I hope you like surprises too. Nothing is more satisfying for me than to address our illusions and I promise many posts like these in the coming weeks.
The European institutions have launched ever more ambitious initiatives to involve citizens in this great adventure that unites us all, the European project. The need is obvious for more humanity.
In our Together-Ensemble programme, we believe, and even more after our 50 sessions to date, in the possibility of a better civilisation, exceptional even, centered on caring for others and the planet, and in the incredible value of global collaboration.
From years researching the conditions to make this reality happen, I have identified that one, in particular, is related to the need for a strong feeling of belonging. Tell me: do we have this feeling that we all belong to the European project – not the one that would have borders, but that of the humanist values that characterize it? And if tomorrow, we call for more efforts, even sacrifices for the good of all, do you think people will follow if this feeling of belonging to something bigger than ourselves is not that present?
Before we start the discussions, let me expose three conditions for a good sense of belonging:
- From research, “we cannot belong if we only take”. So belonging has a lot to do with responsibility. I make the choice to belong to something bigger than myself, to show up, to take pride.
- It requires a feeling of home. This means I feel safe and I participate, while being myself with no fear of judgment.
- Finally it’s about shared values. Ideally, the raison d’être of the group we choose to belong to is collaborative and not based on the very idea of rejection to or by another group.
This is to tell that these three conditions are difficult to achieve in our post-industrial era, and in fact, we observe everywhere a decrease of the sense of belonging, with the dramatic consequences we know, for instance with the upcoming 5th wave. Let me share with you some of the reasons for this poor sense of belonging before we move on with our speakers.
- In our hyperconnected world, with social media and all other meeting and networking apps, we have never had so much possibilities to choose to belong to all the communities we want. Yet, we do not necessarily embrace this abundance, because we are better judges than doers; and it’s hard to be both at the same time.
- Along with this posture, most of us have developed an “I & Them” mindset, something we covered in our session on collaboration in crises. And many continue to think that we develop against others, or like others, but not “with”.
- Globalisation is an utopia. Today what we observe is increased mass individualisation. And this trend as we saw in previous sessions of Together-Ensemble will not decrease, as more and more crises will continue to hit us. This jeopardizes quite dramatically the vision for global collaboration, which we know is the only way to get out of this constant “emergency state”.
- Most human beings are not comfortable with abundance. From an early age they have learnt helplessness and it is not always an easy habit to break. Ingrained beliefs make us resist to the very notion of freedom. Somehow it feels uncomfortable to many. We saw this in our previous session on addiction. And we saw too that we remain in denial instead of taking action, with the majority of us being co-dependent in one way or another. And because of this, it will not be a given to implement the green deal. For instance, how can we develop this grounding belief of abundance, that is already almost impossible to have for many, while being in a world which will need more and more restriction?
- Finally, another utopia is to believe that the exceptional civilisation we need will stand up on her own. Some important measures and not cosmetic this time will be needed. For instance, is it achievable with the current governance model? I do not think so.
Let me conclude now that we are on equal terms in front of our reality. And because we like questions here, I will leave you to reflect on a few questions:
- What if were to embrace choice (we do not need to be dictated anything!) and in our core, develop a sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves?
- What if we were collectively anchoring the conviction that we will never be excluded from this planet, and that we all have a role to play. One group rejects us? No problem, the possibilities to find more like-minded people are huge! Why even suffering??!
- Whether we have to go through traumatic events, lack of care, prejudice and we will discuss some of them today… What if we make it a priority to put in place the conditions to increase the sense of belonging everywhere for the exceptional civilisation, our times need? And what could the EU institutions do in particular?
Now, let’s address this sense of belonging as a matter of priority, to avoid more dramatic consequences, related to our poor interest in global collaboration. It’s time to build on our similarities, reinforce the feeling of home and pride!