Greed, Anger and Big Society
Greed and anger have always been powerful forces for change.
Greed is given more or less free rein in our society. It is incentivised. It creates wealth and jobs, it provides products and services. Greed is good in our society. Just look at how Dragons are lauded for snapping up equity. To those that have, more shall be given.
Unlike greed, anger is usually either discouraged (‘just play nicely’, ‘stop moaning’ or ‘can’t you appreciate what works’) or dulled through engagement in bureaucratic process. Anyone who has tried to make anything better by engaging in a committee of some description will recognise that dynamic. Or in a community Vision Building process.
As a society it feels like we practically teach helplessness when it comes to social change. We design systems and structures that sap energy and will from the angry: that ostracise and neutralise those that are driven by love (unless its love of money) or hate.
The challenges to the acceleration of Big Society are, as I see it, to:
- raise levels of love and hate about the issues that really matter, and then
- to provide meaningful and rewarding avenues through which ‘what matters’ can be pursued with power, creativity and, perhaps most importantly, compassion.
For me, this means working 121 to help people really understand and feel their anger before building careful associations with like-minded folk who are happy to take up the fight. This is the domain of the effective coach.
It is not so much about how do we change people, but how do we provide a context in which people can, and do change themselves?
How can we provide a society which challenges us all to live a ‘becoming existence’?
For me, the most promising answer lies in the provision of effective community coaching.