’s.
...you also need spiritual sustainability, because the five P’s actually are driven by fear, and fear is not a spiritually sustainable category. We need to transform the fear to hope
Now if we want A World of Neighbours, we better work for more inclusive, more cohesive societies, that can overcome these separating P’s that actually create cohesion and cooperation and so on.
I hope that this meeting of A World of Neighbours brings forward the inspiration, the heuristic vision and action towards A World of Neighbours – networking between practitioners, advocacy, trying to convince those in power to make the changes that we need in order to have an inclusive society and that’s also a society which will be marked by sustainability. And I think we have learnt to understand that sustainability comes with at least four dimensions, and you can´t have the one dimension without the other. And the four dimensions that belong together are ecological sustainability, economical sustainability, because you cannot work for ecological sustainability without thinking of that it needs to be economical viable in some way or another. It also includes social sustainability, because if you don’t have social sustainability, the other dimensions will not work in the long run. And as a fourth thing you need also spiritual sustainability, because the five P’s actually are driven by fear, and fear is not a spiritually sustainable category.
We need to transform the fear to hope. Hope that liberates energy for action. And hope is actually a spiritual, a theological category. Because it is different from optimism. Optimism is based on what you already know and so you basically project the future, saying “Oh well, it is reasonable to assume that we will being well, so we can be optimist”. Or “We need to be pessimist because we will not make it”. But hope is a trust in what you do not see yet, it implies a leap of faith. And you can’t live and move in these categories without thinking of spiritual sustainability.